May 1, 2023 1:30 am at 1:30 am #2185710
Wondering if anyone knows of a chesed organization or non profit that provides professional help (marriage therapy and some life coaching) for free or heavily discounted for those that need that.
I know it’s a long shot and aware that these things usually cost a nice amount of money but figured I’ll try…
I’m soon gonna be leaving my current job and hopefully moving on to a different job (currently learning another profession) but there might be some time between jobs and it would be too risky to use my savings for this when I might have to live off those savings for a few months…
Definitely need lots of help with marriage and can use a life coach to get some aspects in my life fixed up…May 1, 2023 7:24 am at 7:24 am #2185723commonsaychelParticipant
Looking for someone who can do Root Canal and also a podiatrist who can handle infected ingrown toenails.May 1, 2023 8:05 am at 8:05 am #2185744
Miriam Yerushalmi runs a network of volunteers for exactly what you need called S.A.N.E. Save a Neshama endowmentMay 1, 2023 8:20 am at 8:20 am #2185749ZetruthParticipant
Common sahel: what a condescending comment, it takes a lot of courage to ask for help and to acknowledge this need. @rebsteve , in what area are you in? I’m sure many people will be able to refer you to the right place and for what you are asking for! Beatslacha!May 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185784MosheBreuerParticipant
I offer life coaching free of charge or donation based
You can reach me at [email protected]May 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185785MosheBreuerParticipant
I know of a person how offers life coaching free of charge or donation based
I can be reached at [email protected]May 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185790
C’mon dude. All I asked was to see if there are any existing resources out there. Ultimately I’ll have to do what I have to do one way or the other. But if there is help out there for people in your situation no need to be embarrassed to ask specially if you can do so anonymously like here.
And by the way, there are government and non profit resources to help people with low income with their medical problems too… Don’t see the difference between the twoMay 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185792
Thank you CS. I’ll look into itMay 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185793
Greater LA areaMay 1, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2185799Desperate to understandParticipant
Wow wow kudos for rebsteve if you had the courage to come out and break the stigma and not give up you must’ve be very strong wish you all the best!!!!! And many people should copy you don’t give up!May 1, 2023 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm #2185904n0mesorahParticipant
reliefhelp dot org
Someone could help you look for a private sponsor. It could be an open ended loan.May 1, 2023 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #2185909
RebSteve, see how that goes because I didn’t see her site online so I hope it’s still running. Additionally, there’s reliefhelp org, where you can speak to someone. I don’t know if there’s any volunteers though. And last but not least, you can reach out to your local rabbi/ rebbetzin or Chabad shluchim who may be able to mentor you themselves or connect you to someone who can.May 1, 2023 3:17 pm at 3:17 pm #2185950
Sorry I just thought I have to add that really, people who needed this kind of guidance always turned to their local rabbi/ rebbetzin (assuming they had a great marriage etc. themselves.) it’s a real machla we have today, that many people’s first port of call is “mental health professionals” Who are trained by goyim/ goyishe courses etc. (as if they’re so successful in marriage/ life…) Granted, there’s a need for therapists etc. When someone is actually ill, but for direction in life- we have the Torah! And people who live it. You can hear more from Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin who is writing a book on Torah self help tools that he used to be happy even in prison….
Within Chabad we have a mashpia system set up, where everyone is encouraged to have a mashpia as a life coach and go to person, and also to be mashpia to others…May 1, 2023 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #2185979May 1, 2023 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #2186001
You are doing a great disservice to the public. Much of what you say is mistaken, and you should be taking sheker seriously. There are also misperceptions. Allow me to clarify.
You average Rov/Rebbetzin is either untrained or undertrained, and generally inexperienced to assist with a troubled marriage. Ignoring whether they have a good marriage themselves, there is a huge amount of information that training provides. Whether this comes from a secular or Jewish text, professor, teacher, or training program is inconsequential.
