NEFESH: The International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals
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Showing Results 1 - 40 (883 total)
The Psychotherapy Client's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 16th, 2015

The Psychotherapy Client’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities by Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R Chaya Feuerman, LCSW-R   Going for therapy means different things for different people. For some, it is a dreaded last resort measure, only to be used when a person’s life or marriage is utterly falling apart. For others, it is less stigmatized and more routine – almost like going for physical therapy, not so convenient but neces …
2 comments
The Psychology Of Torah Sheb'al Peh
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 19th, 2016

The Psychology of Torah Sheba’al Peh Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R Psychology of the Oral Torah (Originally Printed in the Jewish Press)   We read in Megillas Esther (9:27): “They affirmed and accepted upon themselves…” There is a redundancy in the phrase, “affirmed and accepted”, and based on this, the Gemara (Shavuous 39a) comments:  “We understand the Jews accepted the Torah at Har Sinai, b …
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Getting Emotional about Our Feelings
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
June 1st, 2016

Getting Emotional About Our Feelings Chaya Feuerman, LCSW-R and Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R Reprinted from the Jewish Press People filter reality all the time. What we think about what happens or does not happen to us affects how we feel. Our expectations and beliefs about the world, what we consider we are entitled to, all go into what makes us feel or not feel certain ways. This cognitive set sifts and filters whatever we allow to penetrate our con …
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Lies, Truth and Jewish Values
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
July 26th, 2016

Truth, Lies, Psychology and Jewish Values Reprinted from the Jewish Press  As every cheder child learns in the story about Avraham and Sarah, according to Jewish values, one may alter the truth in order to preserve sh’lom bayis.  However, the ethics, halachos and psychology of truth and lies in relationships are far more nuanced than what we were taught in second grade. The Gemara (Yevamos 65b) states: “R. Ile'a further stat …
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בענין סוד הכרובים וסוד הזיווג
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
September 25th, 2016

בענין סוד הכרובים וסוד הזיווג שמחה פוירמן 718 793 1376 simchafeuerman@gmail.com   כתוב בעשרת הדברות (שמות ×›:ד): ״לֹֽ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה־לְךָ֥֣ פֶ֣֙סֶל֙ ×€ וְכָל־תְּמוּנָ֡֔ה אֲשֶׁ֤֣ר בַּשָּׁמַ֣֙יִם֙ ×€ מִמַּ֡֔עַל וַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר֩ בָּאָ֖֨רֶץ מִתַָּ֑֜חַת וַאֲשֶׁ֥֣ר ×‘Ö¼Ö·×žÖ¼Ö·Ö …
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Doubts and Defensiveness
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 21st, 2017

Defensiveness and Doubts By Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R Chaya Feuerman, LCSWR (First appeared in print in the Jewish Press)  Defensiveness is one of the most destructive traits in relationships. According to the research of John Gottman, Ph.D. if one spouse is observed as behaving defensively toward the other spouse’s concerns there is strong correlation with marital disharmony and ultimately, divorce. Defensiveness can be defi …
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Religious Bullying
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
July 21st, 2017

Religious Bullying By Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R & Chaya Feuerman, LCSW-R Reprinted Courtesy of the Jewish Press   What is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…is it Superman?  No, not in this article.  Rather, it is the halakhic shaalah!  Think about it. How many times have you been involved in an organization, shul, workgroup, or inte …
3 comments
Narcissism, Marriage and Judaism
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
August 24th, 2017

Narcissism, Marriage and Judaism Personality disorders, unlike many forms of mental illness, are not merely an illness, but also can be at least partially due to poor morality, or in Jewish terms, bad middos. Whatever fears, insecurities and distorted ideas that take place within the heart and mind of a person suffering from a Personality Disorder alone are not enough to cause selfish, manipulative or abusive behavior, without also making poor be …
2 comments
Throwing a Desk at the Rebbe
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
September 30th, 2017

Throwing a Desk at the Rebbe Hesped for my father, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Feuerman ZT'L (Reprinted from the Jewish Press) On Tuesday evening, September 19, 2017, 29 Elul 5777 Rabbi Dr. Chaim Feuerman finished giving his two classes at Yeshiva University, said “I need to take a few minutes to rest”, and then stopped breathing.  The petira of this giant of a man, on Erev Rosh Hashana has many connotations.  One of the most meaningful …
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מילי דהספידא על אבי ומורי זכר צדיק לברכה
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
October 1st, 2017

