Sunday, February 3, 2013

Emotional abuse: Producing overly fragile children

One of the consequences of my recently being threatened by criminal charges if I didn't remove certain postings - was that I was directed to someone who has much experience dealing with the Israeli police. After this askan gave me some good advice, the conversation turned to identifying the important concerns of our society. He said after I had already written a book on the topic of sexual abuse - he felt that the next major issue I should address is emotional abuse. He deals with children who go off the derech in the chareidi society in Israel. He said while there definitely are abusive parents - his main concern was the abuse that occurs in the school system - especially from well meaning staff that are not properly trained and who fail to treat the students with proper respect and dignity.

I have discussed this with a number of other people since and they agree that this is an important issue to clarify and try and correct. Consequently I have added this on to my daily research and writing as well as discussions with Dr  Shulem. Hopefully in a year or two I will have book on the subject.

My preliminary research however indicates that it is not simply that there are adults who are causing emotional damage to children. It is clear that in the last 10 years - there has been a tremendous reorientation in society in the direction of protecting children from upset and failure. There are psychologists and social workers everywhere who are pointing out how the children are being hurt and how we must change the nature of society to prevent that hurt.

What seems to lost in the mad rush not to cause pain - is that the children are being made more vulnerable to pain and that people are viewing a pain free existence as an entitlement.

So in addition to investigating what is the dynamic of abuse. I am also investigating the question of this change in attitude of society - even the traditional chareidi society - towards removing all unpleasant experiences and not exposing a child to failure or trauma of any sort.

This issue was recently raised by the Rabbi Manis Friedman tapes about abuse. Rabbi Manis is clearly a caring individual - but he was saying that we need to get past the abuse. The victim needs to be concerned about the future not the pain of the past. Even though I didn't like the way he said it - he was correct. 

There is much evidence that therapy for trauma does not help and in fact exacerbates the trauma by constantly focusing on it. There is much evidence that perhaps 50% of people are not seriously traumatized by horrific experiences. This observation led Dr. Viktor Frankl to develop logotherapy.

In short, we have two ways to approach emotional trauma. We can search ways to remove trauma from our children's lifes or we can teach them to deal with trauma and failure as part of normal existence. In other words we can either bullet proof our children or we can try and create a trauma free environment.

79 comments:

  1. I've long believed that there has been far too much emphasis on teaching loshon hara, at the expense of
    o'naas devarim, an almost forgotten negative mitzvah. Harmful words, parent to child, sibling to sibling, teacher to pupil, are common, every day occurrences, and nobody even thinks that this negative d'raysah mitzvah is being transgressed. Nobody ever talks about this mitzvah. Cynicism, bad behavior, and off the derech children are the outcome.

    I also very much agree with your comment about Rabbi Manis Friedman. Much of the outspoken criticism has been unfair and over the top. He actually had some positive things to say in both videos, although I do agree there were some key mistakes. I actually believe that rachamim is a two way street.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    "One of the consequences of my recently being threatened by criminal charges if I didn't remove certain postings - was that I was directed to someone who has much experience dealing with the Israeli police. After this askan gave me some good advice, the conversation turned to identifying the important concerns of our society. He said after I had already written a book on the topic of sexual abuse - he felt that the next major issue I should address is emotional abuse."

    Hmm.....Hopefully you can first write a book about being falsely accused and how that happened. It would make a fascinating read.

    Hopefully too, you will get more than just advice about what your next book should be about, after all you did not go looking for a "book agent", you wanted to know how to brush off unjustified threats from the Israeli police.

    Keep your eye on the ball as they say.

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  3. I do not believe that it is ill focused to remove the use of shame and rejection as disciplinary tools from our school systems (and our homes). The chinuch system has adapted to a fundamental principle found in public education - that of givinig priority status to the dynamics of conformity and compliance. And the rub is that Shlomo Hamelech, in his edict of "Chanoch lenaar al pi darko" makes it clear that the direction in true chinuch is exactly the opposite. Spoken words are hurtful, and the echoes can last a lifetime. Parents are not trained to raise children. But rebbeim and teachers are entering a "profession" with zero training. We have yeshivos and schools that claim to know better than parents (alone a serious problem), and lack the basic concern for the individual talmid's needs. Yes, this is a universal indictment of yeshivos. I tasted it several times, and I have worked with the system to try and fix it. There is greater awareness, but little to no movement. We lack the gedolim whose direction on this will be heeded.

    Emotional abuse is a far greater contributor to the OTD phenomenon than any the form of abuse. I say this with the background to make such pronouncement. I support the investigation and exploration into this. And I join in tefilo that this will yield positive change in our chinuch of our precious children.

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  4. DT: "... The victim needs to be concerned about the future not the pain of the past."

    This resembles statements made by Rabbi Friedman. This statement, on its face, is factually false; perhaps it can be corrected by a more careful choice of terminology. The issue is important, because the vast majority of laymen, among whom sufferers live, believe what the statement says on its face, and thereby treat sufferers with inadvertent cruelty.

    For a sufferer for whom the primary traumatogenic events are in the past, the experienced trauma-pain is neither in the past nor of the past, notwithstanding that a cofactor in its activation is instatement of memory-content which was recorded in the past. The experienced trauma-pain is distinctly in the present, and it is activated by cofactors in the present which are inacessible to the sufferer's mere force of will. The sufferer has no choice but to be "concerned" about the pain, and the pain is commonly so acute as to displace other possible "concerns" from his attention.

    The prevalent layman's belief that the sufferer should just "get over dwelling on the tragedy of the past" (ask some Israeli veterans!) is such a catastrophic and tangibly hurtful misconception that it deserves to be explicitly condemned, as such, by our rabbinic leaders.

    Over the past week I had occasion to discuss this carefully with several (n = approx. 20) people whose "official" diagnoses are either PTSD, C-PTSD or BPD with known traumatic etiology, and who found Rabbi Friedman's remarks highly offensive. Upon reflection, all of them believed he belonged to the class of naive laymen, who have no (halakhic) business whatsoever speaking about the subject as though authoritatively.

    [Note to RaP: Is it possible you are committing this error?]

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    1. I am trying to point out that a serious event such as rape or being in a car crash or concentration campe does not always produce trauma or at least not in the same way in all individuals. For thos who have been traumatized then I agree that it is not simply something they can make disappear by not thinking about it.