Now, you also need to recognize what most gedolei Yisroel already do. There is a ballooning growth of frum mental health professionals, who are not just professionally trained and experienced, but work together with Rabbonim and Gedolei Yisroel all the time. Many of these professionals convene at conferences like Nefesh International, and the mental health Track at the Agudah Convention. They are in constant contact with Daas Torah, mutually providing their experiences so that the therapists can maintain their Torah connection while providing responsible services, and Rabbonim giving advice and paskening shailos are doing so from a educated perspective. Instead of declaring these therapists being in ignorance of Torah, why don’t you connect with some and discover how wrong you are. Then ask the rabbonim what they think about the professionals.
A Rov/Rebbetzin without such background and experience can be among those who give dangerous guidance and advice. It is too often that marriages are torn apart by the ignorant advice from the Rov who considers their erudition in Torah a qualification to behave as a therapist.May 1, 2023 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #2186006n0mesorahParticipant
I was in Florida for a while. There are way too many dangerous people there.May 1, 2023 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #2186065
R Twersky’s “Dear Rabbi, Dear Doctor” book (last published 2016) list these agencies about various psychological issues without specifying which is which. maybe someone wants to look into them and add descriptions
echo 845 425 9750
relief 718 431 9501
Shalom Task Force 718-337-3700
JAADD (Jewish Ass for ADD) 718 435 0101
Nefesh 201 530 0010
Ohel 718 851 6300
Counterforce 718 854 7730
JFCS 718 435 5700
Yitti Leibel Help line 718 help nowMay 2, 2023 7:01 am at 7:01 am #2186135YsiegelParticipant
I have just seen CS’s response and I am horrified. To say this in the name of Chabad is ludicrous, and certainly atrocious!
There is an organization FUNDED BY CHABAD which I noted called Or Habayit (it is not Chabad run, only funded by, and SUPPORTED BY Chabad rabbanim, very many mashpiim etc.) – and Mashpiim will ALWAYS refer the couple to a PROFESSIONAL! The Rebbe himself sent people to therapists of all sorts – including marriage counselors – and would give the general advice that this should be done, (only with the caveat that they be religious, so that they appreciate the importance of religious issues that come up etc. etc. etc.).
CS (Chabad Shlucha in the past, I believe) You have discredited yourself time and again from speaking in the name of Chabad, a huge organization that has official voices, and you certainly do Chabad no good with the nonsense you spread in its name….horrifying to say the least.May 2, 2023 7:01 am at 7:01 am #2186134YsiegelParticipant
In Israel there’s an organization called Or Habayit – one in the South and one in the North, you can try that if it’s relevant to youMay 2, 2023 7:04 am at 7:04 am #2186124
TLIK I stand by my post. You’re basically saying that Torah is great for “erudition in Torah”, but for practical real life help and application, it’s dangerous for someone to ask a Rav/ mashpia for advice. I’m actually shocked no one has protested this notion. I could go on and on with examples etc. but I’ll just suffice with a few words unless someone would like elaboration.
Just like you can teach a horse to be a great horse but you can’t reach a horse to play chess, so too a goy, or goyishe training will not be able to help a Yid achieve true happiness (which is dependent on our connection to Hashem) or fulfillment.
For example, sholom Mordechai worked on his bitachon and was always happy, truly happy, in a very dark situation. The other prisoners went to the prison therapist and were prescribed tranquilizers so they wouldn’t commit suicide. You wouldn’t expect the therapist, non Jewish or Jewish to train you in bitachon, because that’s not within their experience/ their job description.
I went to a doctor once, who instead of just doing his official job, took the liberty of telling me that I should just have lots of me time and not take on too much etc.
