Snapshot: Bob Schmidt, LPC
Occupation: I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I specialize in treating anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Family: I have been married to my wonderful college sweetheart, Josie, for over 50 years. We have two grown children (Eddie and Lauren) and five grandchildren ranging in age from 16 to 24 years old. Eddie is a producer-director in Los Angeles who has three Emmy nominations and an Oscar nomination. Lauren is the director of Porter & Chester Institute in Waterbury. Their spouses are also amazing and talented people. I feel like I have four terrific children.
How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved from Staten Island to Sandy Hook in 1982. I immediately loved Newtown because it reminded me of what Staten Island looked like when I was a child.
What do you like to do in your free time? Josie and I have an acoustic duo called Solid Gold Times Two. We both sing, I play guitar, and she plays the flute on some songs. We love performing and cover everything from Sinatra and Elvis to Ed Sheeran and Adele. We’ve played at restaurants, private parties, special events, retirement communities, and the Senior Center. We also enjoy cruising around Lake Zoar on our motorboat. Our house is only four minutes from Eichler’s Cove, where there is a beautiful boat launch and beach.
What is your favorite book? My favorite book is The End of Mental Illness by Dr Philip Amen. I think his studies and treatments using the SPECT brain scan could revolutionize how we treat mental illness.
What organizations are you part of in Newtown? I am a member of the Newtown Lions Club. I joined in 2006 and in 2008 I took over the role of Duck Race Chair. I am proud of the Duck Race because it is an event that brings Newtowners together for a celebration that is fun for the whole family.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents, my sister, and my brother have been the greatest influences in my life. I was blessed by being born into an extraordinary family where I always felt safe, loved, and valued. As the youngest of three children, the lessons I learned about life and happiness all stemmed from my family.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? I wish that I could spend one more day with my brother. He passed away suddenly in September 2019. We were more than brothers, we were best friends, and I miss him every day.
Who is your favorite musical artist? My first favorite musical artist growing up was Elvis, then it was the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Today I would have to say it’s Ed Sheeran. Although, I still love to listen to anything by John Fogerty who created Creedence Clearwater Revival.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? There are two quotes that resonate with me. My father used to say, “Life is not always fair” and Vince Lombardi’s quote, “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.” Those words helped me understand that in life you must expect challenges and bumps in the road, but not let those obstacles hold you back.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I would have to say that I am most proud of the two books that I’ve published in the last two years. The first book published by Routledge, Disaster Mental Health Community Planning, was co-authored with my friend Sharon L. Cohen. It premiered in April 2020. My new book, Finding Resilience: Open the Door to Mental Health and Happiness just came out in May. It’s a self-help book that contains a variety of techniques and counseling philosophies to help people deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. The impact of the COVID pandemic resulted in a rise in anxiety and depression in people all over the world. There are not enough mental health professionals available to meet the needs of the public. My book is designed to help people help themselves.
What is a meal/recipe your family has passed down to you? My wife is a fantastic cook. Her mother taught her how to make a great Italian pasta sauce. Our children and all the grandchildren love it.
What is a tradition your family does that is important to you? For the past 20 years, Josie and I have vacationed with her two sisters and their husbands. We all get along great and have a fantastic time together.
What would you like The Newtown Bee to cover in the future? I would not change a thing. The Bee does an excellent job of making us all feel a part of this beautiful community.