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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘LCSW’

Being A Good Wife Is Sometimes Not Enough

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Sometimes a few sessions of marital therapy can solve problems that were festering for years. The married couple have often locked themselves into such a struggle; they need help to simply untangle the knot. This has a lot to do with the high level of emotion they are feeling – just think of the expression “I am so angry I can’t think straight. The husband and wife often cannot think logically or clearly. Every issue between them is filled with layers of anger, hurt, betrayal and fear that has built up over the years due to miscommunication. Clearly, turning to an objective, trained third party is the way to navigate the troubled couple out of the dangerous waters they have drifted into. It was traditional for yidden to turn to a third party like Aharon HaKohein who was reknown for helping people to live in peaceful co-existence.

Unfortunately, the success of marital therapy in modern day society has not always been so assured. The literature on marriage counseling indicates that it often fails; it takes years of training and hands-on experience for a marital therapist to truly become an objective third party. The therapist learns to see the way into each couple’s core; to zero in on the main issues and finally, the therapist must not be sucked into their way of thinking or be put into a position in which he or she takes sides.

I would like to share a story of two wonderful, kind and loving people. Through a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications they were almost on the verge of divorce, which would have been tragic, since they were perfectly compatible!

From the moment I spoke to Esty I felt her warmth. Her voice had a rich and soft sound that was soothing. I was eager and curious to meet her as she sounded so pleasant on the phone. “I hope you can help us because I don’t know who to turn to. I tried everything, but my marriage is falling apart. Please don’t get me wrong; my husband is really a good, good person. He will buy me anything I want, it’s not about money”. It all came tumbling out in a jumble. “I don’t know if my husband will want to come but I want to. I have to try to save my marriage even though I am almost ready to give up.”

Esty was a well-dressed, attractive, young woman in her late twenties. Despite her pleasant smile, her face bespoke patience and suffering. She told me that she didn’t think anything could help her marriage. She just couldn’t go on living the way she had for the last six years. She remembered her high resolve to be the best wife she could be and to make her husband happy. She was never one to complain or make demands. You see, her parents, both good people, had never gotten along. She wanted to have a special closeness to her husband and for him to be someone who would share her life and someone to talk to. But instead, Yanky, her husband, is withdrawn and rarely talks about what he is feeling. He comes home angry or upset and won’t discuss what is bothering him.

“It’s really so hard for me to talk about him like this, because he is such a good person and constantly does favors. I never have to ask for money; he just gives it to me,” she said tearfully.

Esty felt torn emotionally. She appreciated that Yanky was a good provider and was quite cognizant about the importance of financial security in a marriage. But in every other way, she is living alone with her children. She has no husband. He is almost never home. He comes in for an hour for supper and leaves almost immediately. She never knows when he comes home because she is sleeping by that time. They very rarely get together physically or emotionally. Physical intimacy is often the glue that keeps a marriage together, especially if the couple is having other problems. Missing this ingredient in the marriage can easily destroy it. The weekends were also difficult. On Shabbos, Yanky drank too much in shul. When he came home he was emotionally unavailable. This made the Shabbos seudos unpleasant, the drinking made him belligerent and the children looked at him with frightened eyes. “I would try to smooth over the situation because I like things to be pleasant. I am not someone that can speak up. I hate to complain, so l let everything slide.”

It seemed to me that she was virtually on her own in bringing up her three children. Five year old Ari was getting increasingly more difficult to handle. He worshipped his father who was not around enough to be an effective and loving parent and when he was around, he became livid the minute the kids were mischievous and wanted to slap them.

Esty was sad during the first session. She cried a lot, but she said, ” I try to keep smiling for my children. I don’t want them to see me upset.” After the session, Esty was calmer. She had poured out her heart, but she felt she had betrayed her husband. This was the first time that she told anyone about her sholom bayis problems. I reassured her that she did the right thing and now there was hope that it could be worked through.

Esty called me the next day saying that Yanky was going to call me to make an appointment. He was ready to come in and discuss their problems.