BH I was educated in Torah enough to know that I can differentiate between the care I needed that was the doctors job, and the advice which was not in line with Torah…
If your Rav is not someone who is successfully married/ successful in his state of mind/ personal life skills, then find another Rav. A Rav is supposed to be a life example and possible mentor, not just a good intellectual.May 2, 2023 10:35 am at 10:35 am #2186212AviraDeArahParticipant
I don’t see why CS is under criticism for this. Everyone I know with marriage problems consults rabbonim. Often the perspective of a daas torah provides solutions and communication skills that the couple hadn’t thought of.
Therapists are trained by the way non jews view marriage. Often they’ll commiserate with the perspective of “what am I getting out of this marriage” and other modern tendencies. I’ve heard horror stories from therapists, very dangerous advice.
Most shul rabbonim double as marriage counselors. That’s just the reality.
People came to rav pam, rav shlomo zalman, and many others all the time with sholom bayis problems. Running to a therapist as a first resort is far more risky than going to a rov who knows at least one of the parties involved.May 2, 2023 10:55 am at 10:55 am #2186223mentsch1Participant
Though there is some truth to what you write, in general, I’m going to strongly disagree with you
Being the product of a divorce and having been to numerous therapists as part of the process, I’m going to tell you that it is a big mistake for a frum person to go to a non frum therapist
Even amongst the frum I would give it a 50-50 of the ones that I would consider to be helpful versus unhelpful (and in some cases damaging)
The best advice that I give to people is, there is no substitute for common sense
And you can pick that up within one to two sessions with a person. If something seems off about the therapist, go elsewhere. Unfortunately, because somebody seeking out a therapist is in a vulnerable position. They are often prone to thinking that the person sitting behind the desk is somehow in a superior position to give them advice
A good percentage of people who become psychologists are people who are still trying to find themselves.
You need to find a therapist that has common sense, frum values, and is acceptable to all parties.May 2, 2023 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm #2186311hi pleased to meet youParticipant
before therapy I would recommend reading “Dear Son” by Rabbi Eliyohu Goldschmidt, and your wife should read “Dear Daughter” by him.May 2, 2023 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm #2186312Desperate to understandParticipant
@cs what about “chochma bagoyim taamin”?
And i hope you would not go to your local orthodox rabbi for an open heart surgery or something similar
But I should point out that there are rabbis that are trained in mental health I think the yu semicha program requires some training in mental healthMay 2, 2023 3:17 pm at 3:17 pm #2186327RBZSParticipant
HaRav Volbe zt”l had a group of students he trained to be mashgichim.
He told them, “We are guidance counselors – NOT therapists.
A student who needs professional help should be directed to the proper doctor.”May 2, 2023 3:48 pm at 3:48 pm #2186333
Not all psychologists have chochma, and not all LORs are bakiim… That is why I am recommending books by r Twersky who was both. I don’t know if he had raised students working in his ways … when he recommends asking a rabbi, he sometimes qualifies “who is qualified in such matters ” and when recommends a psychologist he suggests sometimes to add the local rabbi to the team, so that the doctor doesn’t conclude that wrapping up boxes every day is a sign of ocdMay 2, 2023 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm #2186334
Ysiegel, do you have specific references where your rebbe refers to professionals? Cs doesn’t seem to appreciate your wordsMay 2, 2023 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #2186357commonsaychelParticipant
The best are Hillel and Moshe Metsger of Shomer Shabbos, they deal with this all the time.May 2, 2023 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #2186422
Sorry have had a busy day… just to clarify as there were questions, as I said originally, if someone is ILL in any way, that’s chochma bagoyim taamin, and a Rav will refer if the case is out of his expertise etc. No problem with any of that.
Op isn’t suggesting that he’s clinically depressed, or has deep seated trauma that needs subconscious treatment. He’s looking for life advice/ direction and our first port of call should be Torah.
My parents started off marriage on a left foot. Since therapy wasn’t the trend, they obviously went to their local rabbi. He actually gave them bad advice which wasn’t helpful so they did their research and found rabbi ezriel taubers book “to become one” and lectures, along with alot of hard work, did wonders. They also found a different rav who helped them out and still guides them today.
