Learning to Listen in a Noisy World
Date published: September 7, 2016
What were you doing before you decided to pursue your master’s degree in psychology?
How can fact meet theory? How does one find the truth in the classroom? Psychology
student Lacy de la Garza, who hopes to pursue a career in counseling upon graduation,
has found an answer in her studies at the Braniff Graduate School: through the art
LD: Before beginning graduate school at University of Dallas, I was working for the
Catholic Pro-Life Committee as a coordinator at Rachel's Vineyard. Rachel’s Vineyard
is a ministry of Project Rachel of Priests for Life and offers healing retreats for
men and women who have been involved with, or have experienced, an abortion. It was
my time with the Catholic Pro-Life Committee that moved me to go back to school, pursue
licensure and become a counselor to serve the needs of many.
Q: Has your perspective on your life shifted at all, after studying at UD?
LD: This degree is opening so many doors for me. Previously, I thought that getting
a masters in psychology would limit my possibilities and direct me towards the one
very particular path -- that of becoming a counselor in private practice. I'm finding
out that the exact opposite is happening. As I get closer to graduation, private practice
counseling is still very much a possibility, but I'm discovering that more doors are
opening for me than I realized were possible. The skills and knowledge I have gained
from this particular program are lifelong assets in my personal and professional life.
Pursuing this education is a gift to myself that will unpack itself fully only over
the passage of time.
Q: What’s your take on UD’s approach to psychology at the graduate level?
LD: UD offers a unique blend of the philosophical and practical aspects of psychology
which enables us to pursue either one well. There’s a focus on philosophy as a foundation
of understanding the human person, which is a great asset to the counseling aspect
of the profession. It provides me an opportunity to ground my research among the various
theorists of the field and learn how to differentiate between theoretical approaches,
as well as where to situate myself -- as a researcher, practitioner, or a researcher-practitioner.
I’d say it’s more of an all-encompassing approach.
Q: Is there a course or professor you particularly enjoyed?
LD: Most who feel called to become counselors are somewhat partial to counseling in
their own lives. In both group and individual counseling classes, we were given the
opportunity to examine the rubrics of what makes a counselor a counselor and what
techniques are applicable in certain situations. We are encouraged to learn through
experience how one’s presence as a counselor is dictated by theoretical alignment.
Those were definitely two of the more eye-opening courses.
Q: How has your experience at Braniff shaped you personally or professionally?
LD: I have been equipped with an education that will allow me to change the world.
It's not just the concrete knowledge of facts and theories and theorists that I've
gained from my UD graduate education, but the application of those ideas in the context
of real-world experiences, which is empowering. Now I know how to really listen --
to both what is said and unsaid -- and I can use this as a tool for dialogue in our
increasingly "noisy" world.