Meet Our Advertisers: Maggi Zadek
Maggi Zadek is a 12-year resident of Fairview, an avid animal and nature lover, and a practicing psychotherapist and public speaker. She lives high atop her beloved mountain with her 4 small dogs and an abundance of local flora and fauna.
Q. Maggi, where are you originally from and what did you do there?
A. Long Island, New York. I was born and raised in Queens. Later on, I moved to Carle Place in Nassau County, just east of Queens.
For 30 years, I taught high school in the Social Sciences Department. As part of the honors-elective program, I created the first Sex Education and Adolescent Values curriculum for my seniors. In order to better meet all of my students’ needs, I also designed a class focusing on coping strategies for stress reduction and anger management.
Concurrently, as an adjunct college professor, I taught Psychology and Communication Skills For Relationship Building, including the expressions of intimacy and emotional needs, which for some can be difficult.
As a result of my personal involvement with my students, I was motivated to pursue a second Master’s Degree, this one in Clinical Psychology, from St. John’s University. I began my practice as a psychotherapist in 1972. Once again, I had the honor of bearing witness to others as they ventured into new behaviors, new patterns, and deeper understanding of their world.
Q. How did you happen to move to Asheville?
A. I was getting ready to retire, and I had no idea where I wanted to relocate. It was quite clear what I was looking for; I just wasn’t sure where I’d find it. While at a party, one of my friends mentioned Asheville, and her description of this unique, small city caught my attention. After researching the area on the web, I knew I had to come down and explore for myself. The pristine nature of the mountains, forests and wildlife touched my heart and knew I could live here in perfect harmony. I was home.
Q. Tell us what you are passionate about?
A. Oh, I’m passionate about so many things! I absolutely love my little family of four Papillon dogs. Whenever I feel unsettled, I reach for a dog and all is right with the world. I’m devoted to providing the most joyful, healthy, loving and stress-free life possible for them.
As an ex-New Yorker, theater and the arts are part of my DNA. I performed in musicals, studied improv and sketch comedy with Second City Chicago and did stand-up in many of the NYC clubs. Music fills my heart and home, and is an integral part of my life. It nourishes my soul. I am also committed to journal writing.
I also cherish time spent with my friends. I love sharing my home for dinners and great conversations. It’s a very warm and welcoming mountaintop home where people can be themselves. Meeting new people and hearing different perspectives excites me.
Q. Maggi, can you describe your life here in the mountains?
A. The first thing I do each day is to focus on all the living creatures entwined within my life. A while back, my property was certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Wildlife Sanctuary and Refuge. Each morning, regardless of the weather, I go out on my deck to replenish the multiple wild bird feeders, squirrel feeders, and heated birdbaths.
Then, I might grab my camera and walk my mountain with my dogs. My intense love of photography focuses on all things natural, such as the intricate texture of tree bark, the gentle sloping of the mountains, the mysterious and ever-changing shapes of the clouds, the minute detail of a flower’s petal. All this fascinates me.
When my love of downtown Asheville beckons, then I guarantee you’ll find me with one of my dogs visiting the shops and galleries. I swear that the shopkeepers know my dogs’ names better than my own. One of my Papillons, Tuppins, is a local celebrity, since she appeared in full color on the cover of our weekly newspaper.
Q. Going back to your chosen profession, how would you describe a typical therapy session?
A. I take my cue from whatever my client presents in each session. These hints can be as varied as body language, tone of voice, what they say or don’t say and even angry words or uncontrollable crying. Observing how they see and value themselves helps determine my interaction with them. For instance, a client with a poor, inaccurate self-image will have different needs than someone possessing a strong, positive awareness of their intrinsic value.
In my practice, I offer not only talk therapy, but experiential therapy as well. This encompasses working with a client’s spiritual, emotional, social, mental and physical self, as it occurs in the present moment. My ultimate goal for each client is for them to experience an increased awareness of their own unique value, and to be able to communicate their needs and feelings to others safely and effectively. I wish for them to feel complete and comfortable with their life choices.
Q. Do you specialize in specific areas?
A. Yes, while I work with any and all issues that interfere with my clients’ ability to function comfortably, it’s not uncommon during the course of therapy to find that a client has some past trauma that must be addressed. Therapy shifts to include these traumas, abuses, and misconceptions. As a specialist, I periodically offer the following growth programs: a full-day anger workshop, a fourweek couple workshop focusing on communicating and expressing intimacy, and an afternoon hands-on journal writing session.
Q. What have you learned that has impacted your personal and professional life?
A. At a very young age my father taught me the meaning of giving back. Even though my family wasn’t wealthy, he stressed the value of thankfulness and helping others. As a result, I’m active in local charities. I sat on the Board of Directors of the Animal Compassion Network, have done pet therapy at the Veterans Hospital, Care Partners, and Eliada House. Now I collect and deliver donated pet food to Asheville’s Meals on Wheels Pet Food Assistance Program.
Maggi, thanks so much for your time today! Do you have any closing thoughts for our readers?
Yes. Remember your past is over, and only you can choose to leave it behind and move forward ~ I’ll gladly walk that journey with you.
Maggi can be reached for appointment scheduling at 828-628-2275.
This interview was conducted by Sheri Ryan, a freelance writer living in Black Mountain.