Yanky came in the following week. He was about 30 years old, a tall, well built young man with a trimmed beard, dressed in navy blue slacks and navy sweater with a white shirt. He looked a bit uncomfortable in finding himself in this situation. “No, no I am okay. I don’t mind being here,” he said “I want to do anything to make my wife happy. She is a malach (an angel). She never complains and everything is okay with her. But I really can’t tell her anything. We have nothing to talk about. I don’t blame her, but she is usually too tired to be with me. Anyway, she is not really interested in me, so I leave her alone. She is only interested in the children and too busy to be involved with me. She leaves me alone and I leave her alone; I don’t like to bother her for anything. We go our separate ways. She likes to say Tehillim all the time. I have no patience for that. I work very hard; I am a computer technician and have a store where people bring their computers. It took a lot of hard work to be where I am and to make this kind of money, but I have been working with computers since I am 16 years old and am really good at solving computer problems. Nonetheless, it’s very hard and people drive me crazy sometimes and I feel like telling them off. I have a lot of work related pressures because of this. At night, I go out with my friends a lot because I need to just chill out and I feel restless at home. I have no zits fleish (patience to sit). I have to keep going.”

I felt tremendous empathy for both of them. They were so alone, so isolated from each other. They were trying to reach out to each other but were not equipped with the modalities to do so. I was convinced that with Hashem’s help I could help them find their way back to sharing a life together.

The next session was with the two of them. The first step was that both simultaneously expressed their willingness to work hard at getting closer to each other. Yanky was amazing because he immediately acknowledged that he had to stop coming home so late and that he needed to stop drinking alcohol. Esty began trying to take a nap with the baby during the day so she would not be so tired when Yanky came home. She was to be more awake, alert and attuned to him and not be so preoccupied with the children. Hopefully, he would start feeling less excluded and alone.

I saw Esty and Yanky separately; encouraging and helping them implement their stated goals. It was not easy. Yanky fell back into old patterns and then went back on the wagon. He was embarrassed to say no to his old cronies who couldn’t accept his new behavior at first. Many times Esty had so much to do at home that she didn’t get a chance to nap and was completely exhausted. Slowly the pattern changed as she made a real effort to be there for Yanky. She learned to be more pro-active. In the past, when Yanky called to say he would be late she responded with an angry silence. She learned to request that he be home at a decent time. Strangely enough, this made him feel good, because he felt wanted by her. He had wanted her to need him and to show it! Another important aspect of their life changed when Esty showed him that she was interested in being a wife in every way.

It seemed funny but she really didn’t know his likes and dislikes. He never told her that he hated spaghetti and meatballs. It was something she made once a week and wondered why he never ate it. He had never said, “I don’t like spaghetti; don’t cook that for me.”

After six years of marriage the tragic reality was that they hardly knew each other. My instruction to both of them was get to know each other. In the past she had rejected him or just barely acknowledged him; not even paying any mind to how her icy behavior impacted him. In the past, when he came home in a bad mood, she would ignore him and hope it would blow over. Now, she smiled and said, “Bad day, huh?” and quickly served him supper and sat down with him, while telling the children to go play in the other room and let Tatty eat and relax. Later he would play with them. This was a major change in their marriage.

One day Yanky came in and said, “I have fallen in love with my wife again. I am the luckiest guy in the world. I don’t have to run around. I have found peace in my home.” Esty told me that he had given up alcohol completely and told his old cronies he would not be available to hang out with them. He went so far as to ask them to lose his number! His buddies’ empty chatter, loud laughter and boorish, unrefined behavior were replaced by his glowing beloved wife, Esty. Yanky still worked very hard and often came home 8:00 or even 9:00 o’clock but now the rest of the evening was spent at home; only going out for Maariv. Because the new found time spent with his wife was so meaningful for him, he made an effort to come home earlier so they could eat supper together. The children learned that Mommy and Tatty needed quiet time together and respected it. Shabbos became a day of true menucha. The anger and the shouting were gone. Yanky and Esty began doing things together, like going out to eat once a week and even a game night. They started taking the children to the park or to the zoo on Sundays. Five year old Ari was much calmer because the atmosphere in the home had changed for the better.