      Amongst those who have been traumatized - does focusing on it always make it better and is that a necessary condition for recovery or does directing thought elsewhere is more beneficial or repression help?.

      I spoke two years ago with the the head of a major organization dealing with sexual abuse and who told me that in his experience 50% of those who have been sexually abused - do not exhibit trauma.

      So there are a number of issues 1) does the abuse always produce trauma? 2) is it always desirable to get the person to talk about his abuse? 3) if a person is definitely experiencing pain and anguish is talking about that the best and only way to get over it?

      In other words do you think Rabbi Friedman would have trouble finding n=20 people who have been abused who report his approach being helpful and who report that going to a therapist and being asked to talk about their trauma was not helpful?

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    2. DT, I understand. Whether in terms of the literature or in terms of anecdotal evidence that I could supply myself, your 50% statistic is not farfetched. (Hence the recent turn in research toward studying "resilience" and cofactors.)

      Re. your #2: "Talking about one's abuse" is another equivocal notion that, IMO, needs to be handled carefully. It can mean either (a) talking about the structure of one's symptoms as they occur and evolve, or (b) talking about one's abuse-related biography in various contexts. I will not comment on (b) -- I think there's much room for competent discussion about it. (a), however, is both therapeutically and humanly distinct -- a human should always be able to say "this is what I am experiencing right now and I seek to understand it".

      Re. Rabbi Friedman (as well as all kiruv rechokim that I have seen), IMO the important question is whether someone competent is performing the "triage" function, given that vulnerable people are manifestly over-represented among kiruv clientele. An important subpopulation of trauma victims that is often overlooked are those who successfully repress, e.g. by somatization, until later life. Another subpopulation of concern would be BPD sufferers who get by with 'apparent competence'. Bais Chana has operated for long enough that, in priniciple, we could investigate whether subpopulations such as these have, in fact, been served well.

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    3. a while back, on Rav Harry Myle's blog, he had someone guest post. the person was an expert on dealing with trauma victims. in response to a question that i asked he listed some of the factors that are involved in getting over sexual abuse of children. i don't remember all of them, sadly. one of them was the severity of the abuse. there is abuse and there is abuse. another factor (and a critical one) was the reaction of the parents the moment when they were told (by the child) that something happened. disbelief, accusations of lying (ya'ani "how could say that about such a qadosh!") are devastating. he stressed that while a parent doesn't have to believe every word, they do have to be totally supportive of the child.

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    4. Mr. Waxman: Yes. The human environments peritraumatically must be neither emotionally neglectful nor emotionally abusive. Simple to say, surprisingly hard to achieve.

      If one thinks of childhood traumatic grief rather than the trauma of abuse, I think there's a "bridge" to "כל אלמנה ויתום, לא תענון", and perhaps some insight.

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  5. Of course we need to teach children how to deal with failure and difficulties, but it's an empirical question what works in this regard. Some people would say, well we need to toughen up children so let's be very harsh with them and let them get used to it! In America this is common among men influenced by macho conceptions of masculinity, who try to get their three-year old toddler sons to stop being such "momma's boys" and such and stop crying. This kind of approach is probably very harmful, but again it's an empirical question.

    You may be interested in perusing Rabbi Shalom Arush's recently published book on childrearing (Garden of Education). He argues very forcefully against yelling at, micromanaging and stressing out children, emphasizing that harsh parenting can damage their souls and make it very difficult for them to cope with life. While we can't shield children from any upset, raising them in a calm environment without and yelling and hitting and berating, this probably allows them to have an even temperment and reduces the incidence of anxiety and depression.

    One psychological theory I think is very helpful -- and very well documented empirically -- is self-efficacy. When children are taught to do particular difficult tasks and have "mastery experiences," they develop specific self-efficacy but also generalized self-efficacy -- the belief in themselves, that they can learn and master complex skills, and more generally accomplish things.

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  6. " Rabbi Shalom Arush's recently published book on childrearing (Garden of Education)."

    Agreed!

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  7. R Eidonsohn,

    I would suggest reading two important books which I found very useful and sensible in relation to child rearing:

    1. Children: The Challenge : The Classic Work on Improving Parent-Child Relations--Intelligent, Humane & Eminently Practical by Rudolf Dreikurs (I believe there are problems with this approach but some of the ideas are very very good and develop a lot of independence and resilience in children. For some of the problems I belive exist, see this link: http://www.amotherinisrael.com/adler-alternative-gordon-neufeld/

    2. Carol Dweck Mindset

    The other major challenge I think that exists within the chareidi world is giving children the space to become themselves, to search for themselves, express their own selves rather than forcing them to think and behave like everyone else. That space for self, and defining oneself is becoming smaller and smaller as we move to more and more chumros.

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  8. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    1. Rabbi Manis Friedman's comments weren't merely clumsy. In the pursuit of a rhetorical goal he trashed the suffering and injustice and frequent ongoing psychological issues of those who were abused. Perhaps he didn't mean and he was merely grossly insensitive. That is the best that can be said. However, pointing to resilience variation is irrelevant. Yes, some do better than others. But, in the aggregate, there is a large body of research on the damaging effects including many who never processed their experience with mental health workers.

    Again, re education, the golden mean is sensitivity and kindness coupled with rigor and standards and honest but usually gentle feedback.

    I see no need to make this either/or. It is also unfair to allow the defenders of insensitivity to jump on the bandwagon of blaming coddling. Coddling is not a major problem in haredi schooling.

    A serious consideration of schooling has to include the competition among schools for elite status which shuts out weaker and lower status students all as an extention of the status and shidduch competition of adults. Many children correctly percieve that neither authentic Jewish values, nor their educational needs are driving the pressures that are in turn imposed on them. It is hardly surprising that a signficant segment rebels.

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    1. you raise many valuable points - which can't be satisfactorily answered with one liners. Nevertheless I will start with that

      Rabbi Manis Friedman gave a presentation which should never have been made public on youtube. What he said is something that is only relevant for a direct one on one encounter where the relationship is such that it will perceived as a caring sharing of wisdom rather than a put down and devaluation of one's painful experience. That means that what he said was correct but the context is missing from the video - and therefore was not understood the way he meant it.

