Who Was Diruhi?
Diruhi S. Matevosian Nalbandian (later Mattian) was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1953. She graduated from the Romance and Germanic Philology Department of Moscow State University. She also conducted research toward a PhD in Neurolinguistics and published several articles relating to the field. She moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1989 with her husband and two young daughters and earned her second Masters degree, this time in social work from Simmons College, one of America’s top social work programs. She became a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and began working at McLean Hospital, a top psychiatric hospital in Boston that is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals for mental health care and research within the United States. After her career at McLean, she began working for Family Continuity Programs (FCP), where she became a director in 2001. Parallel to her time at FCP, she was also able to open a private practice and worked in several other mental health facilities as a psychotherapist.
Diruhi was well respected for her work with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. She specialized in treating psychological trauma, mood disorders, depression, anxiety spectrum disorders (panic disorders, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder) and used numerous treatment approaches including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems Model (IFS), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).
Diruhi was a source of inspiration and strength not only to her family, but also to her colleagues and all those whose lives she touched. She was a woman of uncommon valour and strength of character, fiercely combating the forces of darkness in the lives of those suffering from mental illness, trauma and clinical depression. She was deeply committed to her mission of helping at risk youth and their families. Her friends, family, colleagues and patients remember her as kind, compassionate, deeply faithful and nurturing – a consummate mother, gentle yet determined; a woman dedicated to her family and her profession, both of which she took very seriously.
Her life was cut short on February 6th 2008 when a terrible incident took place with one of her patients. Though the circumstances of her death were incredibly tragic, we aim to look forward and keep her mission and vision alive for families and youth around the world, particularly in her homeland, Armenia.