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Heather L. Smith

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Core Faculty, Human Development Counseling


Professor Smith’s research interests include the temperament trait sensory processing sensitivity (the Highly Sensitive Person), wellness of counseling students, and group counseling. Her professional experience has allowed her to apply research to practice working as a licensed professional counselor in university counseling centers and as part of the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Grant, and as a registered dietitian nutritionist serving such groups as the Nutrition and Behavioral Health Working Group appointed by the U.S. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Science Board and the PBS Kids’ Professor Fizzy’s LunchLab. 


Professor Smith regularly teaches group counseling for school and clinical mental health counselors and internship in clinical mental health counseling. She has also taught courses in counseling techniques, professional foundations, and interpersonal communications.


Professor Smith serves as reviewer for the Journal for Specialists in Group Work and on committees for national counseling associations including the American Counseling Association (ACA) and Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic Professional Honor Society International. She has served as the president of the Tennessee Association for Specialists in Group Work (TASGW) and chaired the Peabody College Professional and Graduate Student Mental Health and Wellness Task Force. 

Community Engagement

Professor Smith works to inform professional counselors about work with the Highly Sensitive Person, engages partners across health and education disciplines to address complex questions about mental health and wellness, promotes the profession of counseling, and trains professionals in school and clinical mental health counseling.