      Nevertheless the points he was trying to made are important ones that need to be made. Therapeutic intervention - especially that which requires reliving the trauma and perhaps recovering the trauma for the sake of catharsis is itself problematic. As my recent post shows there are treatments for trauma that don't require focusing on the trauma but rather on the present moment as well as the future. These treatments seem in fact to be more successful. Repressing and forgetting is often therapeutic - unless the person is repeatedly told that he will never be able to function without extensive psychotherapy. In some cases it is true but in many cases trauma counselling doesn't help and in fact makes things worse.

      This issue requires more research - but the knee jerk condemnation and trashing of Rabbi Friedman was uncalled for. It is clearly part of the pendulum where society has gone from ignoring abuse to obsessing about it.

      He was clearly not suggesting insensitivity but rather the use of mature encouragment - with a bit of humor (yes humor helps in trauma situation. Jews have been using this for centuries). Encouraging self-pity is not necessarily a sign of caring.

      Regarding coddling - yes it has come or is coming to chareidi schools. One of my sons learned in Ponovitzh and he said in the old days the emphasis was on toughness - midas hadin. He said he sees in Ponoitzh as well as many other schools in Israel a decided turn towards protecting kids from stress as well as therapeutic interventions and invidualization which was unheard of 5 or ten years ago. Not only psychologically but the type of Torah learning and questioning has been dumbed down so as not to cause anxiety and trauma. There is greater emphasis on memorization and spitting back what the teacher says as opposed to demanding independent understanding of the material and the confidence to defend your understanding against withering attack

      In short the view expressed by Rav Dessler of the survival of the fitest through combat is being replaced by a kinder and more gentle model - which also seriously lowers expectations and demands. The view of the non-Jewish world has clearly penetrated the Orthodox world - including the chareidi world. Not all the results are an improvement.

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    2. By and large I agree with what you are saying, however I personally think that Rav Friedman crossed a line with three statements:
      1) Not saying Al HaMichya is more damaging...
      2) (regarding being molested/raped)"what are you holy, no one is allowed to touch you?..."
      3) (speaking of the molestor) "he taught him an important lesson that not every counselor is heilich, and not every uncle is your best friend."

      We can have a discussion about how correct or not, and how helpful or not Rav Friedman's approach is. Honestly the brush it off approach may actually work for some people. However, those three statements show a shocking insensitivity, that quite honestly if anyone other than such a Tzadik had said them, I would be seriously concerned that they may have problems of their own. However, as it is Rav Friedman a noted Tzadik with no claims against him, other than misspeaking on occasion, it seems to me that he is lacking a certain empathy and understanding of the psychological damage that is done through these acts.

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    3. Yes I agree - those three statements were totally inappropriate

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  9. "We can search ways to remove trauma from our children's lifes or we can teach them to deal with trauma and failure as part of normal existence. In other words we can either bullet proof our children or we can try and create a trauma free environment."

    Isnt there a middle ground? Help our kids toughen up to trauma, but we dont have to hire teachers and rabbeim who cause the trauma! As one who went through the system and came close to OTD, I know from whence I speak.

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    1. Yes that is in fact what I hope to develop in my book

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    2. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      "Daas Torah said...Yes that is in fact what I hope to develop in my book"

      Imagine that, Helen of Troy was "the face that launched a thousand ships" whereas "recently being threatened by criminal charges" launched a book on emotional abuse !

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  10. why give this message (don't worry about the past) only to abuse victims ? why not tell anyone suffering from say some neurosis resulting from their upbringing "look buddy, OK maybe you had it ruff. but so what? why are you focusing on that? look to the future. put all that stuff behind you."

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    1. I have encountered this many times. In fact amongst seminary girls that get referred to me for difficulty in shidduchim - about 80% of them are stuck on the fact that Mommy was crazy and Daddy was cold and distant and they want to recover their childhood - which they view as an entitlement - before they are ready to get married. Therapy consists primarily in getting them to let go of their dreams for their past and focus on the present and future.

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    2. Perhaps, DT, I assume with good intuition, that B'H you did not suffer the kind of emotional damage that some may have form dysfunctional parenting. Thus, to assume that someone can just "snap out" of that is perhaps failing to understand the depth of the trauma.
      Why do patterns repeat in families (good or bad)? The reason is that a positive or negative imprint is made on a child's psyche, and even if they let go of their "dreams" they are bound to repeat these patterns in their own family life.

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    3. Yes you are correct - my parents were far from being dyfunctional.

      But regarding Trauma - the issue is that experience X does not produce Y amount of trauma. Damage from Trauma is largely determined by how the event is perceived. For example one Rebbetzin told me that her Guatamalan maid said she has been raped 5 times. But she explained that rape where she comes from while very unpleasant is part of life - and doesn't produce trauma. She did not need a psychiatrist or medicine to get on with her life.

      On the other hand I see intelligent physically healthy people who are well off financially and have good friends - who are devastated by not getting into the right seminary. I have seen brilliant talented boys destroyed by the fact that they could never measure up to their famous father or brothers.

      So you believe that there is "imprinting" on a child's psyche. I also used to believe in the tooth fairy. A lot of concepts used in psychology are not necessarily real - but they are logical and "explain" the facts. That doesn't mean that they are real or the best explanation of the facts.

      Never get into a dispute with a Freudian - because you can't win. They have explanations for everything and its opposite. I don't know what "imprinting" is and I don't know what a child's psyche is. And I don't know that use of these concepts actually helps anybody more than any arbitrary suggestion for feeling better.

      Advances in science come from apply Occam's Razor. Giving terutzim doesn't mean that you actualy understand anything

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    4. For example one Rebbetzin told me that her Guatamalan maid said she has been raped 5 times. But she explained that rape where she comes from while very unpleasant is part of life - and doesn't produce trauma. She did not need a psychiatrist or medicine to get on with her life.

      Ok so she is able to cope, B"H. That doesn't mean that she was not harmed psychologically by the experience. By that I mean, it does not necessarily mean that her interactions with others are as healhty and productive as they could be, or that her interactions and intimacy with her spouse are as healthy and productive as they could be.

      Child soldiers from Africa are able to shrug off seeing their friends brutally murdered, and brutally murdering women and children, and get on with their lives after the fighting stops. That does not make them mentally healthy individuals. It just means that where they come from those who were not able to cope died.

      Further to that point, there is no guarantee that those who are coping fine today will still be doing so in 5, 10 or 15yrs. As has been seen by PTSD in occuring in later life in some WWII and Vietnam veterans.

      In short ability(or not) to cope, should not be conflated with psychological damage done(or not). Those appear to be separate, though related and overlapping things.

