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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Touro College’

A Lesson In Self-Control

Wednesday, September 12th, 2001

The objective of Pre-Marital Counseling is for couples to learn new skills on how to improve commu­nication, and resolve conflicts creatively. It would seem logical that the parents of these couples have learned from being together and through a lot of tough times that good communication is the single most important aspect of a satisfying relationship.

Take the case of Yoni and Dina, ages 22 and 19. The couple was referred to me by a leading rav in the community. Both Chassan and Kallah came from excep­tionally fine families and yeshiva backgrounds. Yoni was accepted to dental school and Dina was still in school. The wedding was only weeks away and the couple was getting a little nervous. As with all couples, I did a short intake and assessment in our first meeting.

Yoni’s personality is easy going — he likes quiet, uninterrupted time alone for reflecting, reading and studying new subjects.

Dina’s personality is outgoing — she likes people, she’s warm and friendly, and she likes organizing projects and events.

After the fifth session, I wished the happy couple Mazel Tov and off they went into the “sunset”!

It wasn’t until three months later, as I was rush­ing to get a haircut, that I met Dina standing outside the barbershop waiting for Yoni to finish his haircut. The timing was perfect. With every couple I do a three-month follow up. As we talked about married life, Dina explained that “Yoni is very busy in school and I knew how hard he was studying, but since he started school we never talked! It was just Yoni and that book! We didn’t go out anymore be­cause that would be a waste of study time.” But, as time passed, Dina said “I started feeling lonely. Yoni noticed that I was get­ting moody but said noth­ing, and with time, I started getting angry at him. The loneliness scared me, all I wanted to do was to release this rage of anger. But if I did, Yoni could no longer study. As I was just about to breakdown and cry, Baruch Hashem, I noticed that refrigerator magnet you gave us in our last session. It stated that ‘It’s not what you say, but how you say it’ and with that, I remembered what we talked about. At that moment, with all my strength, I stopped myself. I needed to talk to Yoni, not yell or cry. I did the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life, I waited until the next day. At that point, I was calm and relaxed enough to talk to Yoni. We took turns talking and listening to each other, as you taught us. We discussed our preferences and what I was feeling, and for the first time I felt that he was listening, which made me feel so much better!”

In the spring of ’76, Rabbi Moish Chait, shlita, stated in one of his lecture series at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim that “Hashem held back a part of Himself in order to create the world. When a spouse holds back anger as a form of self control, that couple merits the Shechina to rest upon them.”

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage coun­selor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the coun­seling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 718-435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

CPC — Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is en­dorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Commitment Phobia

Tuesday, August 21st, 2001

People are not all the same. We have different energy levels, make decisions based on different criteria, and structure our lives in different ways, depending on what makes us most comfortable. But if you’re in a com­mitment-phobic relationship, it’s important that you gain some insight on your partner’s comfort zone and how he/she functions in the world. According to psychologist Carl Jung, people are born with preferences, and how we bal­ance and use these preferences is what makes up a good part of our personality. Most people are balanced between two of these preference types called Judging and Perceiv­ing.

The Judging Types like things to be settled, finish­ed, out of the way, and want the tension off their minds. They are often organizers and planners. Perceiving Types like to keep their options open as long as possible. They have a “let’s wait and see” attitude. To alleviate tension, they may avoid making decisions.

The Commitment-Phobic individual is balanced at 90% perceiving and 10% judging. It’s like having a scale that is tipped over too much to one side. If this should happen, they can often feel trapped by pressure, obliga­tion and commitment. They are frequently likable, adaptable and charming people, always on the lookout for some new adventure or experience. They want their freedom and dislike being controlled. One of the key factors for commitment-phobics is closure. They keep collecting new information rather than drawing conclusions. Only when they have looked at all of the possibili­ties are they likely to settle down and get married.

Baruch Hashem, this past Labor Day was my wed­ding anniversary. When I was single, I thought I would never get married. If it wasn’t for my mother, a”h, I would still be single, even today. At age 31 and almost engaged, I was still looking for excuses to back out. But my mother, who had tremendous insight as to what I was feeling, sat next to me and explained that you have to move on to the next stage in life — a level of growth that can only be obtained through marriage and not to be avoided. You are about to marry a wonderful girl and in all probability, she will be your ezer kenegdo. Hashem has sent her to you so that you can balance the scale back to where it belongs. If your are good to her, you will reach a level of growth that you never thought possible.”

I didn’t understand what my mother was talk­ing about, but I did listen! And she was right. Seven­teen years and three children later, I still wake up in the middle of the night and look at my wife and chil­dren while they’re sleeping. I still can’t believe I’m married! What I did to deserve to have such a good wife and children is beyond me, but I thank Hashem every night for making it happen.

