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.”