In their last session with me there was an incredible glow about them and they were smiling endlessly. “I can’t believe that this happened,” said Esty, “our whole life has changed.” Both Yanky and Esty feel it’s easy to revert back to old and destructive patterns and as such, they work assiduously to maintain this level of giving to each other. It was Yanky who said, “when I give my wife attention or display how much I care about her, I am really giving to myself because she gives me back a hundredfold.” Rabbi Dessler expresses this concept so beautifully. “The best relationship between husband and wife will be obtained when both achieve and practice the virtue of giving. Then their love will never cease and their lives will be filled with happiness and contentment for as long as they live on this earth.

I must say that I did not work hard with this couple. They were incredibly cooperative. They are two normal, well meaning and loving people who had lost their compass and needed to be put back on the right track. I thank Hashem that I was able to be the right shaliach.

Sara Freund, LCSW has been practicing psychotherapy in the frum community for the last 25 years in her private practice. She has been trained in E.M.D.R. and Hypnotherapy. She helps individuals, couples and families with problems such as: Depression, Anxiety, Phobic Fears, Bi-Polar Disorder, and Sholom Bayis problems. She can be reached at 718-692-1650 or you can send a e-mail to sarafreund@yahoo.com.

Title: In-Laws: It’s All Relative

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Title: In-Laws: It’s All Relative

Author: Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD

And Leah Shifrin Averick, LCSW

Publisher: ArtScroll, Shaar Press

 

 

   In-laws: It’s All Relative, a new book by psychiatrist Dr. Abraham Twerski and Leah Shifrin Averick, LCSW, offers insights into common issues affecting all in-laws. They include the first meeting between the new couple and his parents and hers (machatonim), what to call the in-laws, making wedding plans, divided loyalties over where to spend holidays, sibling-in-law relationships, gifts and monetary aid, and others.

 

   In-laws: It’s All Relative describes many of the common situations that might arise as new couples begin their lives together, and aids them in avoiding potential pitfalls. The book is a valuable resource for both teacher and student in bride (kallah) and groom (chattan) classesbefore marriage and would make an appropriate shower gift to start the young couple – and their in-laws – on the right path.

 

   Commonsense advice and humane values in this book combine to ease the transition from individuals to members of a new loving family.

Title: In-Laws: It’s All Relative

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Title: In-Laws: It’s All Relative


Author: Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD


And Leah Shifrin Averick, LCSW


Publisher: ArtScroll, Shaar Press


 


 


   In-laws: It’s All Relative, a new book by psychiatrist Dr. Abraham Twerski and Leah Shifrin Averick, LCSW, offers insights into common issues affecting all in-laws. They include the first meeting between the new couple and his parents and hers (machatonim), what to call the in-laws, making wedding plans, divided loyalties over where to spend holidays, sibling-in-law relationships, gifts and monetary aid, and others.

 

   In-laws: It’s All Relative describes many of the common situations that might arise as new couples begin their lives together, and aids them in avoiding potential pitfalls. The book is a valuable resource for both teacher and student in bride (kallah) and groom (chattan) classesbefore marriage and would make an appropriate shower gift to start the young couple – and their in-laws – on the right path.

 

   Commonsense advice and humane values in this book combine to ease the transition from individuals to members of a new loving family.

Part 16 – Domestic Abuse Checklist

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

In an online article, Lisa Twerski, LCSW, identifies different types of tactics often used by abusers. This is only a partial list, but recognizing even several of these tactics in your own relationship can help you put a name to what has been going on and help clarify events or conversations that until now might have been confusing:

 

Control Through Isolation

Does your spouse (try to) prevent you from spending time with friends or family by either aggressively preventing you or by subtly making it difficult? (For example, does he or she pick a fight, act miserable when everyone gets together, and embarrass you so that you don’t feel it’s worth it, etc.)

Does your spouse watch your every move, calling you several times a day to check up on you?

Do you have to account for every minute of your time, give detailed descriptions of your every move?

Expect you to only do things, go places and get together with people he approves of?

Has he tried to undermine your attempts at schooling or working?

 

Control Through Finances

Are you on a strict budget but your spouse is not? Do you have to account for every penny?

Does your spouse harass you over every expenditure, questioning you endlessly, but expects to be able to make financial decisions as he or she sees fit?

Do you have to hand over any money you make, but don’t actually have access to money, except for what your husband decides to give you?

Do you find yourself lying about or hiding money, because you’re worried that you might not have any when you need it?

 

Control Through Sexual Violence

Does your spouse force you to have relations when you don’t want to, or force you to engage in acts that make you feel uncomfortable?