In pre-marital and marital counseling, the aware­ness of type preferences creates the greatest challenge for couples in establishing satisfying relationships and shalom bayis.

Moishe Herskowitz’ M.S., C.S.W., is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Ser­vices at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education. For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435­7388 or at CPCMoishe@aol.com.

Avoiding Domestic Abuse

Wednesday, June 27th, 2001

The term “domestic abuse” refers to a cycle of de­structive thoughts, feelings and actions that often in­volve power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. The batterers believe they are entitled to control their partners through emotional, eco­nomic and sexual abuse. They often use children to manipulate their spouses. The three cycles of domestic abuse are as follows:

1. The Tension Stage in which the wife denies her anger and believes she can control the situation by withdrawing so not to get her husband angry — because anything can set him off (it’s like walking on egg­shells).

2. The Explosion Stage. He doesn’t understand his anger. He knows his rage is out of control and yet does not want to hurt her.

3. The Honeymoon Stage. The husband is remorseful and fears she will leave him. He says he is sorry and that he loves her. He convinces her that he’s sincere and for that moment he really is — until the cycle starts again!

I was at a wedding many years ago when I noticed that the chassan’s rav, who was also the mesader kedushin, was holding on to his coat the entire time that he was under the chuppah. Except for the groom and myself, no one seemed to notice. After the chuppah was over, the crowd rushed the newlywed couple into a pri­vate room while singing and dancing. I knew the rav, so I stayed behind to ask him a few questions. In a joking, roundabout way, I said, the way you were holding on to your coat, it seemed as if you were ready to leave!”

But the rav wasn’t laughing. He seemed a little upset. He began to explain that he knew the boy for many years. He was a bright boy with many good midos (quali­ties), but when he didn’t get what he wanted, he got angry and could go into an uncontrollable rage, some­thing that he witnessed himself first hand. “I don’t know the kallah very well, but she seems nice. But in a few days, her life will change, unfortunately, not for the better.”

The rav then went on to say, “I had to do some­thing. As the chuppah began, the crowd turned to the kallah walking down the aisle and I turned to chassan and said, “If you don’t promise me right here and now that you will never raise your voice or your hand against this girl, I am taking my coat and walking out!” The chassan was in shock and began to plead with me not to leave. T11 do anything’ he said. But only when he promised, did I decide to stay.”

I’ll always remember that rav’s famous words that night. Now, that’s pre-marital counseling!

A year later, I met the very same rav again. He shared with me a follow up session that he had with that young man. The young man came to visit him in order to thank him. He said to him, You have no idea how many times I wanted to ‘teach my wife a lesson’ and really hurt her! But I stopped myself and remembered what you did and what I promised. Because I stopped myself, I was able to work on my anger and, Baruch Hashem, we have a much better marriage.”

In a private session I had with the rav, he advised me to always see the chassan and kallah together for pre-marital counseling, something I have been doing ever since.

Rabbi Shimshon Pincus, z”l, stated in his lectures on building your own bais hamikdash, When a person recognizes his yechidah (his own deep self) and know­ingly stops himself from his own anger and remains si­lent so as not to hurt the other person, he will merit to see that wonderful light that no creation or angel can ever imagine.”

In Pre-Marital Counseling, prevention is what it’s all about. Old cognitive patterns are replaced with more effective ones. Communication, anger and problem solv­ing are but a few of the 18 topics that are discussed at great length. •

Rabbi Pikus of C0J0 of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the IVY community endorse CPC ­Center for Pre-Marital Counseling.

Pre-Marital Counseling: The Fear Of Giving

Wednesday, June 6th, 2001

The transition from single to married living necessi­tates many changes and adjustments. The success of the couple depends upon what each brings to the marriage. What may seem positive to one partner may be perceived as negative to the other partner. This failure in perception is one of the primary causes of marital friction and break­down.

A few weeks ago, a mother of a newlywed couple called me for help. She stated that her son Shimon, who recently got married, became ill. With all the blood tests that were done, they still didn’t know what was wrong. He had al­ways been healthy. He married a wonderful girl from a fine family. She had the feeling that something was both­ering him, but he wouldn’t speak to anyone. When I asked her, “What makes you think he will speak to me?” she an­swered that, “He doesn’t have a choice.” His rav called him and explained that he now recommends pre-marital coun­seling to all chassans and kallahs, something that he did not do in the past. Since a couple in their first year of mar­riage (shanah rishona) is still considered chassan and kallah, it would be to their benefit to attend.

