Orthodox Jews and Psychology
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- This topic has 96 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 4 months ago by pcoz.
September 17, 2014 4:24 am at 4:24 am #613703
I’m kind of new to the coffee room, although I have posted in the past. I am a student in psychology, and was wondering about the typical views that orthodox Jews have of psychology. I am curious what folks in the coffee room have to say about therapy (any kind, like CBT or psychodynamic), and medications (SSRIs, MAOs, Tricyclics…).
I have a feeling that many here in the coffee room are uncomfortable with therapy and/or medications. I am interested in if you are opposed to such treatments, and why you feel as such.
Personally, I feel that there is much to gain from therapies like CBT and Antidepressants. I think there is ample scientific evidence for both. Do others feel otherwise?
Matan1September 17, 2014 5:14 am at 5:14 am #1121008
Waiting for popa to say CBT is naarishkeit…
Kind of welcome. 🙂September 17, 2014 7:40 am at 7:40 am #1121009frumnotyeshivishParticipant
I think very few, here or anywhere, would say that it can’t work. I think the big questions are 1. are they necessary to solve the problem and 2. how likely are they to solve the problem vs. other methods.
Unlike the science of medicine generally, psychology does not lend itself to hard rules well. Too many variables, choices, and each mind is unique in some way. Also, far too often, people in this field try to either subtly or overtly deny or minimize the idea of free choice. This makes me wary, as IMHO this is the worst and most depressing form of kefira that exists.
Bottom line: all methods must be on the table. Knowledgeable people should be consulted before embarking on a journey, particularly one that is long-term and/or changes brain chemistry. This includes experts on morality and free choice as well as experts in psychology.September 17, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am #1121010business1Participant
Can I ask you how many years of schooling is needed to get a masters in psychology? How about to get a phD?September 17, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm #1121011
DY told me that CBT is naarishkeiten.
DY says it stands for Coolaid Based Therapy.September 17, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm #1121012
I get sickened by the implications that connect psychology with kefira. This may sound radical, but I know some Kollel Yungerleit, even some who occupy rabbinical positions of leadership whose emunoh in HKB”H is seriously lacking if not corrupt. The reality is that these dismissals as kefira are somewhere between absurd and ridiculous. Anyone can be a kofer, and their choice career or profession has nothing to do with it.
The fields of mental health involve a wide spectrum of approaches. These stretch from the strictly Freudian approach to the most behavioral, from the uses of medications to various forms of emotional and cognitive therapies. In formal training, there is background taught in a variety of these, and the student is exposed to multiple techniques. As in anything else, people learn certain parts of the science with greater preference, and specialties in the practice of psychology exist just as would be found in auto mechanics, computer programming, law, and medicine. If someone lacks the recognition of the spectrum of the field, and believes his/her specialty is all that exists, we are dealing with a fool, not a kofer. If a doctor fails to recognize an ailment that is outside his/her specialty, than we are dealing with someone lacking competence, not faith.
It is true that the psychologist, just like a doctor, and just like any other worker, needs to know that the outcomes are dependent on Syatta Dishmaya, and to whatever degree relevant, the bechira of the “patient” to follow instructions. HKB”H is “Rofeh Cholei Amo Yisroel”. Health practitioners are only shluchim of HKB”H to carry out His refuah through application of “tevah”. The denier of HKB”H as the actual healer is kefira. But that can refer to the patient or the observer, not just the therapist.
Please don’t get sucked into the baloney that psychology is kefira. It is not so anymore than practice of medicine.
Lastly, it is necessary to comment on a common mistake that is often a fatal error. With all the regard we need to have for “Daas Torah”, it is not a guarantee that consulting a Rov or Rosh Yeshiva about an issue related to mental health is useful. If that person happens to be informed on the subject matter, or can consult with a Torah knowledgeable professional to get informed, that may be great. But too many casualties have happened from the well intentioned advice given by rabbonim who did not understand the subject matter.September 17, 2014 2:38 pm at 2:38 pm #1121013
I have also studied some parts of psychology. I do admit that whilst some of it (evolution and our ‘likeliness to other species’ etc) is apikorsus I do believe strongly in CBT and other types of therapy.
