Peter Eischens is a second-year doctoral student in the rehabilitation counseling and administration program at East Carolina University. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at St. Cloud State University, where he studied counseling psychology with an emphasis in rehabilitation.
He’s specializing in substance and clinical counseling in ECU’s doctoral program.
“I chose ECU because of the faculty, the emphasis on addiction and the opportunities for professional development unique to this program,” he said of his decision to move more than 1,300 miles to continue his education.
Eischens said his interest in the field started while he was working full-time in a group home during his undergraduate career, and then he began to find other part-time jobs dealing with disability. This led to pursuing a master’s in rehabilitation counseling because it seemed like the perfect fit.
“I’m a listener and I like to understand why we are the way we are,” he said. “As a counselor, I get to explore the complexities of being human while helping people. I can’t think of anything more meaningful than that for myself.”
This semester was his first time in a teaching position, where he taught ADRE 4000, Interviewing Techniques for Health and Rehabilitation Settings. In the course, students get to practice basic helping skills with each other and record themselves.
“As we got started, I realized I that knew a lot more than I gave myself credit for and I could transfer some of my counseling skills into teaching,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the students and watching them learn how to listen and express empathy.”
Eischens was recently appointed as the chair of the College of Allied Health Sciences Student Leaders Council. He and other representatives within the CAHS collaborate and work towards integrative care for their patients.
In his current research, he’s working with Dr. Susan Sherman on a mixed-methods study exploring different factors impacting outcomes for state and federal rehabilitation services.
“What I’m doing doesn’t feel like work to me,” he said.
Your words to live by: It’s about the process, not the product.
What advice do you have for other students?: Find a mentor.
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year?: All of the different clinics available for low-income and marginalized clients.
College: Allied Health Sciences
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration – Clinical
Classification/Year: Second-year doctoral student
Hometown: Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Hobbies/interests: Running, lifting weights, tattoos, reading about fun stuff like communist Russia and archetypes, and coffee
Favorite hangout: Juice Vibes
Favorite place on campus: The duck pond
Favorite place to eat: Batenni
Favorite class: Rehabilitation Counseling Supervision
Professor who influenced you the most: I’ve learned something valuable from all of our faculty and am grateful to be in the department.
Favorite TV show: “Futurama”
Favorite band/musician: Washed Out
Favorite movie: “American Beauty”
Favorite website: mediamonarchy.com
Dream job: Hosting “The Real Housewives” reunions
The one thing you cannot live without: Carrots
Role model: Dr. Jonathan Haidt