Alum William Semon
Discovers His Passion for Mental Health Counseling and Advocacy
With a long-time
interest in history, William Blake Semon thought he would major
in the subject as a college student. That was before he took his
first psychology course at Mercer County Community College.
Semon recalls that his "Introduction to Psychology" and
other psychology and humanities courses gave him a new awareness
about mental health and societal ills. "I had many great professors;
they sparked my interest in sharing knowledge with others,"
He also saw direct parallels between his studies and the struggles
of those close to him. The suicide of a dear friend and mentor ultimately
led to his decision to embark on a career in the field of psychology.
Today Semon is a wellness coach at Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services,
Inc., in Annandale, NJ, an agency that serves Central New Jersey
residents confronting mental illness.
the Bridgeway staff in December, 2009, Semon is part of an intensive residential
team that provides transitional support to individuals who are discharged
from state psychiatric hospitals. Much of his job entails conducting counseling
sessions and advocating for clients.
"We help our clients regain their voice in a system that often overlooks
them and sees them as a diagnosis, not as human beings," maintains
Semon. "I am lucky that I am not sitting behind a desk all day. I
love being able to advocate for my clients' needs."
A graduate of Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Semon's decision
to attend MCCC was partly financial and partly a matter of following in
the footsteps of his mother and sister, who are Liberal Arts graduates
of the college. While at Mercer, Semon was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa
International Honor Society and Alpha Mu Gamma, the Foreign Language Honor
Society; he also served as a psychology tutor.
After graduating from MCCC in 2006 with an A.A. in Humanities and Social
Science, Semon received an academic scholarship to attend Fairleigh Dickinson
University for an accelerated five-year B.A./M.A. program. He earned a
bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Clinical Counseling
Before starting at Bridgeway, Semon worked with young people, first at
Hunterdon Youth Services, an adolescent male group home, and then as an
adolescent drug and alcohol counselor for Daytop Village of New Jersey,
a long-term residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. He was
also a primary therapist for children and youth at Foundations Behavioral
Health in Doylestown, Pa.
Semon hopes to one day open a wellness therapy center that offers a range
of mental health, expressive and physical forms of therapy and is open
to all, no matter what their financial circumstances. He is currently
applying to doctoral programs in psychology and also plans to seek certification
in bio-neurofeedback, a method to optimize psychophysiological functioning.
He is also giving back to the college that helped him shape his future.
He serves as an adjunct instructor at MCCC, teaching "Introduction
"School is not just a place to spend time during your day,"
he stresses. "Get involved. Engage in debates and conversation with
your fellow students and professors. The work you do at MCCC can prepare
you for many of your life's endeavors and open up doors that you might
not have ever thought possible."
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