There is absolutely no kefira in CBT, it is a talking therapy in which patients are able to identify why and where their behaviour is the way it is. It looks at the way a person sees a situation and how that affects the way they react towards it.
I think that therapy is a very taboo subject as in some of frum environments especially with regards to shidduchim it is seen as a stigma.
However if I had a child reaching shidduchim age and had something wrong or needed a certain behaviour corrected as it would later on affect his/her relationships with others I would suggest a therapist. We all worry too much what others will say and that often becomes a hindrance on a person’s life. One always has to think what is best for me and my circumstance rather than thinking what will ‘yenna’ say.
I’ve got loads to say on this because I can’t stand to see other Yidden suffer because they are too proud to speak out when they need help!!!
Maybe we should open a new thread??!!!September 17, 2014 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #1121015
You wrote, ” I do admit that whilst some of it (evolution and our ‘likeliness to other species’ etc) is apikorsus…”
I must correct you. This line is common. It repeated often enough that it gets its credibility from its frequency, not from fact.
Evolution is not kefira. (No, I’m not a student of Slifkin.) It is pseudo-science that is ridiculous. I would not apply the dignity of kefira to evolution. That would imply that it is a sound theory with factual basis, which it is not.
“Likeness to other species” is certainly not kefira, and the Gemora is replete with the drawing of similarities. Shlomo Hamelech tells us to learn certain midos from various animal species. The Gemora also describes three ways in which humans resemble angels and three ways in which humans resemble animals. The works of Mussar and Chassidus address the concept of “nefesh habehamis”, a reference to the “animal soul” that is part of human composition. This label of kefira is being used almost randomly, and this is not appropriate.
You are correct in noting that therapy is grossly misunderstood, and thus not appropriately recognized. The stigma is misapplied and injurious.September 17, 2014 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #1121016
No, no, it stands for Cholent Beans Treatment. It is very effective at curing all ailments.
If you consult me, I will find out the TRUE source of your ailments, and solve it with CBT.September 17, 2014 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #1121017
PBA – don’t be cynicial about these types of things because you increase the stigma and the avoidance for people who need it. people who need therapy create all sorts of excuses why they don’t think they do!!! your mocking just makes it worse!September 17, 2014 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #1121018
Cold Beer Therapy is even more effective.September 17, 2014 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1121019
You wrote, “tlik- and have you yet counted how many casualties have happened from the well intentioned (or not well intentioned) advice given by psychologists and other mental health personnel who did not understand the subject matter? many many more than the casualties that you refer to.”
There are several errors in your thinking here. Let me enumerate some of them.
1 – Advice. The traditional mental health practitioner, with few exceptions, is not an advisor. In fact, giving advice is taboo to most schools of mental health, as the goal is to assist the client in understanding the choices they need to make for their benefit. Direct advice is occasionally given, but this is limited to very specific things.
2 – Who did not understand the subject matter. There are doctors who should never have patients outside of cadavers. There are mechanics who should only fix obsolete gadgets that will never be relied upon. Aside from the fact that no field of service is not without its idiots, mental health is subject to another form of limits. Therapy is not surgery. The client is the effective individual in virtually every single bit of change. It requires the mobilization of internal resources to effect the modification of behavior, the working through of emotions, and all the rest of what clients in therapy must undergo. Even the physician prescribing medication cannot bring about change when the patient must fill the prescription and take it as directed. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made. Overwhelmingly, the failures belong to the client that neglects to take the direction of the professional. Often times the shidduch between the client and therapist is off target.
3 – I’d like to know the source of your information about the greater number of casualties from professionals. The therapists I know have been complaining for years about the bulk of their caseloads coming from the casualties of rabbonim and similar rabbinical persons. In fact, rabbonim have complained to the major organizations in the frum community that they have little problem conducting the affairs of the Moroh D’asra of saying shiurim, appearing and speaking at the simchos of congregants, and other communal events and functions. However, they are overwhelmed at the bludgeoning confrontation with personal problems in their kehilos for which they are not prepared with knowledge or skills.September 17, 2014 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1121020
Popa, why are you so critical of CBT?September 17, 2014 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #1121022
Psychology is just the science of individual behavior, so if you think that science is kefira you would think that psychology is kefira, but the idea that science is kefira is not one that Chazal would have accepted. Like any other science the knowledge can be used for good and for bad.September 17, 2014 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #1121024
“I am curious what folks in the coffee room have to say about therapy (any kind, like CBT or psychodynamic), and medications (SSRIs, MAOs, Tricyclics…).”