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    5. "But she explained that rape where she comes from while very unpleasant is part of life - and doesn't produce trauma. "

      the very fact that she accepts this so not-nonchalantly shows that her head has more than one screw loose, to use non-professional jargon.

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    6. true but then again one can not assert that an abused person must be traumatized - even though he/she seems to be functioning fine. See Gail Sheey's book about her adopted Cambodian daughter who saw her family killed and tortured - and yet apparently was psychologically healthy.

      As Rabbi Manis Friedman and many others have pointed out - attitude and expectations play a major role in whether there is trauma and how fast the person gets over the trauma

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    7. the very fact that she accepts this so not-nonchalantly shows that her head has more than one screw loose, to use non-professional jargon.

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      spoken like a true psychologist. any case that doesn't fit the model is a sign of being abnormal and unhealthy.

      An alternative explanation is that the model needs to be modified

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    8. Here is some role reversal, in light of some previous debates. I am more in agreemnt with Ramatz. And I would argue that the Lurianic idea of Gilgul and Tikkun is the foundation of psychoanalysis, whereby a "pgam" or trauma, on a soul whether 1 more more generations back, can be transferred down to a later generation. "Imprint" can affect the soul or the subconscious.

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    9. As Rabbi Manis Friedman and many others have pointed out - attitude and expectations play a major role in whether there is trauma and how fast the person gets over the trauma

      Actually I think this argument actually works against Rav Friedman more than for him. In an Orthodox Jewish society, where high value is placed on innocence and purity, where children can be thrown out of school for being molested, and shidduch opportunities ruined not only for the victim but for the siblings as well, if you are going to measure trauma based on communal attitude and expectations, then the level of trauma would be much much higher, thus making his remarks all the more insensitive.

      What message is the victim given when they must carry a dirty little secret around with them for their entire lives? You can't tell a girl out of one side of your mouth that what happened to you wasn't your fault, and that you are no worse than you were before so move past it, and then say out of the other side of your mouth, just make sure you don't tell anyone otherwise you will be kicked out of school, your sibs too, and no one will want to marry you or your siblings. You are basically telling the victim that they are simultaneously fine and bearer of plague at the same time.

      On the other hand I see intelligent physically healthy people who are well off financially and have good friends - who are devastated by not getting into the right seminary.
      Probably because from the day they were born everyone and their brother were telling their parents(and them) that the child's entire future depended upon getting into the right Gan, Beit Sefer, B"Y and Sem, and that if they didn't they would lose all chance of having a happy(or even normal) life. It would seem to me that this sort of trauma isn't a result of children being coddled as much as being told anything less than certain successes are catastrophic life altering events.

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    10. RDE, perhaps if you want wish to make people more resilient, you can create a Colombian type atmosphere, of drugs, crime, immorality, and unethical conduct.

      To use an example of a totally different sample, and try to generalise it to a Religious community is not going to provide any meaningful solution.

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    11. I think a frum person who expects that rabbis or parents will protect him is much more severely traumatized by being betrayed when they refuse to believe him then by the fact that he was abused.

      A person who doesn't view that he has protective figures will only be traumatized by abuse - not by betrayal.

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    12. Eddie wrote:

      RDE, perhaps if you want wish to make people more resilient, you can create a Colombian type atmosphere, of drugs, crime, immorality, and unethical conduct.
      ==================
      Actually if you study hashkofa you will see many mechanism to minimize trauma such as bitachon, gam zu l'tova, etc etc

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    13. a certain rabbi related once that he heard rav yaacov kaminetsky say the following. the latter was visiting in israel at the time. rav kaminetsky said that were someone to tell him that the tomato that he just ate hadn't had terumah and ma'aser taken from it, he would regret it, feel bad, and go on. if however, someone were to tell him that the chicken that he ate was treif, he would probably vomit on the spot.

      on one had we have a woman who was repeatedly raped and doesn't think that it is a big deal and you feel that this is a healthy response. on the other hand, we have a rabbi who would get physically sick if told that his polka wasn't kosher. so, was rav kaminetsky traumatized by his learning for decades about kashrut?

      one other note: a quick google search reveals that Guatemala has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. i really don't see how they are model for anything.

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    14. Actually if you study hashkofa you will see many mechanism to minimize trauma such as bitachon, gam zu l'tova, etc etc

      Yes those things would minimize trauma assuming those were messages that children and youth were getting. Insstead they hear:
      You have a flat tire? Gam zu l'tova.
      A purely Torah education does not qualify you to make a meaningful living? Bitachon.
      You didn't get into the right Sem? You have ruined your life.
      You were raped? Zonah! Tameh U'M'Tameh.

      In essence Jewish socieity is choosing which negative life events are going to be traumas from which one cannot recover.

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    15. Actually, what RDE says is also very true.

      Sadly, when there are great tragedies such as deaths , terror attack, people with Bitachon are able to accept it, knowing that there is Olam Haba.

      My point was that certain forms of abuse can be destructive especially in frum communities where Tzniut is so heavily emphasised.

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    16. DT: "I think a frum person who expects that rabbis or parents will protect him is much more severely traumatized by being betrayed when they refuse to believe him then by the fact that he was abused"

      Disbelief leads to different patterns of action than belief, and thus new vectors of traumatization. When one is speaking of environmental contexts as crucial as rabbis and parents (who are typically in a framer-framed relationship) inaction or non-support seem parallel to "emotional neglect", whereas wrong action seems parallel to "emotional abuse". The vectors multiply, and thus "complexify" the trauma (in the sense of C-PTSD vs. PTSD).

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    17. "Sadly, when there are great tragedies such as deaths , terror attack, people with Bitachon are able to accept it, knowing that there is Olam Haba:

      this then becomes a psuedo attack: if you are unable to "accept it" (whatever that means) well it must be because you lack bitachon.

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    18. בדיוק!!

      WRT the "meta-emotions", especially hopelessness, which are so central to "stuckness" and suicidality, the tacit communication (meta-communication) of the community's opinion-authorities seems hugely causative.