Does he touch you or force you to have relations during niddah?

Does he criticize you, say that you don’t match up to other women, intimidate, or tell you outright that other women in his life have been much more satisfying?

 

Control Through Emotional Abuse

Does your spouse put you down or call you names?

Does he threaten to harm you, your family, and your children or say that he will take the children away from you?

Does he blame you for everything that goes wrong, including his behavior towards you?

Does he do things purposely to scare you, i.e. driving very fast and dangerously, insisting on allowing the children to do things that he knows you don’t feel are safe, etc.?

Has your spouse ever destroyed things that you cared about, like family photos, personal possessions, in order to ‘punish’ you?

Does he apologize, only to do the same (kind of) thing again? Or does he use an apology as a way to say: this matter is closed; you should be over it now or shut up?

 

Control Through Physical Violence

Does your spouse throw or break things when he or she is angry?

Does he or she punch walls?

Does your spouse block your way, get close and intimidating, and stop just short of physically assaulting you (or that’s what you worry about)?

Does he or she ever push you, hit you or physically harm you in any way?”

 

If you spot any of these signs you can call the Shalom Task Force hotline at 1-888-883-2323. The hotline is confidential and without caller ID to ensure full anonymity for callers.   If you are looking for signs of controlling and abusive behavior, I highly recommend a visit to www.shalomtaskforce.org. Since 1993, Shalom Task Force has been at the forefront of the issue of domestic violence in the Jewish community. Their website is filled with articles that can help victims understand more about the issue.

 

Next week, Part 17:  Breaking the Silence

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com. To order “First Aid For Jewish Marriages” go to www.JewishMarriageSupport.com.

Couples In Crisis

Friday, April 17th, 2009

(*Names were changed.)

Traumatic events are typically unexpected, and uncontrollable. If in the past a person experienced a traumatizing event – even if it’s been long forgotten – the brain will remind them of that time, should something similar take place. Memories to traumatic occurrences lie dormant in the recesses of subconscious memories.

In a domestic crisis experienced by a married couple, one or both spouses may become overwhelmed and vulnerable. If memories of a former traumatic event are triggered by the new crisis, a feeling of helplessness and of being unsafe will resurface – especially if this happens early on in their marriage.

As a result they will perceive the environment and marriage they are presently in as unsafe and in danger. The brain has an “Emotional Radar System” called Fight or Flight. Should a person feel unsafe or in danger the brain will send messages to the body to “get out of the house now!” Or, it may cause them to fight; back yell or scream – do what ever has to be done – to alert the person that they are in danger!

Many couples in crisis will always feel this way and will have problems trusting each other. Anything they say or do will trigger a Fight or Flight exchange, as they perceive their marriage as a re-traumatization of the past.  The “Emotional Radar System” we call the “unconscious” will process the information, and the past and present will become indistinguishable.

I recall a case where a newly married couple – both in their second marriage – was having problems. Between all the pain and blame, they wanted to know what was happening to them. They were frightened that once again they were going to get divorced, and for the most part they were correct. Unless this couple could move through the crisis stages of T.E.A.S. – a program that will provide insights on Traumatization, Exploration, Awareness and Safety, they would, in all likelihood end up divorced.

As we moved to the exploration stage, the husband, Michael* recalled an event he had long forgotten.  He had been about nine and his father gave him a note to deliver to his teacher. Feeling good and proud of himself, Michael handed the note to his teacher. His teacher (for some unexplained reason) took off his belt (a behavior unheard of today) and gave him a beating that he would never forget – or so it seemed. At that moment he felt helpless, and started to cry; he could neither Fight nor Flight. As the years the passed, even though Michael was traumatized by the event he did “forget.”

In time he grew up, and got married. It wasn’t long into the marriage when trust issues started to emerge and he began to fight with his wife Ellen, * a person he loved very much.  Michael ‘s “Emotional Radar System” reminded him: “Hey! You trusted your father, a person you loved so much, and look what happened. Have you forgotten what it felt like to feel helpless and out of control? How can you trust someone that loves you? Ellen loves you – can’t you see you’re in danger!”

