My name is Claudia Niemtzoff, welcome to my practice.
With a combined experience of more than twenty years, I have worked in the Congo DRC, the United States and Argentina .
I invite you to see my resume for more details.
After having developed a solid clinical practice in such different countries, I learned what is it to live and work as an “expat”. Out of this experience, I propose two dimensions to understand the life of an expat:
The first dimension is the one that applies to any human being. Each of us has existential questions, anxieties and worries, internal conflicts; we need to navigate a world of many intersecting realms: social, romantic, family, work, finances, etc.
The second dimension is the world of living as an “expat”, and what means with its own particular dynamics. Then, new questions may arise, new challenges such as permanent moves, intermittent proximity and distance from loved ones, intense experiences that are difficult to share and understood by non expacts. All of this added complexity that can be sometimes exciting, sometimes traumatic.It is thanks to this expat dimension that we find a new lens through which to resignify our personal history and our place in society.
The diverse professional path as a therapist has led me to become a “seasoned therapist for expats”, as described by the milestones below:
1. Kinshasa, DRC:
Private Practice -- When most of my DC clients decided to “follow” me to Kinshasa via Skype, I opened my online practice. At the same time, in my private practice in Kinshasa, I began to treat a lot of clients, from the UN, the US Embassy, Save the Children, USAID, etc. These “expats” exposed me to a lot of the concepts in their world, such as Third Culture Kids, Trailer Spouse, parenting abroad, culture shock, reverse culture shock, international adoption, intercultural and interracial relationships, divorce abroad, infidelity, sudden evacuation, “go-bag”s, dealing with aging parents from abroad, and many more. Furthermore, those clients continued to move around the world to new posts in Port-au-Prince, Kabul, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Central African Republic or Istanbul. My online and in-person practice have began to interact and overlap, as I may meet clients on Skype, or wherever we may intersect in the world.
2. Washington, DC. United States:
Center for Multicultural Human Services -- My work here exposed me to all kinds of cultures and multiple types of trauma, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, war and torture refugees, and the long term emotional impact of living as an undocumented immigrant. At CMHS, I extended my English to a clinical scope and managed to surpass the language barrier in the therapeutic process.
Private practice -- Through my bilingual private practice, I have gained insight into a cache of cosmopolitan clients work for international organizations such as the IMF,World Bank, IDB, IFC, and many embassies.
OpenMinds LLC -- I developed this personal initiative to be able to continue my community-oriented work in addition to a private practice. OpenMinds allowed me to immerse myself in the world of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and the impact of these traumas on motherhood. I also explored motherhood as a point of inflection and reflection of primary links, and also as an opportunity to make amends. Finally, I honed my skills in psychoeducation through multiple presentations, parenting classes,workshops and seminars.
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Mental Health Center No 3 “Florentino Ameghino- Emergencies team member and coordinator at a Mental Health Center. I developed skills in quick response and diagnosis, most effective in emergency situations