Today, they would be strongly encouraged to go to therapy… and that’sa tragedy. Therapy isn’t always successful, you have to find the right match etc. And the ideology isn’t Jewish. So my point is, try Torah first for life advice.May 2, 2023 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #2186426
Just a disclaimer (for at least one poster) I was not hired by Chabad to be the official mouthpiece of Chabad on this site. I guess I should be honored by the insinuation that people would think so.
However, my posts are all based on things I’ve learned or the chinuch I’ve been given which is all Torah as illuminated by Chassidus, as well as farbrengens given by Chassidishe role models. When asked I’ve given the source. And if I’m incorrect, I’m happy to be corrected. I do not think it necessary to post this on every thread I may post on so I hope this is enough to calm the nerves of certain posters who can always refer to this at their convenience😀May 2, 2023 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #2186501
I read your subsequent comments as well as your rejoinder to me. All I can say is that you are digging yourself in deeper. There are realities that you may choose to deny, but they are nevertheless fact. The current training for rabbonim (there are few exceptions) does not include giving advice for personal problems. In fact, there are several mechanisms in place to reduce the ineffectiveness of rabbonim in this regard. There are several institutes that offer training for rabbonim to assist them. The reality is that many people will approach their rov and/or rebbetzin with such issues. And they need to be capable of guiding them appropriately. Yes, there are situations that they can probably handle. But they are first responders, and must be equipped to guide them to the right professionals and resources. The Agudah under guidance from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah takes this position. Many of the chassidishe rebbes are connected with various professionals. Even many roshei yeshivos are similarly connected.
Your complaint about your doctor operating outside his domain – that’s plainly foolish. Your doctor was pointing out that your stress level is affecting your health, and that a practical approach is to destress. Many doctors do that, and it is well within their domain.
Your diatribe against the frum mental health professionals being basically goyish trained that deliver those values to their clientele is a malicious accusation and one that is beyond false. I suggest you prepare a method of asking mechila of the hundreds of mental health professionals that are yere’im and shleimim, dedicated to promoting Torah value to those that you cannot help. I bet you can find a therapist or two whose values you might question. I know a mashpia or two who are menaces to the Klal, and certainly NOT what the Rebbe ZT”L had in mind when he brainstormed that idea.
I suggest you speak to several of these frum mental health professionals. Visit their conferences, attend their shiurim, and even test them on their Torah knowledge. Then see what the Gedolei Yisroel say. Once you’ve done that, express your opinions. A bit of truth wins over the conjecture and grandstanding.May 3, 2023 6:12 am at 6:12 am #2186531
Look I don’t think I need to add anything…. As far as my doctor, you don’t know what I was there for but it wasn’t stress. And when I asked him what I was supposed to do with this me time, he said play games… yes there’sa need to step back sometimes, but Torah is all about servicing others. If you need to take care of yourself first to do that better, then ok, but the focus is on serving Hashem and making the world a better place. Putting others first etc. (If you need to be healthier to put others first, fine but the focus is on getting back to your Avodas hakodesh.) whereas “Me time” implies I’ve done my dues for you, now I’m doing what I want to do- focusing on myself. And what do I do with this self focused time? I waste it on meaningless activities… This was just one example… I see you’re standing at a different place, but I’m glad that some posters understand the point.May 3, 2023 6:12 am at 6:12 am #2186533
Ok I’m willing to be coerced tlik. Hear me out.
I’m generally happy because I’ve internalized hakoras hatov, and excited because I’m blessed to be a Yid.
I don’t harbor resentment or grudges because I’ve internalized that Hashem is the One who did it, and He has my best interests in mind, not other people.
I don’t get easily angered, and when I do I forgive easily. I’m working to get to the point where I don’t get angry at all… and the tools for that are is that yes, everything that happens to me SHOULD happen, and is not an injustice because Hashem is in charge. And He only desires my good.
