Helping People Make a ‘Strong Recovery’

Jarred Freeman used Field Period® to observe how people overcome drug and alcohol dependency.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Keuka College’s Field Period® opportunities allow students to get out of the classroom, fine-tune their interests, and obtain practical experience to combine with their academics.

Field Period® also lets students try different career possibilities, and either confirm a choice of major, or change it altogether. Such was the case for Keuka College junior Jarred Freeman, who enrolled as a criminal justice major.

“But after my first Field Period® with the Brighton (N.Y.) Police Department, and the introductory psychology courses I took my freshman year, I found that psychology was the field for me,” says Jarred.

And thanks to another Field Period® opportunity, Jarred spent the month of January observing how people recover from addiction and substance abuse at Strong Recovery. Affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center, Strong Recovery specializes in treating patients with opioid use disorders, as well as those with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. The program also provides comprehensive services for methadone maintenance treatment, as well as psychiatric support services when needed.

Jarred was particularly interested in yet another treatment: group therapy sessions, which are intended to teach skills to help patients overcome their addictions.

“The aspect of drug and alcohol recovery I found the most interesting would have to be the strength of the relationships between patients, as well as the relationships the patients have with the counselors,” says Jarred. “They are a very close-knit family, one which shares mutual trust and comfortability around one another. This is a major component in successful recovery.”

And while Jarred’s role during the group therapy sessions was primarily as an observer, he enjoyed the conversations he had with patients.

“Everyone was willing to talk with me and share their stories,” says Jarred. “They were very willing to let me into their ‘family.’”

Through his observations and conversations, Jarred discovered that will power is a great motivator.

“Throughout my time at Strong Recovery, I learned that will power can get anybody through anything, even a disease such as addiction,” says Jarred. “And without facilities such as Strong Recovery, these people would be much worse than they are now. It gives me motivation to focus on my school work so I can also help people one day.”

And Jarred not only learned about group therapy sessions, how people overcome addiction, and the importance of will power, he learned to acknowledge his own abilities.

“One thing this experience taught me about myself is that I am much more knowledgeable than I give myself credit for,” says Jarred. “And that having confidence in this field is very important, so whatever I set my mind on, I know I will be able to accomplish it.”

Since completing his Field Period® at Strong Recovery, Jarred will not only consider becoming a counselor to those affected by addiction and substance abuse, but would also like to incorporate animal therapy into the treatment plan. He credits the Field Period® program for offering opportunities to get real-world experience before graduation.

“I will take the skills I learned from this experience and use them for the rest of my College career and into my professional career,” says Jarred. “I am extremely thankful for Field Period® and its ability to provide me with vital skills that are necessary in my field before I am actually in it.”