Michael’s brain had processed loving someone and being loved by that person (his father), with being hurt and rendered helpless.  He transferred those thoughts and feelings into his relationship with his beloved Ellen. The unconscious brain shouts, “People who love you cannot be trusted not to hurt you and you should start a ‘Fight or Flight’ exchange ASAP. Do what ever you have to do to get back in control. Do something – yell, scream Fight or Flight – run for it. Hey wait one minute! I have a better idea – keep telling yourself you’re just not compatible, and just get divorced!’”

Michael and Ellen tried to convince me they were not compatible when, in reality, they were. They had been wounded in childhood and to needed to heal. However, they did not know how or where to start. Their Emotional Radar Systems did not have this information stored in their memory banks. There was only the “Fight or Flight” response, as Michael stated in the Awareness stage: “The lack of trust is all I have left in order for me to feel in control; I am afraid to give it up.”

But they did give it up, with a lot of hard work on their part. They had to give up the process of anger, hurt, and fear in order to avoid the triggers that had continued to re-traumatize them. As their unconscious minds began to heal, so did their conscious marriage. Baruch Hashem, as the conscious mind became less defensive, the trauma subsided. As a result, they were able to move in to a Safety Stage, and trust each other so that they can learn the communication skills in building Shalom Bayit.

 

Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness for a better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of counseling couples – helping them to communicate effectively and fully appreciate each other.  As a licensed clinical social worker and renowned family therapist, he developed this breakthrough seminar to guide new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage.  Moishe Herskowitz holds a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in couples and marriage therapy.  He is an active member of the New York Counseling Association for marriage and family counseling. T.E.A.M. is endorsed by many prominent rabbanim. To discuss topics from an article, or ask  questions,  contact  CPCMoishe@aol.com or 718-435-7388.  Log on to CPCTEAM.org  to download past articles and for more information about the T.E.A.M. approach.

In-Laws

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

A few years ago I was invited to be a guest on a talk show. An interesting question came up from a young man who wanted some information on the topic of in-laws. He wanted to know if I had ever known of a couple divorcing because of their in-laws. My response was that although divorced people may blame the in-laws for the marriage failure, in most cases this does not happen directly, but indirectly- YES!

Let me explain; it’s important to understand that every newlywed couple wants the same thing in their marriage. That is to have a relationship with their in-laws that consists of L.A. – something we call at T.E.A.M. (L)ove and (A)cceptance. The young couple needs to feel loved and accepted by their new set of parents, otherwise this often becomes a source of tension and strain on the couple’s marriage.

There are several reasons for the difficulties. Such as: 1. the wife’s mother may be very sensitive to the way in which her daughter is treated, because the daughter symbolizes herself, to some degree. 2. The son-in-law’s occupation or lack of it as compared to the father’s. 3. The difference in the husband or wife’s working style may tend to freeze social relationships between the households. It’s interesting to note that when in-laws feel grudgingly that they are forced to accept the new couple, it often has an effect on the young couple’s relationship.

When working with couples, I have a 1 to 10 Assessment Scale of the L.A. (level of the in-law relationship), 1 being lowest and 10 being the highest. If this level is too high I find that couples will blame and say hurtful things to each other and not even know why.

In-laws are often not aware of the transference that takes place if they show any signs of the 4 R’s Resistance, Resentment, Rejection and finally Repression. Repression is the most dangerous stage of them all, when it seems to husband or wife that the in-laws no longer love them. We call this stage numbing when the couple and their families no longer feel anything towards each other.

Over the years in analyzing the cause and effect of in-law friction, I have come to the realization that the individual’s reaction to his/ her parents indirectly affects the way spouses communicate with each other. The process takes place in unconscious or semiconscious motive.

What takes place is that the self-directed hostility directed toward an in-law may shift toward a spouse who is a safer target or less dangerous adversary.

In plain English what this means is that the relation to one’s in-laws may rest on frustration or substitute reaction toward a new stimulus.

It is of the greatest importance for in-laws to have an understanding that Happy in-laws = happy relationships, then happy relationships = much joy and Shalom Bayit in the young couple’s marriage.