Fear and anxiety posted above.
I have a happy marriage BH because I’ve internalized that we’re two halves of one Neshama, and that means that if one of us isn’t happy, we’re both not happy. Taking care of my spouse is my priority in ahavas yisrael. The importance Hashem places on sholom bayis, which is the source of bracha in the home. Also, the importance of not hurting others as in onaas Devarim etc.
I’m productive as long as it doesn’t affect my health, because I’ve internalized that I’m here for a mission and want to accomplish as much as I can. On the flip side, if I can’t be active, I’m comforted by the fact that Hashem has wrought this, so right now, serving Him means accepting the lack of productivity with joy.
On the flip side, I was once referred by a doctor to a therapist because I was in a state of agony. She tried cbt on me which I found absolutely meaningless. In the end, she was so concerned by the agony she saw that she reported to the doctor to make sure I wasn’ta risk to myself. Actually, even though I was in great pain, I never became suicidal, because I’ve internalized the concept of Olam Haba, and so realized that suicide wouldn’t be a good solution…. It would just make things much worse. After that, I dismissed the therapist, and went to my mashpia. My mashpia was able to give Hashem centered hadracha based on personal experience as well as Torah knowledge, that helped me to find a lot of comfort
and strength to deal with the pain.
So… if your frum mental health professionals train people in the above ideals (which my impression is that they don’t) then I stand corrected tlik.May 3, 2023 7:47 am at 7:47 am #2186577Get-r-dunParticipant
You brought up rubashkin twice as an example, firstly he had a massive support system with thousands rooting for him and helping him,which is immensely helpful for his morality, this hardly helps someone that has private marriage troubles.
Secondly, what makes you think that he was happy in prison, to be sure he worked on himself, that doesn’t mean he was happy and didn’t need moral boosting. If it was so terrible and horrible in there as he always said,then im pretty sure he spent some of time being depressed in that horrible evil place of OtisvilleMay 3, 2023 9:28 am at 9:28 am #2186617
Corrected not coercedMay 3, 2023 9:29 am at 9:29 am #2186622
I brought up Rubashkin twice because this idea of not running to goyim/she ideology for life direction and general well-being etc. he really is enthusiastic about, and he elaborates on his experiences to make it real and down to earth. He explains the Torah principles that support his ability to remain joyous even there, and is currently working on a book on that topic to help people.
As far as how do we know? He heard after he was freed, from one of the inmates, that one guard asked the other, “Who’s the guy that was let out by the President?” The other got thought for a second and said, “You know the guy who was always happy? That one.”
He was told by a well meaning acquaintance after his release, that after the star dust settles, he will most certainly need therapy to adjust to regular life, especially after prison. He didn’t need any therapy because he was never traumatized, because of the constant bitachon work he did.
Obviously he felt pain, but he was never depressed. And he is so intent on helping yidden have this for themselves, no matter the situation, that instead of going back into business, his dream was to learn and mentor yidden in bitachon. Hashem has helped him and he is massively successful BH. He now has six big homes which he used to host people for Shabbatons on the topic, and he also gives weekly shiurim which many people attend from nearby Lakewood, and many people from all over the world are in touch with him as a mentor. He has also spoken worldwide on his experience, and in general is in a different spiritual sphere than most people. His incredible test has only uplifted him through the power of Torah, as can be seen from his before, and after prison life. (Not that his before was bad cvs, he was amazing then too. Just nothing to compare to where he is holding now.)May 3, 2023 9:30 am at 9:30 am #2186625
And, that’s the reason why so many people were rooting for him to begin with. Because they came to do chessed by visiting etc, and ended up being uplifted by him. So they devoted themselves to his cause out of inspiration.May 3, 2023 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm #2186743
You draw attention to R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. He is exemplary, but he is also an anomaly. It is truly spectacular that he remained what he did throughout the torturous isolation. He is worthy of all the raise and admiration, and then some. And he was able to utilize Torah sources for his chizuk, which he described in his book and in countless speeches since then. We would all do well to have our lives run in a spiritual manner.
