Dr. Phyllis Deal and Lauren Hehmeyer, professors at Texarkana College, recently presented their paper “Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Meet Henry David Thoreau” at the Thoreau Bicentennial Annual Gathering in Concord, Massachusetts. The July 2017 event was attended by more than three hundred conference goers.
According to a press release, Henry David Thoreau was a nineteenth-century American writer, environmentalist, and political thinker. His ideas have influenced Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, among others. He is famous for writing the book Walden, based upon his experience living in a cabin by Walden Pond, and for writing an essay entitled “Civil Disobedience,” that called for individuals to protest peacefully against unjust governments. The conference, held in honor of the two hundredth anniversary of Thoreau’s birth, attracted presenters from as far away as India, China, and Japan, and also included the American Pulitzer Prize winner Megan Marshall.

“We were really honored to be accepted,” said Hehmeyer, who presented for the team, “and I felt our ideas were well received. Our goal was to show how Thoreau’s method of dealing with his own feelings can be applied to relieve the burnout that often troubles Alcohol and Drug Abuse counselors.”

Deal’s expertise is in social psychology. She is the immediate president of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, the research development organization for addiction counselor credentialing. Hehmeyer has degrees in Library Science, English Literature, and teaches history at Texarkana College.