Three days later the young couple (Esti and Shimon) were sitting in my office. Although Shimon did not look interested, I explained that the five sessions of pre-marital counseling would be an opportunity to gain valuable in­sights about one’s self and one’s partner. When I stated in session three that, “How you learn to give and receive is a determining factor in a growing meaningful marriage,” Esti seemed confused. She stated that someone in her family instructed her not to give at all because if you give a man too much, he will grow indefinitely dependent on you. You will be locked in that role of giving and your turn will never come. Men must be trained and broken in from the very start. Shimon could not believe what he was hear­ing! He thought Esti was not giving or doing anything for him because she was just not capable and that he married the wrong person. At this point, Esti started crying and said, “How was I to know? I just did as I was told.”

Rebbetzin Fink states in her lecture series to kallahs that, “Marriage is not a training ground. Husbands do not get trained. Marriage is about growth and you grow best in an environment of unconditional acceptance.”

Thanks to a very resourceful mother and a smart rav, by the time the fifth session was over, the couple was well on their way to restoring shalom bayis.

When I met with Rav Pam, zt”l, regarding pre- mari­tal counseling at CPC, he stated that this program should be an extension of every chassan and kallah class.

CPC —Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage coun­selor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the coun­seling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.  For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at (718) 435­7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

Pre-Marital Counseling: To Go Or Not To Go

Wednesday, May 16th, 2001

What is the difference between pre-marital and mar­ital counseling? People come to marital counseling with an existing problem. Each partner in the relationship is now occupied with getting his/her needs met, not the partner’s. They have forgotten how to share, solve, and support each other in their relationship.

At The Center For Pre-Marital Counseling, CPC, couples come for pre-marital counseling to learn how to optimally relate. There are no problems, no therapy, no psychological testing, and no groups. This counseling is educational in nature. The couple learns about the importance of anticipating each other’s needs, and that good communication skills are the single most important aspect in a good marriage.

Take the case of Yossi (not his real name), a 21 year old graduating senior at Touro College. He was an excel­lent student, had just gotten married, and was still learn­ing in Yeshiva. Yossi came to my office at Touro College where I work as the counseling coordinator, asking for help with his resume. When Yossi became engaged, I had asked him to consider pre-marital counseling. Yossi just laughed it off as a cute idea.

As we now talked in a friendly, joking manner, I asked Yossi how married life was treating him. At this point, Yossi got very serious and said, “I’m not sure. My wife Rivky cried most of the night.” Yossi explained that his Rosh Yeshiva had told him of a position that was now available in a small, out-of-town yeshiva. He could start out as a Rebbe and, in time, possibly become the Menahel and principal of the school. “I was so excited,” said Yossi, “that I couldn’t wait to tell my wife the good news! I was ready to move.”

Although they tried to talk about it, communication between Yossi and Rivky was not good. Their inability to reach each other only made things worse. Yossi was feel­ing hurt and unsupported. Rivky withdrew, which made Yossi feel undermined and angry.

I asked Yossi to bring Rivky to my office so that they could talk as a couple. At first they were both a little ner­vous, but as we spoke, they soon relaxed. I explained that two individuals could develop the potential and skills to understand themselves and each other’s needs and expec­tations. When they returned the next day, I did a short intake and assessment on both of them.

Rivky’s preferences were realistic, practical and re­sponsible. She wanted a more stable, predictable life style where she could first settle down, save money, and raise a family in the community she grew up in. Yossi, on the other hand, felt that, “I like things that are open and flexi­ble with visions of possibilities.”

Rabbi Shmuel Dishon stated in one of his lectures to new grooms: “Each one of us is a unique personality whom we have to understand, accept and appreciate.” Good communication is essential for problem-solving, sharing infor­mation, and mutual support. For Yossi and Rivky we be­gan with the technique of Understanding, Acceptance and Appreciation as a key factor in becoming sensitive to the other spouse.

Yossi and Rivky began to have more insight, compassion and support for each other. They started to appreci­ate and understand what each other’s uniqueness and personality had to offer, and how to work together to achieve the same goals.

The Torah (Bereishis2:24) states that a husband and wife are considered “one”. Understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for each other’s personality will enable a hus­band and wife to communicate as a harmonious team.

Prevention Insurance

Yossi and Rivky regretted that they had not gone for pre-marital counseling. It scared them to think what could have happened if Yossi and I had not met. A prob­lem that could have taken years to correct could have eas­ily been avoided in just a few sessions at CPC.

The Center for Pre-Marital Counseling offers a tre­mendous opportunity for learning and growth with a wide range of related topics, helping couples to achieve mean­ingful relationships.

I recently met with Rav Pam, shlita, and he expressed that, “This program should be part of the curriculum of every chassan and kallah class.”

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Marty Herskowitz at Ladino23@aol.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/pre-marital-counseling-to-go-or-not-to-go/2001/05/16/

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