 מילי דהספידא על אבי ומורי זכר צדיק לברכה מאת: הרב שמחה פוירמן   ביום שלישי, כ״ט אלול תשע״ז הרב חיים יהושע בן אברהם פוירמן סים מלהגיד שיעורו האחרון בישיבה אוניברסיטי, מכון לחינוך ״עזריאלי״. אמר לאחד ממשרתיו, ״חכה לי, שצריך אני לנוח קצת״, ואז יצאה …
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Crime and Punishment
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 1st, 2018

  Reprinted from the Jewish Press     Sometimes we can be most cruel to ourselves.  The inner voice can be filled with condemnation and hate.  There are people that are barely aware of how harsh they treat themselves on the inside.  If they would take a moment of mindfulness to actually hear their inner dialogue it might be something like, “You are a bad person”, “You are lazy”, and best of al …
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Jewish Traditional Sources for Female Sexual Empowerment
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
June 4th, 2018

In a discussion with colleagues it was noted that there was not enough focus in the religious community on the normal developmental and sexual needs of women.  One might draw a conclusion that there was no legitimate focus on female sexual empowerment within traditional Jewish thought.  While the standards of modesty, as well as concepts of female roles were quite different in the times of the Talmud, it is important to note that there …
5 comments
Davening: Terminable and Interminable
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
August 15th, 2018

As a son of a community Rabbi and Principal, one of my earliest memories is DREADING the High Holy Days. I used to literally count how many days it was until next Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur like most kids would count how many days before school starts. Being a child of a public role model, I was expected at an early age to sit quietly and attentively during prayers. To make matters worse, in my childhood there was no genre of English Judaica. W …
1 comments
Halakha Vs. Common Sense
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
October 24th, 2018

Ideally, there never should be an instance of Halakha versus common sense. As we shall soon see, while the Torah may not always be provable through deductive reasoning alone, it should never ask us to believe something that is patently unreasonable. I feel compelled to a write this in response to fundamentalist trends that seem to make virtue out of blind acceptance. Granted there is a certain logic to such a position, perhaps considering that G- …
4 comments
Get Curious Instead of Furious
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 4th, 2018

Curiosity is a powerful relationship tool. We think we know someone else, we think we understand their motives, and we would like to believe we are right and know better. Yet, if we maintain a more curious attitude, especially when we feel frustrated or angry instead of becoming judgmental and indignant, we can turn difficult moments into learning and growth.   After Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, the scripture tells us they hi …
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Adar and Goldilocks
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 10th, 2019

This year is a Jewish leap year.  The Jewish calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar inputs; specifically, the months follow the Moon, however the seasons follow the Sun. Since 12 lunar months only add up to 354 days, it is approximately 11 days short of a solar year.  The rabbis understood from the Biblical directive to guard the month of spring, that they needed to add in a leap month (Adar II) approximately every 3 year …
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A Bird and a Fish can Fall in Love...
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 17th, 2019

  In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye exclaims in frustration to his daughter who is considering a marriage outside of the faith, “A bird and a fish can fall in love, but where would they build their home?” Today, many couples find themselves in a position of religious disparity. Whether they started out in the same religious position and one turned more religious and the other less, or they married under this circumstance, it challeng …
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An Analysis of Halachos of Kneeling for Persons in Twelve Step Recovery
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 24th, 2019

There are some people in the course of their 12 step work who find connecting to G-d via kneeling to be an important part of their recovery.  There is a degree of cultural inhibition regarding kneeling for Jewish people, as this is not our customary form of worship. Below is an analysis of the pertinent halachic issues. The verse states in Vayikra 26:1 “…and a Maskis stone shall not be placed in your land to bow upon it.” …
2 comments
Jung's Greatest Hits
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 28th, 2019

Carl Jung was a student of Sigmund Freud.  Unlike Freud, he had a deep and positive interest in spirituality, religion, and mysticism.  His psychological theories were still what we would call psychodynamic, in a sense that they involve understanding the ways that unconscious conflicts affect and determine functional or dysfunctional behavior.  However, his understanding of the inner drives and conflicts were more universal and rel …
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When Torah and Your Emotional Needs Conflict
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
May 2nd, 2019