I do not fault anyone for approaching their Rov with a personal issue, whether individual or marital. I am repeating myself, but for good reason. The Rov who is within his domain will utilize whatever resources he has to be helpful. Yet, there are a great many situations for which the average Rov is likely unequipped. Having professionals to consult or to refer to is critical. This concept is well known among the experienced rabbonim, and the Gedolei Yisroel repeat this often.
You continue to castigate the professionals as people who deliver goyishe values to their clientele. That is parently false. In fact, the true professional does not impose their values on clients. And even more important, the professionals learned their science from the goyishe resources, יש חכמה בגוים, but have not subscribed to their values. And if you would mingle with these professionals, you would discover people who actually are well respected by the greatest of the rabbonim of all facets of the frum community. You will find people who are regular “chavrusas” to the great talmidei chachomim in our community. You will find quite a number of them are talmidei chachomim in their own right. And I challenge you to locate any of them who bypass Torah value for the goyishe standards as you accuse.
Lastly, it is not the role of the frum therapist to teach Torah. Most that I know use Torah in their work often. And if they recognize that a client would benefit from Torah and Mitzvos as part of their healing, they would certainly support that.
You do need to revisit your beliefs about the frum professional community. See what is fact and what is fiction. My exposure is quite different, and your accusations are pathetic and baseless.May 3, 2023 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #2186773Avram in MDParticipant
The little I know,
“You continue to castigate the professionals as people who deliver goyishe values to their clientele. That is parently false.”
I think you and CS may be addressing different cases. You seem to be describing a scenario where a frum couple seeks advice from a rav, who refers them to a hand-picked, well known therapist who shares our community’s values. CS seems to be describing a scenario where the couple bypasses the rav and goes to an unvetted therapist.
“In fact, the true professional does not impose their values on clients. And even more important, the professionals learned their science from the goyishe resources, יש חכמה בגוים, but have not subscribed to their values.”
It’s interesting that when it comes to rabbonim, you openly admit that they may have flaws and limitations, but by “true professionals” (what does that mean?), you give a glowing and uncritical haskamah. Are therapists not also flawed and limited people?
“And I challenge you to locate any of them who bypass Torah value for the goyishe standards as you accuse.”
Again, you seem to be taking a very small, handpicked subset of all therapists. CS is not. OOT is not going to be filled with frum therapists, kal vechomer Random College Town with the Chabad house being the only synagogue.
“My exposure is quite different, and your accusations are pathetic and baseless.”
Why do you assume that CS has no “exposure” of her own, or that your “exposure” is de facto legitimate while hers is not?
As a general comment to this thread, I think way too much emphasis is placed on it being the rabbi or therapist’s burden to push the magic buttons that fix marriage difficulties. If spouses come in with a desire to make things better, then a rabbi, a therapist, an outsider’s perspective, books by Rabbi Twersky, etc. can all be helpful. If there’s no desire to make things better, then even the best rav or therapist is unlikely to help much.May 3, 2023 3:36 pm at 3:36 pm #2186806
TLIK you write that it’s not the professionals job to teach Torah. Bingo! That’s my point. They won’t be teaching the powerful self help tools in the Torah- a proper Rav can do that.
