STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Carol Piscitelli found teaching at the University of Bridgeport to be an extension of her work as a family therapist. What she did not know is that she would find it as enjoyable as she has in her seven years with the university’s IDEAL Program.
“Some of my colleagues were doing it and I thought I would love to try,’’ said Piscitelli, who teaches at the school’s locations in Bridgeport and Stamford. “I thought ‘Oh my god, can I really do this?’ I found that I really enjoy it. I enjoy the dynamic of a live classroom, and when I come out of class I’m really energized.”
Piscitelli, who currently teaches a domestic violence course, had a corporate background before becoming a marriage and family therapist and previously ran a program for the YWCA of Darien/Norwalk to help women who had gone through divorce or lost a spouse. She also provides a full-range of services as a therapist in Stamford.
“My therapy style is a teaching style, and this was an opportunity to expand my skill set,’’ Piscitelli said. “The only thing that made me nervous was I had never developed a curriculum.”
She particularly enjoys teaching in UB’s IDEAL Program, where her cross-section of students ranges from their young 20s to their 60s.
“I love being able to help students get started with their careers,’’ Piscitelli said. “What I find with the IDEAL students is they work in the field of human services, and they have a lot of heart and love learning. As a teacher, it’s wonderful to have students who want to absorb. That’s really gratifying.”
Piscitelli said support from the University of Bridgeport has helped her segue her therapy skills into a teaching environment. “I’ve had a lot of support from the Dean at the school and the faculty,’’ she said. “I think having a corporate background also helped. I was managing programs and using procedures and communicating procedures to employees. Teaching is a lot of the same thing.”
As in her therapy work, Piscitelli sets out with a goal for each class and adjusts as the class progresses.
“One of the things in my world in therapy is it’s a group process,’’ she said. “You’re kind of dancing in the moment. You need to have a format when you’re teaching, and you need to have a curriculum. But you also have to adjust to individual learning styles.”