Dr. Kalayjian our founder
For two-and-a-half decades, Dr. Ani Kalayjian has been on a journey of healing through forgiveness and meaning. She has devoted her life to studying the impact of trauma, and helping others heal so that they can reach a state of wholeness. “The terror from the sights and sounds of bombs, the loss of homes, possessions, routines, and stability; the experience of seeing their parents crying, fearful, and in anguish — all these will likely last a lifetime for the Iraqi children,” Kalayjian said of the current war. “And the effects of this war will continue for many generations.”
Kalayjian’s parents were survivors of the 1915 Ottoman Turkish Genocide of the Armenians which wiped out two-thirds of the Armenian people. Dr. Kalayjian grew up experiencing the effects of trauma through her parents’ suffering, and that trauma became hers.
Kalayjian’s parents were always in pain, even after moving to the United States. It was not until after she started her research on the effects of trauma that she discovered what her grandparents endured during the genocide. Although Dr. Kalayjian’s parents tried to ‘spare’ the family by maintaining silence, she still felt their pain.
As a child she didn’t know what was wrong or how to process it. Ultimately, she processed it through her work. She became a Psychiatric nurse and teacher, then psychologist, international researcher and devoted her life to helping survivors of natural and man made disasters.
Dr. Ani Kalayjian is a graduate of Long Island University (LIU) with a Masters and Doctor of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. As a pioneering therapist, educator, director and author, she has devoted her life to bringing healing to those who have survived the devastation of disaster, whether man-made or natural.
Trauma Expert & Author
Organization Founder & Co-founder
Trauma Expert & Author
Ani Kalayjian is an internationally recognized expert on the psychological effects of trauma in disaster victims, and the author of the authoritative handbook, Disaster & Mass Trauma: Global Perspectives in Post Disaster Mental Health Management. She has worked extensively with veterans of the Gulf and Vietnam wars, with survivors of the Holocaust and Ottoman-Turkish Genocide of the Armenians, and with survivors of earthquakes and hurricanes. From 1988 to 2006 she went to Armenia, California, Cyprus, Florida, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Turkey to assist health professionals treating trauma cases after natural and human made disasters and to train psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners in post-trauma therapeutic interventions. With compassion, she has dared to confront the incomprehensible, giving us hope that those who have been damaged can one day be made whole. More important, her ultimate vision is that through peaceful resolution, man’s injustice to man will be prevented altogether.
Dr. Kalayjian travels around the world lecturing on sociopolitical violence and the psychosocial and spiritual effects of trauma, as well as on avoiding such trauma through conflict resolution and peace education.
She has private psychotherapeutic practices in Manhattan and Cliffside Park, New Jersey, where she resides, and is an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Fordham University.
CLINICAL INDEPENDENT Practices: In New York and New Jersey
Dr. Kalayjian’s Clinical Specialties include:
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- EMF Certification
- Red Cross Certification in Disaster Mental Health Management
- Mind-body-spirit holistic therapy integrating physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual therapies (e.g The bio-Psychosocial and Spiritual model which comprises a series of consecutive six steps through which various aspects of traumatic exposure are assessed, identified, explored, and worked through.)
- American Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
- American Board Certified in Emergency Crisis Response
- Nutritional counseling, weight reduction
- Flower essence remedies
EMDR – is a therapeutic technique in which the patient moves his or her eyes back and forth, hither and thither, while concentrating on “the problem.” The therapist waves a stick or light in front of the patient and the patient is supposed to follow the moving stick or light with his or her eyes. The therapy was discovered by therapist Dr. Francine Shapiro while on a walk in the park. (Her doctorate was earned at the now defunct and never accredited Professional School of Psychological Studies. Her undergraduate degree is in English literature. It is claimed that EMDR can “help” with “phobias, generalized anxiety, paranoid schizophrenia, learning disabilities, eating disorders, substance abuse, and even pathological jealousy” (Lilienfeld 1996), but its main application has been in the treatment of post traumatic stress
Logotherapy – is a form of psychotherapy, individual or group, wherein the focus is place on meanings instead of feelings as a means of understand resolving conflicts and emotional difficulties. This form of psychotherapy was introduced by Viktor Frankl (1969). Logotherapy is the third Viennese School of psychotherapy, the predecessors being the Freudians and Adlerian Schools. In Logotherapy or existential analysis, the human will to meaning is the core for most human behavior.
Psychotherapy – means a specialized formal interaction between a mental health practitioner and a client in which a therapeutic relationship is established to help to resolve symptoms of mental disorder, psychosocial stress, relationship problems and difficulties in coping in the social environment. Some specific types of psychotherapy may include, but are not limited to, psychoanalysis, family therapy, group psychotherapy, supportive treatment, gestalt therapy, experiential therapy, primal therapy, psychosocial therapy, psychodrama, behavioral therapy, and cognitive therapy.
Trauma PTSD assessment – According to the DSM-IV (1994), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (309.81) is categorized amongst anxiety disorders and it has the following six categories:
- The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
- The person has experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
- The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror. Note: In children, it may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.
- The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one or more of the following ways:
- Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts or perceptions.
- The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one or more of the following ways: Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
- Recurrent, distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.
Types of clients:
- Groups and Communities
Organization Founder & Co-Founder
Ani has many leadership positions: founder and president of the Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention (ATOP), formerly known as the Association for Disaster and Mass Trauma Studies and the New York State Psychological Association’s Academic Division (2001-2002). As Vice Chair of the United Nations Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Executive Committee, she coordinated a workshop during the annual I NGO conference at the UN here in New York City, on the theme “Rebuilding Societies Emerging from conflict.” Her workshop “Transforming Terror into Healing,” focused on ways to promote long term community recovery and healing after mass trauma. Effective practice was shared from dialogue between Jews and Germans, Palestinians and Israelis, and Armenians and Turks – this latter group facilitated by Ani herself who believes that the descendants of perpetrators are just as much Victims as the descendants of the victims. Dr. Kalayjian also founded the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress & Genocide (AASSSG) , cofounded the World Wide Network for Gender Empowerment (WNGE) and the Armenian Turkish Art Exhibit.
She also serves on the Boards of several organizations including: The Global Society for Nursing and Health, the New York State Psychological Association, Academic Division all in addition to her involvement at the UN where she organizes or co-organizes over 25 conferences every year.
Dr. Kalayjian has been involved at the UN since 1990, as a Representative for the World Federation for Mental Health (till January 2006). Currently, she is representing the Armenian International Women’s Association and a UN representative with FEMVISION as well as representing the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA). Dr. Kalayjian also serves as a member of the UNICEF Committee on the Rights of the Child, and as a member of the UN NGO Mental Health Committee. She was an official delegate to the World Conference of Women in Beijing, China. There, she presented several papers on the psychological impact of mass trauma.