T.E.A.M. is endorsed by many prominent Rabbanim. If there are any topics you would like me to discuss in my articles, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at CPCMoishe@aol.com or at 718-435-7388. You can also log on to CPCTEAM.org to download past articles and for more information about the T.E.A.M. approach.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education and Awareness for a better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of counseling couples – helping them to communicate effectively and fully appreciate each other. As a licensed clinical social worker and renowned family therapist, he developed this breakthrough seminar to guide new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage. Moishe Herskowitz holds a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in couples and marriage therapy. He is also a graduate professor in Touro College’s Mental Health Program.

Parenting Matters

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Note to readers: This continuing series of op-ed and parenting columns addresses matters related to what is taking place in the Catskills. Should you have any parenting questions on these topics, or if you would like me to address a specific aspect of raising at-risk teens, please e-mail me at comments@rabbihorowitz.com.

You see a small plastic bottle of Visine or other brands of eye drops in the room of your teen son or daughter. He/she seems to have lingering colds and reddish eyes. You must have misplaced some cash in the house (several times, in fact) over the past few months. Your adolescent son or daughter begs off family simchahs, and his/her last report card was a disaster. Obviously, any one or two of these factors could be completely harmless. But in the aggregate, they are often signs of impending substance abuse issues. Parents of at-risk adolescents need to become more knowledgeable about these symptoms.

Your parents didn’t know any of this? You are offended at the notion that you need to think in these terms? Deal with it, as the kids would say. But become a knowledgeable and hands-on parent, as it is by far your best shot at guiding your at-risk child through this stormy phase in his/her life. Your involvement in your child’s life is perhaps the greatest predetermining factor as to your child riding out the storm and getting back on track to a productive future.

What are some of the symptoms of kids addicted to drugs? I asked Dr. Benzion Twerski, an outstanding mental health professional specializing in substance abuse treatment, to prepare a list of symptoms. Here are the symptoms he suggested parents should look for:

While other factors can cause many of these symptoms, these are behaviors and activities typical of individuals who are substance abusers:

• Sudden changes in mood, attitudes, or vocabulary – impulsive behavior.

• Sudden and continuing decline in attendance or performance at work or in school.

• Sudden and continuing resistance to discipline at home or in school.

• Impaired relationships with family members or friends.

• Unusual flares of temper.

• Increased amount and frequency of borrowing money from family and friends.

• Stealing from the home, at school, or in the workplace.

• Denial of having a drug problem.

• Heightened secrecy about actions and possessions.

• Association with a new group of friends, especially with those who use drugs or exhibit similar lifestyles.

• Having physical symptoms of drug abuse – such as red eyes, dilated pupils, constricted pupils, sleepiness, chronic runny nose, scars, or needle marks.

• Keeping long hours away from home, especially at night and on weekends.

• Neglecting personal health, and unexplained medical symptoms – such as weight loss and pallor.

• Sudden and continuing change in appearance and manner of dress, especially when contrasting to family patterns.

• Experiencing trouble in the handling of responsibilities.

So what now?

If you are starting to connect the dots, and feel that you may have signs of potential substance abuse with your teenager, it is important for you to proceed slowly and with much reflection. Please don’t overreact or impulsively attempt to “get your child back on track.” The circumstances that created this situation did not occur overnight, nor will they magically disappear. Seek professional guidance as to the steps you should take, and the pace in which you should take them.

I strongly believe that any teenager who is addicted to drugs is a choleh sheyesh bosakanah (one who has a potentially life-threatening illness). A child like this needs a professional drug rehabilitation center, not a yeshiva. You would not consider removing a stage-four cancer patient (G-d forbid) from a hospital in order to send him to a yeshiva. To quote Dr. Twerski, “Alcohol and drug abuse is a disease. It is a fatal illness that begins with casual or experimental use of a chemical for its mind-altering effects. It rapidly becomes an addiction, which involves loss of control over the substance or behavior, and eventually leads to self-destructiveness.”

It is important to understand that drug use also follows a continuum, from experimentation to regular use to dependency and addiction. Not everyone who smokes marijuana is a hard-core addict. But if your child is addicted to drugs, please seek professional help immediately. And seek the help of people who are trained specifically in the field of substance abuse addiction. A rabbi has a crucial and significant role in assisting an addicted child or adult. He can offer moral support, spiritual guidance, and answer any halachic questions that will inevitably arise as a result of the treatment of the addiction. Rabbis (this writer included), however, and yeshivas are not professionally equipped to deal with or heal people who are addicts. If you are not sure if your child falls into the category of a hard-core user, please go to a trained professional for his or her advice.

