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Why physical therapy? Because I like the hands-on experience with patients, and I like watching my patients’ steady progress and recovery. My parents needed physical therapy a few years ago after they were injured in a car accident. They became very close to their PT, and I became fascinated by the field. Every time he came over for a session, I badgered him with questions.
Living in contemporary society carries with it the burden of reconciling one’s inherited history and tradition with surging advances in how we communicate. It’s a modern, kinetic world with myriad of ancient beliefs and customs. That dichotomy can be a hard thing for a person of faith to balance in their daily life, and members of the Orthodox Jewish community are no exception. Gabriel Hoffnung, a graduate of Touro’s Lander School of Arts & Sciences’ psychology program (and current Yeshiva University Ferkauf student), believes that guidance from therapeutic counseling helps patients live a practical life, as well as one that’s spiritually fulfilling.
Philosophically, root-generating plant stems known as rhizomes are metaphors for how thought and action can spring from unlikely sources and seamlessly intertwine. In that sense, Dr. Chaim Neuhoff’s work as a clinical psychologist and community leader could be described as fundamentally rhizomatic.
Besides interning in the ER department at Downstate Hospital, Nechama shadows a PA. “Watching her diagnose patients, I’m getting an advanced knowledge of the field before I’m actually in it.” But she’s also a medical assistant twice a week at Pediatrics Associates, where she greets patients, takes their vitals and history, and does odds and ends. “Just typing for the doctor lets me learn a tremendous amount about what typical well visits and sick visits are like.”