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    19. Ben WaxmanFebruary 4, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      "Sadly, when there are great tragedies such as deaths , terror attack, people with Bitachon are able to accept it, knowing that there is Olam Haba:

      this then becomes a psuedo attack: if you are unable to "accept it" (whatever that means) well it must be because you lack bitachon.
      =================
      no it doesn't. I am not familiar with anyone making any such statement. could you cite sources which condemn people because they suffered from traumatic events. I have heard many say that those who survived the Holocaust can not be judged by us. There are two processes - the theological bitachon hashgocha protis etc and the obligations not to torment others or embarrass them etc

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    20. all i am saying that no one can make a statement that "people with Bitachon are able to accept it". like i said, first you have to define what is "accept it". than you have to show that religious people are able to "accept it" more easily than non-religious.

      that type of statement is more of a feldheim book series than a prescription for psychological health. i know people, good strong, religious people, who suffer day in, day out over the death of a loved one, suffer to the point of taking pills, loosing functionality.

      anyway what is the actual claim that Eddie is making, in the context of this discussion? that a religious child who is abused will less likely suffer from the attack than a non-religious child, because the former has "bitachon"?

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    21. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      "Daas Torah said...For example one Rebbetzin told me that her Guatamalan maid said she has been raped 5 times. But she explained that rape where she comes from while very unpleasant is part of life - and doesn't produce trauma. She did not need a psychiatrist or medicine to get on with her life."

      Sounds like "normal" college life in the good old USA where girls get raped by guys and other girls and even professors do the sexual molestations,yet most girls come out all right too and get on with their careers!

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  11. "There is greater emphasis on memorization and spitting back what the teacher says as opposed to demanding independent understanding of the material and the confidence to defend your understanding against withering attack"

    The apparent lack of intellectual leaders coming out of the yeshivas has been a common refrain in the frum community for many years now. It's interesting to think that this might be connected to a more general cultural shift in how education and child rearing is practiced!

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  12. ben Waxman wrote:
    on one had we have a woman who was repeatedly raped and doesn't think that it is a big deal and you feel that this is a healthy response. on the other hand, we have a rabbi who would get physically sick if told that his polka wasn't kosher. so, was rav kaminetsky traumatized by his learning for decades about kashrut?

    If you live in Guatamala - then yes it is healthy not to be traumatized by rape. If Rav kaminetsky suffered from PTSD after accidentally eating treif chicken then I would say it is unhealthy. There is a major difference between being upset and being traumatized.

    Trauma is a phenomena where the person is overwhelmed and ceases to function optimally. If you have the ability to bulletproof a person against PTSD - should you use it? It is clear from the mussar seforim that being traumatized and not functioning , not learning Torah not doing mitzvos is not a desirable response. do you disagree with this assertion?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If you live in Guatamala - then yes it is healthy not to be traumatized by rape. "4

      i would call that "the ability to survive", I wouldn't call it being healthy.

      and this is only one side of a multisided coin. if women are "able to live with rape" it is because so many men see nothing wrong with raping. is that "healthy"?

      Delete
    2. "If you live in Guatamala - then yes it is healthy not to be traumatized by rape."

      god forbid we should get to point where child abuse becomes so prevalent that it becomes "healthy not to be traumatized" by it.

      Delete
    3. " If you have the ability to bulletproof a person against PTSD - should you use it?"

      of course one should. i don't understand the question. however, i don't feel that the maid is bulletproofed. and since in this case the "bulletproofing" comes from growing up in a society where rape is prevalent, i don't see how such a thing could be used as evidence of anything.

      "It is clear from the mussar seforim that being traumatized and not functioning , not learning Torah not doing mitzvos is not a desirable response. do you disagree with this assertion?"

      another question i don't understand. suffering clinical depression is never good, you don't need a mussar book to tell you that. and it doesn't matter if a person can't learn torah or can't get up in the morning to get to work.

      Delete
  13. I'm left scratching my head by those that appose DT's (and R' Manis'es) viewpoint.

    hat DT is talking about is called "cognitive reappraisal".

    1) We have an Halachic OBLIGATION to make use of it.
    2) Research shows THAT IT WORKS.

    3) The fact that most most therapists don't work this way is because the psychology field does not necessarily use methods that work best - which is in itself also proven by research!


    1) The Halachic basis - as DT pointed out, is from O"C 222-3:

    ג. חייב אדם לברך על הרעה בדעת שלמה ובנפש חפצה כדרך שמברך בשמחה על הטובה כי הרעה לעובדי השם היא שמחתם וטובתם כיון שמקבל מאהבה מה שגזר עליו השם נמצא שבקבלת רעה זו הוא עובד את השם שהיא שמחה לו:

    2) Several research citations proving the value of cognitive reappraisal:

    A. "Seeing the Silver Lining: Cognitive Reappraisal Ability Moderates the Relationship Between Stress and Depressive Symptoms"

    full text free at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278301/

    (that's part of the US Govt's Nat. Institute of Health website)

    B. "Rethinking Feelings: An fMRI Study of the
    Cognitive Regulation of Emotion"

    full text free at: http://dept.psych.columbia.edu/~kochsner/pdf/Ochsner_Reapp.pdf

    There's more - MUCH more. Just search for cognitive reappraisal at:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/advanced/

    many of the 2167(!) hits might enlighten the ignorant....

    3) There's much ado concerning the fact that the mental health field relies on unproven methods and ignores research-based methods that actually WORK....

    A MAJOR study, available free: "Current Status and Future Prospects of Clinical Psychology Toward a Scientifically Principled Approach to Mental and Behavioral Health Care
    Timothy B. Baker,1 Richard M. McFall,2 and Varda Shoham3

    at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943397/

    Also:
    The National Alliance for Mental Illness published a 52 page booklet "Choosing the Right Treatment: What Families Need to Know About Evidence-Based Practices"

    It's available at : http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=child_and_teen_support&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=47656

    Also: Within the American Psychological Association, Division 12 has been very outspoken about this problem, see some of their newsletters at:

    https://ea8c6641-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/sscpwebsite/newsletters-1/ClinicalScience_Fall_2010.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cpaSVcF2UKf9W52qwWf3sYr-8tTkbKdHw483nvdGbv99yZzYAEX3A7xsbK3wT_LrVKqLXgboYTJlYozV7FQu58kLJHBjrCwVGIanViP2EFsmKOzHn3k652l_piLxCHaoHoGP4fL7Remibl8RPEpaZYGuZC2cdoZnyhRQ5m7nnExt1QZ_h4Kt3NuLNxDdxBWfeR2x1kPRew51-79CIpPHmV7lobDPTtDFsSTtsn2BuzASedYnlLhecQug2DfxLiNTyMoCwZW&attredirects=1

    Also: see "EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENTS FOR CHILDREN AND
    ADOLESCENTS WITH PHOBIC AND ANXIETY DISORDERS:
    ISSUES AND COMMENTARY" Thomas H. Ollendick 1 and Neville J. King 2

    at: Behavioral Psychology / Psicología Conductual, Vol. 16, Nº 3, 2008, pp. 365-387


    Here again there's MUCH MORE AVAILABLE. The powers that be simply choose to ignore!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. my wife, who is a therapist, but not a specialist in this area, did say that treatment of child abuse cases (especially) doesn't (or shouldn't) include "reliving" the experience. you dance around it, circle it, touch upon it, but you don't make the kid go through it again in therapy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ben - I think that what your wife says is beyond the point.

