Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Trader in the Spotlight
Level 1/838 Glenferrie Road,
To become the best psychologist she could be, Christine Harding has not just applied what she read “out of a book.” She has also drawn from her own life experiences; being married, divorced, having three children, and seeing her own therapists. For her, these are the things that “define you and your practice”.
Growing up in Mooroolbark, Christine experienced many of her own struggles as a teenager and young adult. Despite leaving school early, Christine returned to study as a mature age student and enrolled in Human Movement at Victoria University, South Melbourne. After completing these studies in 2002, she worked for many years with jockeys at Racing Victoria and was also employed as a personal trainer at Crown Towers.
Eventually, Christine began to reflect inward and question who she was and what she wanted to do. She had always been fascinated with people and their life journeys, so in 2008 she began a Bachelor of Social Science at Swinburne University, with the goal of becoming a registered psychologist. She went on to complete a postgraduate at the University of Ballarat and finally a Masters of Professional Psychology at Australian Catholic University. By 2012, she was provisionally registered. During and post-study, Christine worked at Careconnect in the disability sector, had a short term role at Odyssey House, and completed an internship at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre. Once fully registered, she contracted at Launch Housing and conducted youth justice outreach.
When she was attending Swinburne University, Christine loved the Glenferrie Hawthorn shops and atmosphere. When an office on Glenferrie Road became available in 2019, she jumped at the chance to return to the area and founded Hargan Psychology’s “forever home”. ‘Hargan’ comes from combining the last names of her and her partner, Michael, who contributes to the maintenance of the practice.
At Hargan Psychology, Christine has worked to create a welcoming and comfortable environment. She hopes that clients feel like they are “sitting on a couch in someone’s lounge room”, instead of “going to the dentist”. Christine opened Hargan Psychology to put into action her belief that “it takes a village to raise a child”. She saw the need for a more collaborative practice, and is hoping to bring onboard more psychologists with varying specialities.
Clients are referred or find Hargan Psychology via word-of-mouth. Christine is anticipating an increase in education and cognitive assessments in the new year due to the gaps in learning from Melbourne’s lockdowns. The practice also facilitates group programs, including B.E.S.T kids, and offers therapy for a range of relationship dynamics and people of all ages.
Hargan Psychology’s philosophy is ‘encouraging clients to LIVE their BEST life’, and Christine’s favourite part of her job are the ‘client gains’. These gains are especially rewarding when her young clients begin to feel hope for the future and make positive changes in their life trajectory. She not only aims to foster a supportive space for her clients, but her psychologists as well. She encourages the psychologists at the practice to choose their hours and have their own perfect work life balance.
Christine and her partner live in Essendon and she enjoys the commute to Hawthorn during which she catches up on podcasts. Her other passions are reading and cooking and she has a “small but interesting cottage garden at home”.
Christine is thankful there are “so many constants” in Glenferrie and ever since her university days has enjoyed getting a baguette and chatting to Chris at Continental Deli. If not there, she has lunch from Marci, coffee from Four Kilo Fish, dinner at Lulo, Vaporetto, or Osteria 20, and has her dry cleaning done at Tom McDo Dry Cleaners.
Christine appreciates the diverse background of her clients and believes it is important to break down barriers between people. She encourages people to be mindful that we are all out in the world together and we each face our own challenges. Christine expresses that before being a psychologist, before being anything, “I am human”.