Therapy and psychoactive medications have allowed many to live normal lives who had not been able to beforehand. I can’t see why this would be a problem for any frum Jew, or for anyone else. Be careful as there is a non-Jewish religious cult called Scientology that has been campaigning against therapy and medications for a long time and has poisoned the minds of many.September 17, 2014 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #1121025
“Unlike the science of medicine generally, psychology does not lend itself to hard rules well.”
As someone who has written dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers analyzing data from psychological studies, I have to say that you are wrong. Measurements of behavior are often as reliable as any other in medicine, and observable behavioral measures are now correlated with biomarkers from things like brain images. This has been seen in many studies, from with memory and behavioral changes in elderly persons developing dementia to biological changes in person suffering from traumatic stress (including holocaust survivors).September 17, 2014 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #1121026
PBA – don’t be cynicial about these types of things because you increase the stigma and the avoidance for people who need it. people who need therapy create all sorts of excuses why they don’t think they do!!! your mocking just makes it worse!
I am a big fan of therapy. I just think CBT is hogwash.
Popa, why are you so critical of CBT?
Because I think it is hogwash.
To respond to your follow up “why is it hogwash,” please see my published works. You might try googling: Yeshiva world Popa_bar_abba CBTSeptember 17, 2014 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1121027
Maybe we should open a new thread??!!!September 17, 2014 5:45 pm at 5:45 pm #1121028
I have a feeling that many here in the coffee room are uncomfortable with therapy and/or medications.
I would be uncomfortable seeing or recommending a therapist who makes such assumptions. Because this is a frum forum we must all be uncomfortable with therapy or meds? That is somewhat a ‘dark ages’ attitude toward the frum community that will not help you in your practice. Although there are certain groups of people/communities who seem to avoid intervention, generalizing these attitudes to frum Jews across the globe would be an injustice.September 17, 2014 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #1121029
To respond to your follow up “why is it hogwash,” please see my published works. You might try googling: Yeshiva world Popa_bar_abba CBT
is that the one where you rant and rave against CBT and then at the end you realize that you really had no clue what it is or how it works? Cuz that’s how I remember it.September 17, 2014 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #1121030
Syag, I meant no offense. It was just a feeling I had. I hope that I am wrong about it.September 17, 2014 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #1121031
Popa, I hate to sound rude but you are flat out wrong about CBT. There is a tremendous amount of evidence on its efficacy. It has been shown in countless studies that it works to treat cases of depression, anxiety disorders, ptsd, and other mental illnesses.
By expressing the view that CBT does’t work, you are steering people away from a treatment that can really help them. It is more than being wrong. It’s actually causing harm.September 17, 2014 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #1121032
is that the one where you rant and rave against CBT and then at the end you realize that you really had no clue what it is or how it works? Cuz that’s how I remember it.
At least, I’m certainly the only one on the CR who has ever conceded something. So if you remember someone conceding, it was me.September 17, 2014 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #1121033golferParticipant
Syag L, +1 on your first post above.
As for your second post, never mind, I think popa & co are just trying to get a laugh out of us.
And while cholent beans and cold beer may be a poisonous combination, a good laugh, as has been scientifically documented, is beneficial to both our emotional and physiological health.September 17, 2014 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #1121034
PBA – have you or anyone you know ever tried out CBT? because if you don’t know anything about it you can’t comment!!! googling it doesn’t quite have the same affect!
oh and DY that thread is old but thanks…September 17, 2014 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm #1121035
Here is where popa conceded the utility of CBT:
http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/cbt/page/2#post-506762September 17, 2014 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #1121036
I’m certainly the only one on the CR who has ever conceded something.