    The MAIN point is - We should learn how to view our past in a positive light and use it as a motivator for future growth, regardless.

    Therapists should be teaching cognitive based skills, which happen to have alot of backing in Chazal and also in EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

    There is no need to relive the trauma, but rather to learn to recognize the mental "triggers" that are precursors to negative EMOTIONAL states.

    As many have mentioned, the triggers are NOT the actual "deed", but rather the INTERPRETATION of what the deed should make one feel like.

    Even in a case of pure evil, like violent abuse, the innocent victim's approach should be to go with their had high and their heart full of love to Hashem - not because we are minimizing their pain one iota, but 1) because breaking apart and failing apart in the face of evil would be evils' greatest victory over truth, and 2) because we believe that ואהבת את ה' אלקיך בכל לבבך - אפילו נוטל את נפשך, that regardless of the circumstances we will strive to be near Hashem and serve Him and believe in his infinite wisdom.

    Nobody should misconstrue the aforementioned as "turning the other cheek". NO! We DO PUNISH EVILDOERS, but even punishment is a "positive" - to help society, warn others from following evil and also perhaps to cause true remorse in the heart of the evil-doer.

    If WE have sinned - our past teaches us true humility and הכנעה, which is the prerequisite to ALL good Middos, as mentioned in Chovos Halvovos שער הכניעה פרק ח'.

    If others have sinned to us, we use this as an opportunity to cleave even stronger to Hashem - because true servants show their true mettle when the weak-hearted flee. THIS is our opportunity to shine where it REALLY counts - in the eyes of Hashem!

    ReplyDelete
  16. An important (IMO) recent meta-analysis, some of whose elements support some of DT's "heresies". It approaches the issues through the lens of some of the most severe psychiatric outcomes. If one "pushes outward" past the article's two frames (academic-clinical and pyschosis-schizophrenia) it has much to say to the leaders of communities.

    Read, J., Fink, P. J., Rudegeair, T., Felitti, V., & Whitfield, C. L. (2008). Child maltreatment and psychosis: a return to a genuinely integrated bio-psycho-social model. Clinical Schizophrenia & Related Psychoses, 2(3), 235-254.
    [full-text PDF] http://www.integration.samhsa.gov/pbhci-learning-community/child_maltreatment_and_psychosis.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for the link - it was a very interesting article

      Delete
    2. DT, glad it was of use.

      That article was from the "fringes" of the large, ongoing CDC ACE study (http://www.cdc.gov/ace/), much of which may pertain to your line of thinking, particularly if the study's results are conceived undogmatically. If that turns out to be the case, I may be able to save you a bit of research legwork. Please feel free to e-mail me.

      Delete
  17. Interesting that you mention schizophrenia...

    Greater resilience is associated with full recovery from schizophrenia WITHOUT medication!!!!

    see: "Factors involved in outcome and recovery in schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotic medications: a 15-year multifollow-up study."

    at:http://www.psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/OutcomeFactors.pdf

    abstract: This prospective longitudinal 15-year multifollow-up research studied whether unmedicated patients with schizophrenia can function as well as schizophrenia patients on antipsychotic medications. If so, can differences in premorbid characteristics and personality factors account for this? One hundred and forty-five patients, including 64 with schizophrenia, were evaluated on premorbid variables, assessed prospectively at index hospitalization, and then followed up 5 times over 15 years. At each follow-up, patients were compared on symptoms and global outcome. A larger percent of schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotics showed periods of recovery and better global functioning (p < .001). The longitudinal data identify a subgroup of schizophrenia patients who do not immediately relapse while off antipsychotics and experience intervals of recovery. Their more favorable outcome is associated with internal characteristics of the patients, including better premorbid developmental achievements, favorable personality and attitudinal approaches, less vulnerability, greater resilience, and favorable prognostic factors. The current longitudinal data suggest not all schizophrenia patients need to use antipsychotic medications continuously throughout their lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If others have sinned to us, we use this as an opportunity to cleave even stronger to Hashem - because true servants show their true mettle when the weak-hearted flee. THIS is our opportunity to shine where it REALLY counts - in the eyes of Hashem!"

      while this may be a nice chassidic vort, it has nothing to do with recovery from child abuse.

      Delete
  18. "in short the view expressed by Rav Dessler of the survival of the fitest through comba"t

    Rav dessler advocated corporal punishment and it was practiced until recently in the schools he founded.

    I don't think this had a positive effect on the victims of the cruel beatings.

    I think harsh punishment keeps children form admitting their mistakes, since they fear punishment. Therefore, it keeps them from becoming responsible adults.

    it is more constructive to teach children how to make up their misses, rather than intimidating and punishing them...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you say "I don't think" - which means you are simply expressing an opinion- do you have any evidence to support your views?

      Delete
    2. DT, I'll grant your point regarding a universal assertion about corporal punishment. But we know plenty about traumatogenesis qualitatively. Surely we can note that in the real-world there are factors, such as the child's home environment, particularly during the earliest years, the punishment-inflicter's psychology, the school's framing of punishment in general, etc., etc., which can make any number of cases dangerous. It is indisputable that there are threshholds and discontinuities in the phenomena. It is indisputable, too, that plenty of teachers are not psychologically perceptive, and that plenty of teachers are ignorant of the realities of children's out-of-school lives.

      Delete
    3. don't disagree - was just trying to find out where Blotter was comoing from

      Delete
    4. DT, sorry for the way I commented. I definitely should have drunk a cup of coffee before submitting that comment.

