Mental Health and Judaism

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    I’m going to ignore whatever Neville says because it is obvious he has little to no education in the background of psychology.


    : You are absolutely right. Most cases of PTSD are preventable.



    That, is how most cases of PTSD can be prevented.


    “The human brain is not designed to take a life without some form of consequence. There is a reason why the homicide, suicide, divorce and addiction rates among police officers especially, are so high.”

    Having never been in the situation I obviously can’t speak definitively but I will disagree anyway.
    Our Torah mandates numerous times that we are required to kill. It goes so far as requiring citizens to carry out death sentences. Hashem wouldn’t do that if it was harmful.
    I will posit that the difference is mental preparation. A frum yid who has years of halachic training and a deep understanding of the idea that we should hate and thus remove evil from the world, is far better prepared to kill when necessary.
    In other words if you see war as a mitzvah it shouldn’t create PTSD.


    As for the field of mental health I think we need to be cautious and acknowledge some problems.
    One. The profession is subject to political pressure.
    The best current example is gender dysmorphia which until recently was a disease but now considered a choice to change your gender.
    Two . Many in the field went in to the field to find themselves (ie they have their own issues). I saw this when I went through my divorce. Being forced to get numerous psychological opinions, with numerous contradictory evaluations and approaches I realized that you can’t teach common sense. Which is why I would take the opinion of a good Rav over a psychologist any day.
    Out of my experience during my divorce of meeting with a dozen mental health “experts” there are only TWO from that dozen that I have recommended to others in the same situation.


    @rebyid23 How exactly? you think people want to be traumatized?!


    To Laskern

    Interesting point you bring up… but not all teachers are like that rebbe BUT…
    My children attended a school while we were going through some very difficult things as a family. Because of the importance and unfortunately trauma of these issues, the school had to be aware of what was going on, and so were the teachers. These issues went on for several years, but, we insisted and instructed each and every teacher that the expectation of the child should not, under ANY circumstances be lowered. In spite of what we as a family were dealing with, our children had a tremendous amount of love, support and stability, and the children received mental health assistance as well. They had a solid and warm support system.

    In spite of that, several of my eldest child’s teachers told us that they were treating our child differently, because they had sympathy for the situation and did not want to put added stress or pressure on the child. Thus, they significantly lowered their expectations, causing the child abject misery for the remainder of their educational career

    Another child, who happens to have special needs was placed in the mainstream class with the rest of their classmates. Unfortunately, the city that we were living in, did not (at that time) have any “official” services for students with this child’s type of need (long story). So, the child received an “aide” to assist them with their studies.
    The “aide” was a newly married, fresh faced from Israel individual who knew virtually nothing about education short of what they had seen when they were in school. Ironically, I was this individual’s teacher for one year, during my extremely long educational career before I switched careers. Throughout the school year, I would receive several disrespectful emails (maybe got three over the course of the year) from the “aide” regarding my child’s actions and education, progress or lack thereof and so on. The emails were short, did not address any true nor accurate information, and essentially stated that my child would never succeed and the aide did not know why they were wasting their time.

    This was not ONE email. This was the tone of EVERY email. In response, I very civilly sent back curt, but kind emails thanking this “aide” for all they did… whatever that was. My child LOVED this aide. I suspect it was because the aide did not require anything from my child, and left my child to their own devices. For my child, it was books and reading.. so, that’s what they did, all during class, all during recess, they never went outside and played, did not play during gym, did not play with other children, did nothing but read for an entire year. This, as you can imagine, thrilled and delighted me, but unfortunately, I was extremely limited in how I could handle the situation.

    At the end of the school year I contacted this aide and had a frank conversation with them. I asked the aide if they LIKED my child.
    Of course, the immediate response was yes.
    I then asked about the emails, the few and far between once, and the tone within. From this aide, whom I had taught well over 20 years before when they were in 2nd grade, had the nerve to say to me “Parents have to respect me. It is not my job to contact parents, if they need something, they have to contact me. You should feel lucky I sent you anything at all” I will respect YWN by NOT repeating what I said to the aide after that.
    Then I asked the aide again, if they LIKED my child. Again, the immediate response was yes. I responded with the following (and this is actually the point of my story).
    “All teachers will not like all their students. I am well aware that you do not like my child. The tones of your email and your disrespectful attitude throughout this conversation clearly reflect that. It is OK for a teacher not to like a child It is something that happens, and you are NOT going to like every child that comes your way. I KNOW you don’t like my child, and that’s OK. What is NEVER OK is for either the parents OR the child to EVER know that you do not like them. EVER.”

    Children with special needs or labels frequently have lower expectations required of them, and are often the target of bullies in school. It’s sad that some of those bullies are the adults.


    Gee whiz, if the outcome of shteiging in yeshiva in America is that the boys are fully emotionally equipped to kill, I suggest closing all the yeshivas. I cannot speak for the esteemed PuhLease, but I suggest he ignore the comments of those who have little to no knowledge of psychology, including the comment to which I am referring.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Rational- that wasn’t what he meant, and it wasn’t even what he said. And additionally I don’t think he was disagreeing with her. PuhLease explained the are consequences and alluded to (or stated?) the need for emotional support. Mentch presents the point that someone highly connected to Torah values can derive that emotional support from there.
    Again, the word was consequences.


