Katya Chizhova, LCSW NJ&NY
1995 MSW, Hunter College School of Social Work, New York
Psychologist Daniel Gottlieb wrote in one of his books, “all buried feelings are buried alive.” The job of a therapist is to bring them back and make peace with them. I have been a psychotherapist for more than 20 years. My education started in Moscow, where I majored in Psychology at Moscow State Pedagogical Institute. After moving to the US, I continued my studies at Hunter College in New York, graduating with a MSW degree.
For the next nine years, I was with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, one of the oldest mental health clinics in New York. Years of working there made me deeply aware of how our past experiences shape our present. I learned how to deal with psychological trauma and mental illness, how to bring out people’s hidden strengths. Over the next five years, I was fortunate to work as part of a medical team involved in helping people adjust to the consequences of temporary or permanent neurological problems caused by disease or injury. In 2006, I moved my practice to New Jersey. Today, one of my specializations is helping people with stress-related medical conditions, such as IBS or fibromyalgia. What happens when we bury our feelings? We may try to forget childhood scares and teenage traumas, but our bodies never forget them. Emotional distress gets in the way of treating such common medical conditions as migraine, fatigue, constipation or diarrhea. Years of neglecting our emotional struggles may also increase chances of developing heart disease, hypertension, cancer, an autoimmune disorder. Relief comes when the mind-body connection is understood. I help my patients recognize psychological components of their physical illnesses. Therapy teaches techniques for managing pain and discomfort, and is essential for people who must adjust to temporary or permanent limitations. Our sessions provide people with the opportunity to be themselves and to explore their needs and desires. When we reconnect with ourselves, we begin to heal and grow. My other specialization is helping parents of children with social and emotional issues. Boys and girls with developmental disabilities often require around the clock care, substantial financial resources, and advocacy to protect their rights and get access to appropriate services. But these days parents often have to work longer hours, precisely at a time when their kids need them more than ever. I am often involved in crisis intervention with children and teenagers who demonstrate risky behaviors. I also help parents deal with dangers posed by social media that often alienates, destroys self-esteem, and exposes children to cyber-bullying. When I work with families, I actively reach out to schools, treatment facilities, and other professionals.If necessary, I provide supportive documents to help parents advocate for services their children need. Once parents stop being confused and overwhelmed, kids get a fighting chance to overcome their psychological difficulties and to thrive.