      Delete
  19. "If you live in Guatamala - then yes it is healthy not to be traumatized by rape. If Rav kaminetsky suffered from PTSD after accidentally eating treif chicken then I would say it is unhealthy. There is a major difference between being upset and being traumatized.

    Trauma is a phenomena where the person is overwhelmed and ceases to function optimally. If you have the ability to bulletproof a person against PTSD - should you use it? It is clear from the mussar seforim that being traumatized and not functioning , not learning Torah not doing mitzvos is not a desirable response."

    I am quite shocked that statements like this one should come from someone who claims to have earned a phd in psychology.

    1) What do you know about women in Guatemala (or Kongo) who suffered rape?

    2) how does it affect their lives?

    You seem to postulate that rape does not traumatise women in countries or cultures where rape is endemic. Which data support this claim?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. blotter - I reported the comment of a woman from Guatamala who had been raped 5 times. It was not a comprehensive study but simple anecdotal evidence.

      Delete
  20. "A person who doesn't view that he has protective figures will only be traumatized by abuse - not by betrayal."

    I don't think this is true. and it is not practically relevant.

    you are stating: it is better to have no-one to trust rather than having trust broken. I don't think this is true. Breaking trust is terrible, this is why people should be very careful before declaring that they do not believe a victim who comes out to them.

    but not having anyone to trust in this world is probably even worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No he is saying that breaking of trust compounds the problem.

      Delete
  21. "Child soldiers from Africa are able to shrug off seeing their friends brutally murdered, and brutally murdering women and children, and get on with their lives after the fighting stops."

    This is not true. It is very, very difficult to reintegrate former child soldiers to normal society. they are able to function as killers and criminals. It is very hard to convince them that "normal" behaviour in a "normal" society is not like this.

    read blogs of foster parents of trauma survivors. The foster parents want nothing more than for their children to leave trauma behind. Yet, in many cases, it is not possible.

    they go for treatment because the consequences of trauma make normal life impossible, not the other way round...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Not sure who the "askan: is that brought about Rabbi Eidensohn's re-evaluation and validation of what Manis Friedman had to say, but this is exactly what I had written when I made my posts at that time at R Manis Friedman's problematic views of sexual abuse (January 30, 2013), so I am re-posting my words again here since they apply:

    1 of 2: About Manis Friedman

    Manis Friedman is one of the greatest kiruv and outreach rabbis in the English-speaking world. Probably one of the top ten kiruv rabbis ever!! He has a phenomenal mind and power of expression and a warmth that is the envy of any speaker. He is a powerful yet warm and humorous orator. He is totally lovable and does not have bad bone in his body! He is in many ways one of the best legacies and spokesmen for Chabad-Lubavitch in the world today and stands head and shoulders above almost all his Chabad shluchim contemporaries. He is a model that they could all follow in how not to be crazy meshichistim and how to project normalcy and the height of being well-adjusted !!

    Having said that, in all probability, the root of Manis Friedman's mindset in this situation, is that he has spent his life explaining away the most complex notions and concepts and contradictions in the Torah and Yiddishkeit based on Chasidus and Kabbalah to thousands of aspirant and potential baalei teshuva, mostly females to whom he is a hero par excellence and for very good reason. He is a very wise man and healer and balm to suffering souls. With a thousand Manis Friedmans the geula would be close!! He has probably counseled and genuinely helped many countless thousands college age and young professional females who have confided in him their guilt and shame about their immoral sexual lives, and those are not pretty individual sexual histories in the secular world today because it includes sexual promiscuity from a very young age, incest, rape, date rape, sex with all sorts, all forms of seductions and sexual and erotic acts, sexual depravities and kinkiness and on and on, that haunts the conscience of each and every sufferer. They come and confide to Manis Friedman, as the head of his Bais Chana seminary and the Bais Chana Women International day in and day out year in and year out for many decades, and he "fixes" them with his soothing deep and brilliant talks that washes away their pain, guilt, grief, relieving their conscience, giving them perspective and making the worst sexual encounters and episodes in their lives "die" because he helps them get past their ordeals and renew their quest for a purer life. He is not a psychologist and has never pretended to think or talk like one or to be a spokesman for how to "fix" people the way a professional psychotherapist would think or expect it should be done according to some preconceived text-book method or formula or philosophy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RaP wrote: Not sure who the "askan: is that brought about Rabbi Eidensohn's re-evaluation and validation of what Manis Friedman had to say, but this is exactly what I had written when I made my posts at that time at R Manis Friedman's problematic views of sexual abuse (January 30, 2013), so I am re-posting my words again here since they apply:
      =============
      I have not re-evaulated my views. As I stated there are problematic issues in Rabbi Friedman's video's which I clearly stated in the comments section. On the other hand I feel he was making some important points. The fact that he apologized for his comments shows that he also agrees that he could have presented it in a way that would not have upset people.

      Delete
  23. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    2 of 2: About Manis Friedman

    So it is no surprise that on these videos Manis Friedman, leshitaso, is trying to help people who have been sexually abused get on with life. No one should think that he is espousing the "definitive Shulchan Oruch" of how to deal with this terrible subject, but in his own way, a a method of teaching a "mehalech" to escape a tortured past, he is helping some tortured souls deal with their damaged and scarred lives, to put it into some sort of "helpful" framework for the victims so that they not feel like total garbage and hate themselves and want to jump off roofs and help them in whatever which way start to focus on what "positive" things can come out of even the worst and most disgusting episodes in life.

    This is not much different to counseling Holocaust survivors, there is no "right formula" for a rabbi to do that, he can offer a mix of positive hashkofa, chizuk, simcha, bitachon,limuddim, hadrocha, chazals, tefila, eitzos,etc, etc, etc, and let's go "veiter" that is not the way of psychology but with a good kiruv rabbi it can help a complex struggling guilt-ridden potential baalas teshuva grab onto a more wholesome message and not just wallow in self-pity, self-righteousness and obsession with mandated reporting, therapy, police, lawyers, judges, revenge and retribution (that won't help a neshoma in pain) while they are all needed BUT are only part of more complex solution that is needed from a rabbi like Manis Friedman and it seems that is what is he is providing in these kind of talks. So take them with a huge lump of salt!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    (One of Two) More about Manis Friedman

    "tzoorba said...What he [Manis Friedman] says about the victim not being damaged goods is actually correct from a Torah point.."