When Torah and Your Emotional Needs Don’t Feel Compatible   Persons who go through therapy and find access to their deeper feelings can become aware of conflicts that others may not be consciously aware of. For example, unfortunately there are a number of people who habitually talk in Shul. Some may get serious, develop self control, begin to appreciate the value of prayer and solemnity, and stop this behavior. Others may continue for …
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Anger Problem? Anger Solution!
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
June 23rd, 2019

Marc considers himself an overall decent guy, he cares for his wife and children and is a hard worker.  Once in a while, when people really push his buttons he loses his temper -- he can say abusive statements such as name-calling and also physically punches the wall.  His wife says it is unbearable and frightening to her and the kids and he needs help. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to him, but he must concede that his fath …
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Unconditional Love?
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
July 21st, 2019

Joseph was one of those impossible teenagers. He was sullen, absorbed in computer games and social media. He refused to have even a slightly pleasant or respectful conversation with his parents. His grades in school were awful and any time his parents tried to talk to him about it, the discussion would degrade into shouting and cursing. The fighting sometimes became frighteningly aggressive, especially between Joseph and his dad.   Joseph&rs …
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Transgender Persons, Halakhic and Psychological Perspectives
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
August 6th, 2019

A prominent member of the community, born as an Orthodox male, with a wife and several married and unmarried children, announces to his family and friends that he no longer can live as a man. He tells his community that he has felt all along to be a woman, and finds it unbearable to continue with this charade. He has begun hormonal and surgical treatments, and is now dressing like a woman.   His children, advisors, friends, are stupefied. Th …
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As If Forced by A Demon. Psychological and Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
August 27th, 2019

According to Torah values, is it considered proper to enjoy sexuality and all forms of amorous expression within the bounds of marriage, or is a more ascetic orientation the proper path? Jewish tradition has apparent contradictory directives in regard to sensuality, sexual pleasure and abnegation.  Recommendations of various Talmudic sages range from total denial of pleasure, such as dispensing with the sexual act “as if forced by a de …
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Tephiliphobia
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
September 15th, 2019

I have noticed a sociological psychological phenomenon amongst a segment of religious clients.  Certain otherwise observant people do not lay tefillin. From anecdotal evidence, it occurs with greater frequency than other lapses.  Individuals who otherwise observe kashrus, shabbos (even not using smartphones) still seem to have difficulty with tefillin. Logically, it is perplexing because tefillin as a mitzvah can be performed in approxi …
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Book Review: Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Gustav Jung
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
October 28th, 2019

Carl Gustav Jung was originally a student of Freud, but it was in matters of religion and spirituality that he began to differ, and eventually broke away from his teacher and mentor. Jung was keenly interested in religion and spiritual process and how they related to his empirical studies of psychology.  Jung’s Analytical Psychology provides a superb foundation for developing a religion-friendly psychological approach.   Like Freu …
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Honesty and Ambivalence in Religion
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 9th, 2019

Religious Therapists are obliged to be aware of what they are feeling and what they are seeing. What makes an effective clinician, is the one who is able to sense internal conflict, cognitive dissonance, and internal realities and external reality. In short, as we pray for every morning ‏דובר אמת בלבבו to speak truth within our hearts.   As religious Therapists, at times, we cannot help but notice conflict between c …
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Book Review: I Am for My Beloved
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 16th, 2019

Book Review I Am for My Beloved A Guide for Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples David S. Ribner and Talli Y. Rosenbaum   Imagine one day, on the eve of the Pesach Seder, Eliyahu HaNavi issued a special hora’at Sha’ah, commanding all the Jews to eat a Ham and Cheese sandwich while reclining at the Seder instead of the usual Matzah and Maror.  Even the most devout believers would have great difficulty fulfilling this unusual …
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Mindfulness: Some Novel Sources
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 20th, 2019

How often is a person conscious and mindful of what he or she is doing? Life is busy, we check our cell phones every three seconds, and when we aren’t regretting the past we are busy worrying about the future. Trauma treatment practitioners are becoming more aware that disassociation is something we all do. It is only a matter of degree and severity that separates trauma victims from others. Without using the term mindfulness, Jewish tradit …
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Spiritual Spam Filter Set to High
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 27th, 2019

