Compass News recently had the privilege of meeting with Maida Berenblatt, an adjunct psychology professor at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC.) Outside of her experience as a teacher, Berenblatt is an accomplished writer, therapist, and counselor.
“Anything is better than not moving,” said Berenblatt.
Berenblatt has published five books on self-esteem, personal growth, and time management. One
of her books titled Make An Appointment With Yourself gained enough attention and even
landed Berenblatt a spot on the Oprah Winfrey show.
“I’ve been here (teacher at Suffolk County Community College) for thirty years, and I’d like to
say for thirty more years because it’s a wonderful place to be,” said Berenblatt.
Berenblatt, who attended Adelphi College in Garden City, began her career as a speech therapist in
the Brentwood school district. Berenblatt later decided she wanted to go back to school and start
a career as a psychotherapist. She decided to open up a private practice in Smithtown where she
worked as a family counselor for 18 years. Recently, Berenblatt published a book called Moving
Foward, which came out in August 2021.
Berenblatt teaches all different psychology levels and has been teaching at the Ammerman
campus for about 30 years. Berenblatt frequently discusses “making an appointment with
yourself” to give yourself quiet time to focus on your health or needs to avoid burnout.
“I want students to find a way to feel valuable, important, and lovable and not because someone
tells you that. When you feel that way, no one can treat you in a way that doesn’t relate to these
Berenblatts books include: Make An Appointment With Yourself, which was published in
1995 by Health Communications, Changeweavers (1996), which Health Communications also
published. Her more recent publications are a self-published collection of three short storybooks
that tell the stories of women overcoming challenges and gaining a stronger sense of self-identity.
The titles of these books are: Moving (2017), Still Moving (2019), and most recently,
Moving Forward, which we will be focusing on in our interview.
You may be wondering, how is it possible to find enough time in the day to get all of this done?
With a full schedule on her plate and trying to promote her most recent project, Moving
Forward, that just came out on Amazon, she has no ambition to slow down. Currently, she is
working on her first full-length historical fiction.
Berenblatt discloses the key to her success is to, quite frankly, “make an appointment with
yourself.” Berenblatt hints that the key to getting stuff done and unlocking the potentials of your
personal life is to take the time to prioritize yourself. It is no coincidence that Barenblatt’s words
co-exist perfectly with the title of her book previously mentioned above.
Before we get into Berenblatt’s role and the work she does at SCCC, it’s important to note that
Barenblatt’s most recent book, Moving Forward which came out in August 2021, is a collection
of short stories about women striving for authenticity with courage. The book follows real-life
stories about women finding their voice and the confidence to develop their potential
Berenblatt mentioned her upbringing and her observations as a child as the driving forces that
made her eager to get into the psychology and teaching field. Berenblatt said that she grew up
during a time when women did what they were expected to.
“Women have a double obstacle; first, they have to be all that they can be, then they have to be all
that they can be for other people. So in my work, I ask them to treat themselves as loving and
honorable as they do other people, and that’s a difficult journey for some women because they
were taught to love others and never taught to love themselves,” said Berenblatt.
In terms of success, resilience is vital, which can apply to students learning remotely today.
Berenblatt discussed her devotion to making time for herself and time management as essential
components to her accomplishments. This circles back to her teaching style, which focuses on
communication and dialogue. Guessing by Barenblatts passionate nature, self-discovery, and
reflection seem to be a part of her teachings as well.
“In my classroom, we spark off of each other. There’s a reciprocal dialogue in a live classroom
that is not always the case in Zoom. You have to be self-motivated to function on a higher level in
Barenblatt notes that procrastination is a topic brought up with her students on the first day of
classes. Her books highlight the idea of planning out your time.
“I learn from the students,” (continuing) about her experience teaching students from all around
the world; “I had a student from Russia, another student from Greece and Bangladesh. Where
would I meet these people, except in my classroom?”
“My mother was a teacher, and there were no choices. You had to go to college and be a teacher.
While being a teacher, I discovered behavior patterns between children and families. ”
“You have to have a plan. This is who I am; this is what I want.”
Berenblatt adds that she requires dialogue in her classroom and encourages her students to hone
in on their interests. “My classroom is the world. That is why I love psychology because it attracts people from all
over the world.”