Well, considering how often you’re wrong, that would make sense.September 17, 2014 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1121037
Matan – whether or not I was offended isn’t the point. My point was that I think that having that stereotypical and grossly incorrect viewpoint, would be detrimental to your treatment. I would not feel comfortable being treated by someone who is expecting all “frum people” to follow in the ways of the overexposed subjects of some mishpacha and binah articles. And maybe a yated or two.September 17, 2014 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #1121038
Syag, I’m not saying that is the view of the Jewish community, or that I believe it. I’m glad to see that many believe in the efficacy of psychology and medication.September 17, 2014 7:33 pm at 7:33 pm #1121039
Popa, what kind of therapy do you think is good?September 17, 2014 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #1121040
Old fashioned psychodynamic therapy. The kind the CBT practicioners make fun of, but then avail themselves of when they want therapy themselves.
Syag: I’ll examine the mareh makom DY posted and see what I concede.September 17, 2014 8:38 pm at 8:38 pm #1121041
Alright, why do you feel that it is a better therapy than CBT?September 17, 2014 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #1121042
PBA – are you just trying to annoy everyone? is that your motive??
Let me just say something, knowing a bit about therapists and therapy i want to tell you that a GOOD CBT therapist and i reiterate GOOD, would refer their client on to someone such as a psychoanalyst or psychiatrist if they felt that CBT wasn’t enough for their client and if by going deep back into a clients childhood would help them uncover why their behaviours are the way they are now..
I am not saying CBT works for everyone but you cannot say its shtusim either!!!!!September 17, 2014 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #1121043
Haven’t we been through this before?September 17, 2014 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #1121044
Marganisa b’yadei (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/cbt/page/2#post-506571)
Yahivna lei chaspah? (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/cbt/page/2#post-506762)September 17, 2014 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #1121045
Syag: I’ll examine the mareh makom DY posted and see what I concede.
dont bother, that link was meaningless. read the thread, you’ll find it.September 17, 2014 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #1121046
Oops, sorry for quoting your “chaspa”.
Actually, I would have quoted your marganisa, but I’m trying to stay away from trans-fats.September 17, 2014 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #1121047
Matan1:taken from page three of the CBT thread
Can the moderators close this thread? Only harm can come from this discussion. A person should seek mental health advice from a trained psychologist, and only a trained psychologist. To argue back and forth on this website is pointless, especially since most of the posters here (my self included) have no formal training in psychotherapy. The only thing that
Posted 8 months ago #
I’m kind of new to the coffee room, although I have posted in the past. I am a student in psychology, and was wondering about the typical views that orthodox Jews have of psychology. I am curious what folks in the coffee room have to say about therapy (any kind, like CBT or psychodynamic),
. . .
Posted 17 hours ago #
i think you are either a troll, or a friend of popasSeptember 17, 2014 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1121048
I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive.September 17, 2014 9:48 pm at 9:48 pm #1121049
I recently started my training. What’s the question?September 17, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #1121051👑RebYidd23Participant
Psychiatrists are more likely than any other profession to abuse their power,September 17, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #1121052
And this marganisa http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/cbt/page/3#post-506805September 17, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm #1121053
I’m partial to the post before that one.
Anyhow, I though we were doing posts in which you conceded the value of CBT. If we’re doing stam popa marganisas, we can start with your profile and work our way through.September 18, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am #1121054
For all those who hate on CBT, why do you feel this way? Did you have a negative experience in CBT?September 18, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am #1121055
I was looking at marganisa’s on that thread. Saying if you are going to cite that thread, you could do better.September 18, 2014 12:40 am at 12:40 am #1121056
There’s always room for improvement.September 18, 2014 1:02 am at 1:02 am #1121057
What exactly are you guys talking about?September 18, 2014 1:15 am at 1:15 am #1121058👑RebYidd23Participant
SSRIs.September 18, 2014 3:48 am at 3:48 am #1121059
What about SSRIs?September 18, 2014 4:10 am at 4:10 am #1121061
SSRI stands for “several seriously retarded items”.
In popa’s case, this is a compliment (we’re talking about popa’s witty posts).
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