Learning to Listen in a Noisy World

Learning to Listen in a Noisy World

Date published: September 7, 2016

Lacy de la GarzaWhat 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 of listening.

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.

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