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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘LCSW’

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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