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Nancy Wender,  LCSW

Therapy for apexart Residents/Fellows

In addition to her private practice, Ms. Wender provides psychotherapy, pro bono, for the inbound Fellows participating in the apexart residency program in NYC (  The 24 Fellows to date have hailed from 20 countries and spent one month as part of apex’s cultural immersion program.  During their month here, they each met with Ms. Wender for three (later expanded to four) therapy sessions.  The Fellows, all over the age of 30, have come to New York for the first time.  They were not permitted to work on their own artistic projects, taking them out of their comfort zone, but rather they were here to experience a new culture.  They dealt with the confusion and loneliness of navigating the streets of New York alone, met with people in different areas of expertise, missed their families, considered their life’s direction and uncovered new concerns and thoughts.  Being able to talk about these and other issues has anchored them, giving them confidence and a valuable bridge between New York and their families and their lives at home.

An important element in the work together was dealing with the cultural biases regarding therapy.  Nine Fellows to date have sought therapy for some reason in their home countries.  Others had a close member of their family working in the field as either a psychologist or psychiatrist.  In other cases, therapy was not available in their culture, or a Fellow had a bias against seeing a therapist, based on preconceived notions derived from the media.  Culturally they may have been taught not to discuss their emotional issues with someone other than family, if at all.  Occasionally, the culture has accepted and promoted the value of therapy, making communication in a therapy setting more comfortable and natural.  Language facility was an important factor, as dealing with English for some was quite challenging.  Working with these variables and finding a common language were instrumental to therapy’s efficacy.

While the Fellows profited by this effort, Ms. Wender experienced the satisfaction of helping, learning about new cultures, and ultimately, reinforcing her belief that we all have many things in common and want the same things in life.  Several of the Fellows have maintained contact with Ms. Wender once they’ve returned to their home countries.  The effects of the residency on their lives will only be felt over time, when they can reflect on and analyze the benefits gained by their time here.  They are encouraged to reach out should they want to process these changes.

Ms. Wender wrote the following essay on the Fellowship program for the upcoming apexart book.

Psychotherapy and the Fellowship Program