Faculty Spotlight: Psychology professor connects teaching and counseling
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Written by: Emily Hollingshead
Last book read for fun: “The Wife Between Us” by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
First job: Camp counselor
Skill you’d like to learn: How to play guitar and cook better
“I miss being literally in the room,” said Dr. Scott Freeman. “I want to be present with the students and help them find whatever interests them, so they have some skin in the game and some buy in. Once they are interested in something, they will do it.”
Freeman, who teaches psychology at Seminole State College of Florida as well as runs his own practice where he is a licensed mental health counselor, wants all his students to stay safe and healthy, but does miss the energy of teaching a live class. “Teaching makes me a better clinician. Doing clinical work adds to my teaching. They will always be intricately connected to me,” said Freeman. “Being a clinician and being a professor is all about teaching.”
Driven by a fascination to try to figure things out, Freeman turned his interest of how people think and act into a career as a counselor and a teacher. He utilizes similar skills of patience and empathy in both and tries to make his interest in his work obvious while he is teaching, as it will help his students want to be there as well. He explains that counseling and teaching are closely related as not everyone accomplishes goals or gains understanding at the same time or the same way, so he needs to be versatile and empathetic in both.
In fact, Freeman has been included in the College’s Joint Action Committee that is focused on making long-lasting improvements regarding racial and social injustice over time. He is providing a workshop to fellow employees titled “A Time to Heal: Conducting Conversations that Bring Understanding,” the goal of which is to provide the tools and knowledge that will invite a safe and constructive process to discussing meaningful issues, including racial injustice. “Basically, how to have really challenging and difficult conversations in a healthy manner,” said Freeman.
He also works against the stigma that surrounds mental health that keeps many people from seeking help. “To go to counseling or therapy in any form you don’t have to have something horribly wrong with you,” said Freeman. “I always use the analogy that people go to the gym for all kinds of various reasons and some of the healthiest people go to the gym to continue their workout.” Especially during the pandemic, he advises that people should maintain some semblance of structure, balance and routine in their life to combat the loss of normalcy the pandemic has brought.
For those interested in pursuing psychology, Freeman encourages them to “gather the data.” By talking to their professors or those in the field, students can get the best view of what they like and don’t like in order to make informed decisions.
Check out our upcoming psychology classes and related programs by viewing the course listing in the College Catalog.
Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu
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