The professionals non Jewish training teaches them how to get people better in touch with themselves and focus on their own happiness (selfish approach) while with a Torah approach, you can learn how to take your situation and use it as a springboard for growth towards Hashem. The personal situation i described earlier, which had put me in such a state of agony, revisited twice more. Each time I was able to handle it better- the second time I was able to focus on making happiness a choice to serve Hashem better. And guess what? The situation cleared up and was gone which I didn’t really think would happen. The third time I focused on bitachon, and there was no real crisis. You’re not gonna get this from even a frum therapist because just like you said- his training is not in Torah ideology, and he’s not hired to teach you Torah. So you’ll have very different outcomes.May 3, 2023 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #2186816
As far as saying sholom Mordechai is an anomaly, that’s such a cop out. What’s so cool about him is that he’s not a tzadik or Rebbe, he was a regular businessman. When faced with an overwhelming crisis, instead of taking the easy route- playing victim, sulking in depression, he turned inwards and asked, what does Hashem want from me now? What’s expected of me. He put in the work, and he got amazing results. Anyone can do it, you just have to realize that Torah is truly our life and be willing to work at it with Torah guidance as needed.May 3, 2023 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #2186820MenoParticipant
All this preaching is making me sick.
I can’t imagine I’m the only one here who feels that way.May 3, 2023 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #2186824
You have a point that CS and I are addressing different scenarios. Perhaps. Meanwhile, CS has taken the liberty of presenting a position in which professionally trained therapists are imparting goyishe values, anti-Torah to their clients, and are to be reserved fpor only certain cases. And adding that the average Rov is well qualified to deal with all but a few severe situations. These accusations are not just offensive but patently untrue.
There is a valid point the tri-state area of the northeast has sizable numbers of frum professionals, which is not the case OOT. The significance of this disparity is somewhat less in the era of teletherapy. There are unvetted therapists, though I am not sure what the vetting process might be and who would oversee this. I would safely say that a great many of the frum mental health professionals in the tri-state area regularly work alongside rabbonim and are thus vetted. And one might also hear from these rabbonim of those professionals who should not be patronized. So I characterized “true” professionals as not having been in that last category.
I completely believe that Torah can nurture healing and health. That is not a novel concept, nor is it a matter of debate. I applaud anyone that can utilize Torah in all of its facets to bring about improvement in anything. I do believe that Torah is the root of all knowledge, whether the sciences, or anything else. But that doesn’t guarantee that one can extract all of this from the Torah. Much of that is part of the hidden aspect of Torah, and we are stuck deriving this from the sciences. And we should bear in mind that some our greatest have lauded the discoveries of science. I call attention to the Rambam, and to the Ramban, who spoke of this openly.
I have grown to be amused by the generalizations about psychology that are touted by those not trained in the field. Such things as the “selfish approach”, and the imposing of goyishe values on clients. Conclusions and generalizations of this sort are foolish, and reflect a dearth of information.
I am quite thrilled that CS was able to find relief and strength in Torah, whether emunoh, bitachon, whether sifrei mussar, chassidus, or Rabbi Twersky’s books. Those are wonderful resources. But they will not help the masses of marital and psychological problems, even with rabbinical guidance. The need for professionals, as recognized by the greatest rabbonim among us, is far greater in both magnitude and volume than the rabbinate is equipped to handle. As I noted earlier, the Rov might serve well as a first responder. Some situations should remain in front of the Rov. Others should be moved on to the professional. And the treating therapist, if frum, is likely a good stop to assume the case in its entirety. Regardless, most of those I know have a Rov ready for guidance should there be a need, and many are regular “chavrusas” of rabbonim, utilizing them in a supervisory capacity. I once heard Rabbi Twersky say (I think it’s in one of his books) that Moshe Rabbeinu stopped at 10 (Aseres Hadibros). Had he continued, number 11 would have been “Thou shalt not generalize”.May 3, 2023 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #2186829
TLIK hopefully we can agree on the importance of Torah as being the first port of call when faced with a crisis in life. If the Rav/ mashpia doesn’t feel well equipped enough to help the situation, or the person himself isn’t getting the help he needs, then by all means- try therapy – preferably with a frum person etc- and see if it helps.May 3, 2023 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #2186841
TLIK, I’m also just curious, since you have such a different perspective of therapy then me, how you would explain this phenomenon:
The people I know personally who have been in therapy for years, and wax poetic over how helpful the therapy is, are not happy people. When asked, one relative said, “Well I guess it’s a journey.” And they pay more and more money to continue to get to their inner peace…
Whereas the people I look up to who have had their share of hardships in life and used Torah as their guide, are happy empowered people. And they’re not shelling out all the therapy bucks either. This may not be everyone’s experience but I have noticed this. I wonder what you think about it.May 4, 2023 10:22 am at 10:22 am #2187023
As first port of call, I agree that this is sometimes indicated. Often, it is not. By the time many couples reach out for intervention, the dysfunction has progressed to a very serious place. There are many other factors that are outside the domain of the most well intentioned Rov. There are psychological and psychiatric conditions that can be involved. This is not the exception either. And the untrained will seek to focus on what would otherwise be good advice, while missing the forest for the trees.