    1. To Mentsch1
    Going through my divorce I also came to STRONGLY realize that many “ravs” are pressured to and often do succumb to the political and financial pressures of making sure that they do not “offend” the wallet to which they are succumbing. Granted, this occurs more often in smaller towns and cities, but not everyone has the luxury of nebach living in NYC or Lakeood Eyr Hakodesh (please note the extreme sarcasm which I have added for my own entertainment). A respected, educated,good, honest, ethical rav is hard to find. So is a respected, educated good, honest, ethical mental health provider. For the record, you can find a respected, good therapist or psychologist that is female, you will be hard pressed to find a respected female “rav”. There is an ENTIRE gender out there that is overlooked when it comes to needing certain things. During the years I was single, married, divorced, etc., I came across a significant number of women who simply were not comfortable talking to a male rav. And why should she? Her entire childhood was structured so that she was kept away from boys, sex and boys were considered taboo subjects. They were never discussed. And then, one day, she turns 18 and suddenly, she’s dating for about 4 minutes, she still knows nothing about the opposite gender, and she’s thrown into the role of wife. She is never taught about how to communicate with the opposite gender, she is likely never going to be comfortable speaking to a rav in private as he is not her husband (whom she barely knows anyhow).. and I am barely scratching the surface.
    Boys are the same way BTW. They essentially talk to their shtender for 18 years, and the shtender never talks back. Then he gets married after 20 minutes of knowing this foreign person… and OMG, she talks back! He has no idea how to talk to her, he has no idea how to communicate with each other.
    This is so irresponsible I can’t even begin to describe the number of problems it has caused within communities.

    Oh, and BTW, I will work with almost anyone. I have worked with children, adults, and almost every felon population known to man. I have worked with law enforcement officers primarily for the past 10 years (almost). I work with sex offenders, murderers, drug dealers and gang bangers. But I REFUSE to do marriage counseling. It is my personal belief that marriage counseling causes more harm than good, and I believe that to be true regardless of whether it’s a good rav or a good psychologist. Every individual who does counseling makes mistakes, we all do.

    However, I will tell you this. ANY PERSON who carries a weapon that kills in today’s world HAS to be fully prepared for the chance that they will take a life. Perhaps in the times of the Beis Hamikdash mental status was different. But in today’s world, even drawing one’s weapon against another person has an irreversible impact on a person. And, as a former law enforcement officer, though my time on the job was short, the concept that I may have had to take a human life was NOT an easy one to swallow. God may be infallible, but he made HUMANS fallible. Yes, he created us, but he also created mental and physical illnesses that cause harm to us. If God created us to be without harm, why would He have created the things that cause harm? It is contradictory.

    I will say this. I HAVE been in that situation… and it creates something in my mind, that demon, or ghost, or memory (everyone has different words for it) comes to visit at night when I sleep. And many times, it’s not worth it to go to sleep knowing the terrors that visit when my eyes close. And that doesn’t include the night terrors from the years of abuse at the hands of family… trauma does terrible things to the brain.
    Because of MY personal experiences, I would trust a good PERSON, regardless if they are a rav or a psychologist, any day.

    Second, with regards to diseases and disorders now being created by the APA… well, I can’t argue with you about that. I happen to agree with you. I believe this latest gender dysmorphia to be complete garbage. There are two genders, not 12 or 16 or whatever number they have now come up with. Just because a person identifies as a penguin does not mean he is a penguin. And I understand that basic halachah doesn’t change, but with the advancement of technology, certain halachos have to either be adapted, or adopted
    (how would a religious astronaut keep shabbos on board the shuttle?)

    But enough of me rambling… These are topics I could talk about forever…

    with respect to @Rational
    I can generally tell when a person is being something akin to a donkey… and I either play with them merely because I am entertained (I have been told numerous times to stop playing with my food), or I ignore them, because they aren’t worth the energy. But, thank you 🙂


    Actually, I know that @Rational was speaking tongue in cheek, and thought it was rather amusing… but..then again, weird things tend to entertain me.


    Andrethegiant, many types of trauma can be prevented or minimized. Measures to prevent abuse can keep it from happening. Also, though PTSD was once commonly believed to happen mainly from a single traumatic incident, it has become more apparent that it can also result from prolonged exposure to a traumatic situation, such as ongoing harassment, in which case it can be prevented by taking the person out of the situation instead of telling them to tough it out.


    The Torah doesn’t say that one doesn’t get PTSD after killing in self defense.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    PuhLease – you have obviously been through so much as an adult, and from what I remember you had been thru too much as a child as well. I must agree with most of everything you have posted, and thank you for writing it so well. I do feel a need to say that while there are both corrupt and easily swayed people in all “professions”, I don’t think it is fair to say “many ravs” are that way. And if you have encountered enough of them to get that feeling, then I really am sorry. That makes healing and moving forward very hard.


    No. We are supposed to do it; we aren’t supposed to be unaffected. Killing someone in self defense is like cutting off one’s arm in order to save one’s life. It’s the right thing to do, but it still causes permanent damage.


    You are obviously educated, which is great to have an intelligent conversation, debate or dialog with.

    The Torah also (as far as I can recall) does not state that one does NOT get PTSD or any other challenges, after killing EVEN if doing so because G-d said to do it. Being unaffected by killing a human, is a sign of something else entirely.

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