I strongly believe that people are experts in their own lives, with greater reserves of strength and resiliency than they realize. However, at one time or another, most of us face challenges that leave us feeling powerless and overwhelmed. I became a therapist to help people tap into their inner strengths, work through challenges and feel empowered to make real, positive changes that truly serve them.
Throughout my life, I’ve been lucky enough to watch my family members care for each other while going through illness, aging, emotional distress and more. I saw my parents take care of my grandparents and one another, and I had the opportunity to witness how powerful physical and emotional support can be, especially in times of hardship. Following their example, I’ve taken on that caregiving role for many people at various points in my life. People have always trusted me, from loved ones seeking nonjudgmental understanding to peers searching for a brainstorming session to clients seeking healing, growth and constructive change in their lives. I know how much relief can be found in talking to someone who balances thoughtful listening with active engagement and offers comfort, validation and helpful insight.
As someone who has personally experienced the benefits of therapy at different points in my life, I also know how valuable working with a trained, compassionate therapist can be, especially for those who don’t have a strong family support system or find themselves facing a challenge that others don’t seem to understand. Living with mental and/or physical illness can feel deeply isolating, and I offer care, acceptance and encouragement to those who feel stuck, defeated and unheard.
In addition to therapy for anxiety, depression and grief, I specialize in chronic illness counseling and senior citizen counseling. These issues are more common than most people believe, and many people struggle for years without realizing that they are not alone in their experience. In my own life, I have gone through the process of receiving a diagnosis and learning how to adjust to a chronic illness. I know how tough it can be, and I aim to help others—whether they are newly diagnosed or have struggled with an illness for decades—manage symptoms and rediscover energy and hope.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from McGill University and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, with a special focus on healthcare and disability, and I have worked in a variety of hospitals and healthcare settings. As a social worker, I have the unique ability to combine traditional talk therapy with practical problem solving, including collaborating with other providers, accessing effective resources and navigating the often-complicated healthcare system.
Outside of my therapy practice, I enjoy spending time with family members and friends, especially when we have the opportunity to be outside. I am an avid reader, and I enjoy taking on creative projects, including making gifts for loved ones. And, after completing my Masters of Social Work, I went on to a second master’s degree in healthcare and interior design, and focused on the ways in which our environments—at home, at work and in healthcare settings—impact our physical and mental health. Drawing on this passion and attention to detail, I work to create a warm, comforting setting in my counseling office. Your overall wellbeing is my priority.
When you enter a therapy session with me, your goals are my goals. My approach is collaborative, strengths-focused and solutions-focused. We will work together to identify what you want, what’s standing in your way and how you can draw on your natural talents and skills to overcome obstacles. In addition to helping you experience emotional relief and healing, I also offer individualized, concrete tips and strategies that can help you take practical steps toward the life you want. No matter what you need and regardless of what you’re going through, I am here to help.
I am a warm, nonjudgmental therapist. In sessions, I invite an open dialogue about your experience and symptoms. I will not tell you what to do. Instead, I will offer my expertise and insight to help you discover answers and solutions that work for you. I draw from a wide variety of effective therapeutic techniques, and, using an effective screening tool to measure your progress, we can work together to figure out which strategies best serve you. When appropriate, I offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you shift your thinking and gain greater control over your actions. We may practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises. If unresolved issues from the past appear to be affecting you today, we can focus on healing from lingering trauma. Or, we might apply a little bit of everything. As we work together, I will honor your feedback and adapt to your needs.
I also draw from a deep understanding of how mental illness and physical illness interact. If you are seeking chronic illness counseling, I can help you better understand the relationship between your emotions and your physical symptoms so you can find overall relief. And, because I know how busy New Yorkers are—especially while balancing doctor’s appointments and necessary medical care—I offer evening and weekend sessions so you can take care of yourself without interrupting your life.
No matter what you are going through, you don’t have to do it alone. I invite you to call me at 917-765-4743 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. We can discuss your concerns, and I can answer any questions you have about my counseling services in New York, NY.
Kira Batist-Wigod, LCSW, MPS-H works as a therapist in New York City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from McGill University in Montreal, a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University’s School of Social Work (with a specialty in disability and healthcare) and a master’s degree in professional studies in healthcare interior design from The New York School of Interior Design.