I haven’t a clue about those unhappy people who went to therapy. There are unhappy people who have gone to therapy, and many who have not. Your use of this as a representative is connecting dots that are unrelated. There are mood disorders that are partially relieved by therapy, not necessarily making the person happy, but improving function. Might a dose of spirituality help them? Perhaps. But there are plenty for whom this is not the missing ingredient. Meanwhile, your maligning therapy as contraindicated except in a small number of exceptional cases is baseless.
I, too, use spirituality in my guidance for people. It is a precious tool. But it is often not the deficiency that is responsible for the condition, and it is also not always the cure. There were Gedolei Yisroel who had various conditions. Shall I quote the Brisker Rov ZT”L who had OCD? How about a few of the Chassidic Masters who had mood disorders? Were they not erudite enough or lacking in spirituality to overcome their conditions?
As I noted earlier, there are important roles for everyone. Rabbonim have much to offer, and many are quite perceptive and insightful. Anomg the frum therapists, there are quite a few that are quite learned. And there is much cooperation and collaboration among them. I would not dismiss the professionals as purveyors of goyishe values, nor would I consider the average Rov a competent therapist (the Rov, in all odds, does not claim to be a therapist either). Your generalizations are not supported by the facts. I do not challenge your experience. But that does not reflect accurately on the global scene.May 5, 2023 9:25 am at 9:25 am #2187416
I completely agree with you that there are many conditions that require medical treatment like psychiatric disorders etc.
But therapy has become the new “in” thing for anyone struggling with life problems in general, low moods resulting from low self worth etc. And many of these can be addressed with Torah perspective given from someone who loves what he says.
Regarding my experience with people who are in therapy for years and have still not reached Serenity etc in contrast with those who use Torah, it just hit me that a possible reason could be because therapy starts off with the notion that the suffering person is a victim/ survivor of someone else’s cruelty. This is a quite unsettling notion. Then they spend many years in therapy trying to regain their power and control over their life and that’s very tough.
Whereas with a Torah perspective, whatever happens to you, you are not a victim as it’s in your best interests. How and why, we’re not always meant
to understand immediately. And we also know that if we work on ourselves to see it this way, we will end up seeing the good in this physical world. This is very empowering. Of course it takes work, but ultimately one ends up elevated, instead of living as a survivorMay 5, 2023 9:27 am at 9:27 am #2187418
(Cont’) This doesn’t mean that Torah doesn’t acknowledge pain. But it’s like going through a painful surgery. We pay the doctor to do it and willingly go through the pain because we know it’s in our best interests. But we don’t think of ourselves as a victim of the doctor…May 5, 2023 9:30 am at 9:30 am #2187421
But I will grant you TLIK that therapists have several advantages: this is their parnassa so they focus on their clients and have ample time to give them etc. They also are trained in different conditions and can hopefully (not always) differentiate between a medical need and psychological need etc. This is lacking by Rabbanim who can’t grant ample time to many people to really understand what the real issue is and meet with them a set amount of time weekly for as long as they need etc.
Luckily there are already people who have thought of this and are planning a Torah training alternative to therapy course.May 5, 2023 11:13 am at 11:13 am #2187437
*lives not loves
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