Elchanan Schwarz: The Journey Towards Recovery

“While we can’t bring life back to the way it was before, we can help the family try to deal with the way life is now.”

January 15, 2016
ELCHANAN SCHWARZ, LMHC: When people have a brain injury, so often the survivor and their families are disoriented. It's a whole new world. What I do is really try and accompany the survivor of brain injury and their families on their journey towards recovery. Holding their hands along the journey of brain injury. We're there for them every step of the way.

Psychology actually means the study of the soul. And my role is really to respond to whatever the emotional needs of the family are at any given time. Brain injury is a tremendous stress on the family. People struggle with it. What does this mean? Why is this happening to me? They often need someone to really listen. Someone who understands-- help them process what's going on, help them sort through their options.

It's amazing sometimes how something small that you do can really make such a difference. And I think that is probably the most important thing. I think I'm able to speak their language. They see someone that they know gets it. There's a sensitivity-- a cultural sensitivity, spiritual sensitivity to what they're dealing with.

Going to Touro, I got the sense that this is not about me. This is not about my career. This is not about just my education. This is about training me to be able to go back into the community and give something to the community. We can't bring back life to the way it was before, but we can try and the family can try and work with them to deal with the way life is now.

“When someone has a brain injury, very often the survivors and their families are disoriented…it’s a whole new world,” begins Elchanan Schwarz, LMHC, a 2010 graduate of Touro's Mental Health Counseling program, now in the Department of Behavioral Science at Touro’s School of Health Sciences.

“It’s a tremendous stress. People struggle—what does this mean, why is this happening to me? And they often need someone to really listen, someone who can understand and help them process what’s going on, someone who can help sort through their options.” 

That’s where Elchanan comes in. 

As the Director of Crisis Intervention and Caregiver Support at BINA Stroke and Brain Injury Assistance, Elchanan accompanies the survivor—and the family—on this tumultuous journey to rehabilitation and recovery.

“I’m there for them, holding their hands, every step of the way. My role is really to respond to whatever emotional needs the family has, at any given time.”

And by receiving his mental-health counseling training from Touro, Elchanan learned the tools he needed to do that. 

This is Elchanan Schwarz’s story.