Hershenson, who passed her barre and bar exams, left behind careers in ballet and the law to enter a helping profession.
She’s now a psychotherapist, specializing in treating people with depression, substance abuse problems and eating disorders.
At first a ballerina who trained with the Joffrey Ballet, then an entertainment lawyer who licensed music for use in movies and television, she did some pro bono work for people dealing with substance abuse and decided she “really liked helping people.”
“This is what I’m meant to be doing,” she said.
A licensed social worker in New York State and New Jersey, she took advanced training at Columbia University and the New York-based Institute for the Family. (At Columbia she did research on a form of music therapy she has pioneered, encouraging patients to express their personalities through their choice of music.)
Orthodox, a native of Yonkers and resident of the Upper West Side, she is an active participant in activities of the outreach-oriented Manhattan Jewish Experience, and a volunteer fundraiser for the Nechama Comfort organization, which assists families dealing with miscarriage, stillborn babies or infant loss. She counts several members of the Modern Orthodox community among her clients.
“I’m happily married. I have a career I love,” she said. “I came out the other side.”
She also gives her time to several eating disorder organizations, and to Project Heal, which raises money for people with eating disorders who cannot afford to pay for treatment.
For her own sake, she does yoga and meditation and journaling.
Without offering details beyond the “pressure” that a professional ballerina experiences, Hershenson said she earlier in her life faced many of the issues that challenge her clients. “I’m happily married. I have a career I love,” she said. “I came out the other side.”
Game show glory: Hershenson competed on the syndicated “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” TV program, hosted by Meredith Viera, in 2006. “I did very well,” she said, declining to state how much she won. Stumped by a question about Barbara Walters’ interviews, she fell short of the million-dollar mark. “I didn’t have a clue” about the correct answer, she said. “I took the money and walked.”