Spiritual Spam Filter Set to High I think we are so used to getting spiritual “spam” that we filter out important messages. It is a challenge to stay mindful and consciously connected to G-d in our daily routines. Some examples of spiritual spam include making blessings without paying attention, offering serious prayers such as Kaddish or Birkot Hashachar while winding tefilin and folding and unfolding the talit, and studying sacred t …
1 comments
Bring Back the Chapsem
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 1st, 2020

I grew up in a neighborhood and a time where anti semitism was normal . We were spit at, threatened, and had our bikes stolen fairly consistently. I never realized how much it hurt. All of the sudden now a lot of trauma is coming back to me and I’m reliving it for the first time. I am angry and physically sick about it. A few days ago, just passing on the street a bunch of High School aged kids mumbled racial epithets at me. I’m not o …
1 comments
Do Not Cut that Wire!
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 18th, 2020

From time to time I meet with a couple suffering from anxiety related sexual dysfunctions who also have halakhic questions connected to the problem.  Some of the halakhic questions are complex and hard to answer and others are simply a matter of not having been educated properly by their chosson or kallah instructors.  When I ask if they have consulted with a rabbi about their halakhic questions, some will say they are too embarrassed, …
2 comments
Evolution in the Talmud??
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 24th, 2020

Most religious people are aware of the various schools of thought in how to reconcile the Biblical account of creation in six days and the fossil records which seem to indicate a long, gradual process of evolution from simple organisms to the more complex. The most religiously uncomplicated approach is that the Torah’s authority takes precedence over any seeming evidence, and it’s not something to be overly troubled by. Theories come …
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Sounding out G-d’s Name
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 3rd, 2020

My early childhood school years were full of joy of learning. I attended a local Day School of which my father then served as its principal. The mornings were taught Ivrit B’Ivrit, which sparked my lifelong love affair with the beauty of l’shon kodesh. In the summer of first grade I was reading fluently in Hebrew and English. Significantly, this school worked on language foundations so we had as yet to learn Chumash. We read from read …
1 comments
Love and the Holy of Holies
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 29th, 2020

One of the taboos in Judaism is the prohibition against graven images.  There are numerous prohibitions against various forms of images, and we are even forbidden to make certain images of the human form even not for worship purposes.  And, yet, we find two images in the Holy of Holies, a place so sacred that the High Priest is only allowed to enter once a year! The Cherubim had wings like angels (Shemos 25:18) and faces of a child (Suc …
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Corona Virus - Is G-d Punishing Us?
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 18th, 2020

It is impressive how the world is handling the Corona Virus crisis with relative sanity and maturity. Rabbis and community leaders have made hard and fast decisions to protect people by closing shuls and yeshivos. I am hoping to encourage this trend of wise and less reactionary rhetoric by suggesting that we not indulge in the typical G-d-is-punishing-us-refrain . Such as, “the shuls are being closed middah k’negged middah because we …
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Coping with Anxiety
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LSCW-R
March 18th, 2020

Coping with Anxiety video by Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LSCW-R     Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash …
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Silver Linings from Corona
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 23rd, 2020

We must consider several silver linings coming from Corona Virus:   It is offering us all time to slow down, study, reflect and reconnect with ourselves and family   We are learning that Jewish weddings and other life-cycle celebrations can be intimate and small without requiring extravagant expense and large crowds.  Can you imagine how much easier financial life will be on Jewish families if this trend continues after Corona? …
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No Means Yes
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 26th, 2020

In a previous blog post titled, “Love and the Holy of Holies”, I wrote about how the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people can be compared to a marriage. In this essay, we will take a closer look at a fascinating lessons from Midrashic accounts of G-d’s stormy emotional relationship with the Jewish people: Often, couples get stuck in escalating cycles of hurtful attacks. In particular, couples who are emotionally needy …
1 comments
Abuse by Insurance Companies
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 28th, 2020

Despite the fact that the NYS Department of Financial Services issued an order waiving all copays and deductibles for tele-health visits, some insurance companies continue to ignore the ruling.  The order is explicit in stating that it is both for COVID-19 and non-COVID cases, as well as mental health, The ruling can be found at this url : https://www.dfs.ny.gov/reports_and_publications/press_releases/pr20203171 Here is the relevant quote:& …
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