Always Wanting To Go Deeper
Maggie Labocki, the Director of Counseling Services at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, always felt compelled to delve deeper into conversation, even from a young age. “I was always the friend who asked the tough questions. I wanted to talk, and then just listen. I wanted to help.” Maggie entered her undergrad with the goal of becoming a physical therapist, and she noticed a pattern there as well. “I wanted to hear and listen to their stories. I was interested in how they got injured, and how their recovery was going.” She then switched to Psychology, where she completed her BA. A fervor that was always there for Maggie seemed to really come to the forefront. “I thought wow, this is really a passion, so I decided to enter the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling (AGSC).” It was a decision that Maggie is thankful she made.
Getting Properly Equipped at AGSC
After feeling the pull in 2002, Maggie decided to enter AGSC where she completed her Masters. “It was a fantastic experience. I really appreciate that we got equipped to work in both Christian and secular environments.” She also appreciates that the professors currently work in the counseling world. “They are all top notch, and with them working in the field it means that all of the curriculum is constantly updated. That’s important.” AGSC also creates hands-on experience for their students. “We have internship programs that really benefit the students. All of my staff comes from the program. I’m a product of it as well. We get equipped in a relevant and effective way. I love AGSC.” The topic of mental health has really become mainstream recently, and it seems to correlate to the youth.
Pressure on Youth and the Impact of the Pandemic
The social media landscape seems to have created more stress on kids and teenagers. “There’s a lot of pressure, and information these days comes from all over. There’s just so much exposure for them.” The pandemic has also had a major impact on mental health. “The youth really need that social connection, and that’s been really challenged by the pandemic. We’re still reeling, and it’s just been a lot to deal with.” Maggie has noticed a shift though. There seems to be a movement where people are more encouraged to communicate about their mental health challenges. “I have noticed the youth talking about their feelings more. Being in the field for a while I have seen a shift of bringing the dark to light. We just need to create pathways, and safe spaces for them to come, talk, share and get help.” One aspect that counselors may forget about is self-care. And that’s an aspect that Maggie has always tried to work on.
The Importance of Self-Care
It takes a special person to join the mental health field. Maggie notes that “you have to go where the hurt is. It’s like a first responder.” It can take a mental toll on those in the field. This can lead to burn out, so you have to hold yourself accountable in creating a self-care routine. “I’m constantly modifying my self-care. You need to take the time, and I need to be at my best in order to help others. It’s super important, and it can spill over to other aspects of life.” The fulfillment of reaching others makes the struggle worthwhile.
A Prayer of Positive Impact
Maggie is very thankful for her AGSC mentor, who was always a source of encouragement. “They told me that God sent that person my way so that I can have a positive impact on them. That’s my prayer. A positive experience. The need is great. If they are in front of you, you can help them.”
Nyack College offers FREE Counseling Services to ALL enrolled students at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. For more information please visit the Counseling Services Website.
For the full interview please tune into WNYK Warrior Radio on Tuesday, June 14th, at 1:00 p.m.