Name: Mary Azoy
Title: Licensed Professional Counselor
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
I am a psychotherapist/mental health counselor in private practice
What are your favorite parts of your job?
Being in session with my clients, and trying to help them sort out their thinking and their goals.
How did you get into this field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
I wanted to be a psychotherapist ever since high school. Began training for it as a second career in mid-life.
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
All the administrative work a successful practice entails: not fun, very time-consuming – and you don’t get any training for it in grad school!
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
Definitely. Especially my graduate degrees in counseling and in cultural anthropology. Also my special training in poetry therapy. Most of all, though, my very thorough and intensive training and experience as a crisis/suicide hotline volunteer has taught me the most valuable skill a therapist can master: active listening.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
I’m in the process of transitioning from a group to a private practice, because I can earn so much more in private practice, and because the commute is much shorter. Work-life balance is very important to me: I’ve scheduled my weekdays so that I can work out at the gym and pool every day for 2 hours, and (with rare exceptions), I don’t see clients on the weekends.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
Find your passion, and find a way of doing what you love – even if it takes your years (and a few detours) to get there! Don’t get caught up in the status-y rat-race of the DC area, unless you truly love it. There’s a whole world outside of the beltway!