Seleni Spotlight: Dr. Christiane Manzella
September 2019 - Dr. Manzella has been part of the Seleni family since the start. As a Senior Psychologist at Seleni Institute, she brings extensive experience as a clinician, administrator, and professor of psychology. Read below to learn more about her background and personal take on the field of mental health.
What motivates you to work in this field?
The privilege of the work – each person is like a vast universe (And, think about how it is for two or more vast universes to come together!). Further, I’m motivated to be in this field because it’s an opportunity to companion, to explore, to witness while helping those with whom I’m working find their way in deeply meaningful ways for each person or couple or family.
What excites you most about being part of the Seleni family? How long have you worked for Seleni?
My work with Seleni started in 2011. Then we “opened the doors” in May 2013, so I’ve been with Seleni since early days. There are many things that excite me about being part of Seleni:
The recognition that it’s crucial for parents to “put their own oxygen mask first;”
The deep commitment to helping those experiencing loss;
Using effective ways to help individuals and families find their way through perinatal mood and anxiety disorders or perinatal emotional distress.
Essentially, we at Seleni are addressing a huge gap in mental health treatment and training around perinatal mental health for individuals, couples, and families.
What is your favorite podcast, movie, book, or magazine, related to the field of mental health?
Right now I’m reading about interpersonal neurobiology because these emerging understandings are so interesting and important for clinical applications. Drs. Steven Porges, Allan Schore, David Treleaven, Phyliss Kosminsky, and Terry Marks-Tarlowe are a few of the authors I’m reading at this moment.
Working in mental health care can be very emotionally tiring. How do you practice self-care?
I believe it is a myth that working in mental health is emotionally tiring. Yes, at the end of a day (or week), there can be emotional or physical fatigue, but if it is a constant or overwhelming, I believe that this is a clue that something needs to be addressed – either in the approach to the clinical work or something in the clinician’s life. Staying present, making sure to keep in mind what my role is with those with whom I work, and seeking guidance or supervision can counter “emotional fatigue.”
What is your favorite thing to do to wind down the day?
Walk. Listen to music. So many things that involve staying present and enjoying and loving my life.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Be where my feet are. Yes, plan ahead or look back, but always while remembering the here and now, which is where my feet are.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being part of the process of changes that reflects the courage of individuals, families, and couples who come to Seleni looking for help. It’s deeply rewarding being part of their journey and hopefully make a difference in their lives.
Dr. Manzella is a long-time member of our clinician team and has provided comfort, support, and healing to so many at Seleni. For more information about Dr. Manzella, click here.