Spencer Sherman

“Your attention is like the open sky in which clouds of thought, feeling, and sensation float by. When you become mindful, you learn a new way of viewing yourself.”

Education:

  • M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology, Stanford University
  • B.S. in Humanities and Science, MIT

About:

Dr. Sherman is especially interested in individuals’ psychological and physical well-being, and in how to live a joyous and meaningful life. Since he was a child, Dr. Sherman has been interested in the the potential of individuals and how the human race could evolve to be better. The problems that the world is facing have largely been brought about by human behavior. If we are to solve those problems, Dr. Sherman suggests that we will need an enhanced understanding of who we are and why we behave as we do, and especially how we can function in a way that is better for humanity and the planet. He hopes to be effective in helping his students learn the science of psychology so that they can go on to make further discoveries and interventions that will benefit themselves, the people in their lives, and the world in general.

Dr. Sherman’s goal in teaching is to provide his students the understanding they need to live fulfilling lives and make a difference for us all. He is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist and teaches at the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning and throughout the community. He practices mindfulness, exercises in nature, and creates something every day.

Q: What is your notion of a fulfilling life?

Dr. Sherman: “Freud said, ‘lieben und arbeiten,’ which means love and work. So one way to look at a fulfilling life is a life that is full of social contact, focused energy, and direction…. So a person who has a good social life and is into their studies would probably be pretty happy as long as it is not overwhelming for them.”

Q: When you say that you practice mindfulness, do you mean that you practice meditation?

Dr. Sherman: “You don’t have to meditate to be mindful. Mindfulness is a way of looking at yourself and the world; it is a perspective. Meditation can help you to learn mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening inside you and outside you, right now, without trying to change it.”

Q: So, does that mean if I find a “flaw” in my personality, I do not change it?

Dr. Sherman: “You realize that you are looking at yourself. The flaw is on a more superficial level than the noticing of it…. By practicing mindfulness, you learn that you are an awareness in which thoughts, feelings, and sensations take place. So there are two possibilities. One is to actively change those thoughts, feelings, and sensations when you don’t like them. Mindfulness can help you to see where change needs to take place and to accomplish it most efficiently. But often a better strategy is to realize that your personality is just experiences, interpretations, and habits, and you’re free of them when you’re not caught in them. When you are watching them you don’t have to be governed by them. So instead of trying to change yourself by forcing yourself to be different, just don’t let your experiences, interpretations, and habits rule you and how you behave. Instead of struggling with yourself, realize that you can be aware of yourself, and that because you’re aware, you have choice. ”

Interests/Causes you care about:

  • Positive Psychology
  • Human Potential
  • World Peace
  • Social Justice

Courses Taught at SBCC:

  • Psych 100: General Psychology
  • Psych 106: Positive Psychology
  • Psych 120: Introduction to Psychology

Campus Location

Hours

Contact:

IDC 312
Cubicle H

Tuesday
5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday
5 p.m. – 6 p.m.