Counselor discovers passion at Antioch working with trans youth
While most root for the underdog, Will Zogg empathizes with anti-heroes.
“I always am interested in what made them the way they are – it was my foundation of wanting to work with people,” he said.
Growing up north of Seattle, he’d read a book, “There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom,” about a child struggling in school.
“He’s a bully and he goes to counseling,” said Zogg. “You see the dramatic effect it has on him to have someone notice him. I feel if you can notice (anti-heroes) like him and realize in what ways they are good people, it’s good for the entire world.”
Zogg wanted to be a mental health counselor from a young age.
During his bachelor’s program at Evergreen College in Olympia, he studied psychology but through a multi-cultural lens.
“I wanted a broader understanding of people,” he said.
After receiving his degree, he began doing residential for at-risk youth and later worked as a street outreach case manager while a student at Antioch University.
Community Youth Services operates multiple programs in such areas as juvenile justice, independent living skills, residential counseling, and case management.
“We work with people ready to make changes using skills they already have without losing sight of who they are,” said Zogg of the organization.
He enrolled three and a half years ago at Antioch University Seattle because he discovered its mission aligned with his own.
“They take what you’re learning and apply it in the real world,” he said. “Working with people is important. The focus in classes is on getting clients community resources and advocating for them, not on labeling them.”
When Zogg began his master’s program in clinical health counseling at Antioch he had just started medically transitioning from female to male.
“I didn’t want to work with trans people, though,” he said. “I had so many other interests.” Working with at-risk youth, especially juvenile offender- labeled youth, was his vision.
His path as an Antioch student broadened his horizons.
“I just really appreciate the various types of personalities of my professors because everyone has their own modalities and ways of practicing counseling,” he said. “I came in (to Antioch) with thinking I was solid on what I want to do. What Antioch helped me believe is I can make a difference utilizing my experiences in any field.”
He has also realized the biases he’s endured and how they’ve shaped him as a person.
His experience at Antioch has made him now want to work with transgender young people.
He will pursue the two-year licensure to become a mental health counselor with the goal of expanding his work as a transgender and gender-expansive consultant, which he began in February.
“I got a job as soon as I got registered as a licensed mental health counseling associate (LMHCA),” he added. “I am now working at Sea Mar Behavioral Health as a Clinical Child and Family Therapist with special populations focus on transgender and gender variant youth and their families.”
He also offers one-on-one consultation at hourly rates, group trainings, referrals and resource gathering based on clients’ needs through his company Will Zogg Consulting.
“Antioch is moving toward a more flexible and multi-cultural lens in regards to working with clients,” said Zogg. “You need more flexibility – clients are not homogenous.”
Will also appreciates that his views are considered by both faculty and peers.
“I’ve experienced people really listening and wanting to give thoughtful feedback,” he said. “I’m struck by how differently they are doing something then how I do it.”
The sense of community he has as an Antioch student inspired him to work as a graduate assistant for nearly two years, where he led the CMHC department newsletter.
“I was treated like a peer and I feel more connected to the campus and my professors because of that,” he said. “There’s a huge sense of community here.”
What he has benefitted from most as an Antioch master’s student is that no one he’s worked with is a self-proclaimed expert.
“As I get ready to end my time at Antioch I realize I am leaving more flexible with my skills and able to learn new things,” he said. “Not knowing is more important than knowing.”