The YATZKAN Center, founded by Debbie Jonas, recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY under the auspices of FEGS. They offer inpatient and outpatient treatment for addicted teens – with a fully kosher program. Their clinical director, Lew Abrams, LCSW, CASAC, is highly trained in the arena of treating drug addiction. I am familiar with their work, and highly recommend their services for teens and adults who have addiction problems.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, if your child is addicted to drugs, this is a life-or-death matter. Too many of our precious children have died of drug overdoses for you to worry about what the neighbors will think or just hope things will improve. If you even suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, please contact YATZKAN immediately and find out what you can do to save his/her life – before it’s too late!

Contact information: YATZKAN Center: 718-282-2504; www.yatzkan.org. Dr. Benzion Twerski: 718-437-4118; btwerski@gmail.com. Lew Abrams: LAbrams@fegs.org.

Money Values

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

In marriage, money tends to mean different things to different people. Unfortunately, for some, money repre­sents more than economic security. It becomes a symbol for CPR — Control, Power and (self) Respect. In so many of the cases I work with, money is related to unresolved childhood issues — childhood needs and yearnings that were not met. In many cases, children who had a problem­atic childhood will enter into an adult relationship with a powerful need for control. This is often played out through money. Issues involving money will often mask deeper core issues for the fulfillment of childhood yearnings.

As adults, some people feel they must handle the fi­nances in order to preserve their sense of importance and dominance in the family. In my own research with couples, I have found that if a man or woman’s position in the fami­ly can be maintained only by power, he or she wields control of the money. As one man said in my office, “As long as I hold the purse strings, I have the last word!” What is sad is that after the divorce, his family wanted nothing to do with him or his money. The fact that he felt he was controlling the money for their own good was of little significance.

How does this process begin? Many psychologists feel that the early stages of childhood, ages birth to six, are the most crucial years in developing positive self-es­teem. During these stages, the child needs to feel secure and connected to his caregivers. The important parental task is to notice and acknowledge the child’s needs. The child wants to be visible and be recognized as an individual. This visibility is very much needed so that he/she can feel control of his/her life.

When my children were younger, they would often play dress up. They would put on our clothes and make believe they were mommy and daddy. Once, they got hold of some of my tools and played Bob and Prim, two mainte­nance workers in the building we lived in. Back then, when we had a TV, they would dress up as Batman or Power Rangers, and my wife and I would say “Wow! You are Power Rangers!” It was fun and they felt good to be in control as they got lost in their make believe world. They did this because they wanted to be somebody. They wanted to feel special and have recognition.

Many parents only take the opportunity occasionally, for example on Purim, to acknowledge how cute and spe­cial their kids are. It is not that they are neglectful par­ents. It is just that they are too tired, too stressed, too angry, too worried about what school to send their kids to, etc. Parents today are running on overdrive to make sure that they are always available! Instead of acknowledging the children for who they are, they criticize and judge them for who they are not! In time the child will start a process called negative self-esteem. The child does not feel good about himself or in control of his life. Without positive self-esteem, the child’s emotional growth is affected.

Nothing they do will ever be enough for them.

As they move into adulthood, they will do whatever is necessary in a relationship to obtain CPR — Control, Power and self-Respect, in hopes that it will make them feel better.

“Money” and “Self-esteem” are two of 21 topics that I discuss with the brides and grooms in my Pre-Marital En­hancement program, using the T.E.A.M. approach (To­rah Education and Awareness for a better Marriage).

If there are any topics you would like me to discuss in my articles, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at CPCMoishe@aol.com or at 718-435­-7388. You can also log on to CPCTEAM.org to download past articles and for more information about the T.E.A.M. approach.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness For A Better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of coun­seling couples – helping them to communicate effectively and fully appreciate each other. As a licensed and highly certi­fied social worker and renowned family therapist, he devel­oped this breakthrough seminar to guide new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage. Moishe Herskowitz holds a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in couples and marriage therapy. He is an active member of the New York Counseling Association for marriage and family counseling. Mr. Herskowitz can be reached at 718­-435-7388.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/money-values/2007/06/05/

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