    You don't get it, Manis Friedman is a great chosid and an obvious mekubal (one proof is that he never toots his horn about it but everything he teaches is obviously based on it if you listen carefully to what he says and the way he says it), he understands the geography of the lost neshomas (souls) in the wild seas of today's modern meshugana world, he is talking about the NESHOMA (the JEWISH SOUL), that it can never be damaged, just as in cases on kuddush Hashem (martyrdom) when Jews give their lives or are murdered, or even in just plain death, the NESHOMA NEVER DIES because as a part of God it is INDESTRUCTIBLE and it is untouchable since it is the chelek Eloka mima'al and it is IMPOSSIBLE to "damage" God ch"sh kevayochal !

    That is what he means that the (true) rabbi, who knows about what a NESHOMA of a Jew is all about, should reach for that message somehow and try and get the victim aware of that that will in turn give a new "chiyus" a rejuvenation and revivification, a veritable techias hameisim whereby the victim gets a "new" NESHOMA (meaning they become in touch with the deepest part of themselves, and in that way it is possible to overcome any form of suffering and tragedy be it a Holocaust or sexual attacks that for the victims are the same. Quite often rape leads to death and the shame of rape or incest is like a living death for the victims.

    At no point in these videos is Manis Friedman degrading secular professionals and therapists or any aspect of the secular law, in fact he makes it quite clear that rabbis must work with and submit to the professional qualifications of psychotherapists and the law of the land in dealing with the human destruction that comes from sexual abuse, but by the same token Manis Friedman is stressing that the rabbi has a unique role above and beyond everything else.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    (Two of Two) More about Manis Friedman

    Thus in the second video he makes it very clear when he quotes from a psychologist (actually it was the psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger from the 1950s who wrote a book [in the 1970s] called "Whatever Became of Sin?" who said that spiritual leaders were being derelict by not teaching MORALITY that would in turn make the job of mental health professionals easier by having fewer people acting out immorally and hence lead to less sexual abuse. It's a brilliant example of using a professional who believed that clergy and mental professionals should and rae partners in helping heal people.

    (By the way it is worth to read up a little on Dr. Karl Menninger and his methods as an example of what a successful mental health professional can do, in contrast to work that rabbis should be doing. See Wikipedia, Karl Augustus Menninger (July 22, 1893 – July 18, 1990) was an American psychiatrist and a member of the Menninger family of psychiatrists who founded the Menninger Foundation and the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas...During his career, Menninger wrote a number of influential books. In his first book, The Human Mind, Menninger argued that psychiatry was a science and that the mentally ill were only slightly different than healthy individuals. In The Crime of Punishment, Menninger argued that crime was preventable through psychiatric treatment; punishment was a brutal and inefficient relic of the past. He advocated treating offenders like the mentally ill...n his publications, Menninger offered demonic oppression and/or possession as a possible answer to many of the unknowns that could not be explained through science, especially in the area of schizophrenia. He correlated this finding biblically and collaborated with the late Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen of New York...On October 6, 1988, less than two years before his death, Karl Menninger wrote a letter to Thomas Szasz, author of The Myth of Mental Illness. In the letter, Menninger says that he has just read Szasz's book Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences. Menninger wrote that neither of them liked the situation in which insanity separates men from men and free will is forgotten. After recounting the lack of scientific method in psychology over the years, Menninger expressed his regret that he did not come over to a dialogue with Szasz.)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    "tzoorba said...Rap, Even though you are a great Lubavitcher chosid,"

    RaP: I am not. Over the years I have been accused of being both anti- and pro Lubavitch, and I am neither. I just look at each subject as it comes up.

    "I was only indicating that Rabbi Friedman's remarks don't address the other issues that rabbonim should be concerned about. He did not intend to discuss that point of the problem in his comments. I was stating that whatever part of the Torah universe is not concerned with the aveiro issues and the hashchosas neshomos is sorely missing the point."

    RaP: I agree with you on that. But Manis Friedman was not avoiding it, he was addressing how to fix the bodies, souls and lives of the "broken" victims. He is fully aware of the "aveiros" aspect, but you anything about the way Lubavitch works in its outreach they do not focus on giving people "guilt trips" and quite often they will avoid focusing on the pure "avairo issues" and just wait for people to set themselves straight over time. Only Lubavitch has the shita and it has it's pluses and minus, but is how they work. They try to make all their customers happy. They do not fire away with heavy mussar like the Litvish do. And Manis Friedman is a masterful practitioner of bringing secular Jews, especially young women, back to full Jewish observance and becoming fully Torah observant. But I do hear what you are saying and do happen to agree with you. That should not preclude understanding where Manis Friedman is coming from though.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Recipients and Publicity,

    You maintain that Manis Friedman has seichel, even exceptional seichel in dealing with individuals who suffered from trauma. Do you really feel able to defend that about him given this exchange:

    Audience Member 1: I had a talmid (student) who said he was molested for three years by a family member, and he feels he’s okay.
    And he went out with a girl and after a while he revealed that to her, and she dropped him because she said if you feel okay, something must be wrong with you.

    Manis Friedman (MF): What’s wrong with him is that he mentioned it? [audience laughs]

    Groisah chochom (clever fellow). [more audience laughter] They ask me that, “I’m going to start going out, do I have to tell that I was molested?” I say, “Do you have to tell that you once had diarrhea?” [audience laughs] It’s takeh (actually) embarrassing but it’s nobody’s business. [MF laughs] [audience laughs]

    source: http://wp.me/pFbfD-10a

    ReplyDelete
  28. I would think that the best way to get over a traumamatic experience is to just forget about it. Is this true?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I would think that the best way to get over a traumamatic experience is to just forget about it."

      this comes under: easier said than done, big time

      Delete
    2. You raise an important point. Yes many times horrific things need to be forgotten. This is the normal point of mourning. When the dead is lying before you - the world is much different at a later time when the pain starts dulling as a normal response to the passage of time and forgetting.

      After a terrible event - such as a school shooting. You have counselors coming in asking "Would you like to talk about it." They encourage catharsis - which asssumes the pain needs to be drained off by talking. However this is clearly not always the case and it is not clear that it is true in the majority of cases

      On the other hand, after a period of times has passed from the disaster or tour of duty in Iraq and the trauma has become a structure in the person and he periodically relives the traumatic events or certain emotions seem blocked off or anxiety keeps reoccuring - then the simple forgetting model is not enough.

      Delete
  29. Just found this at
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155865/

    Attributes of Spirituality Described by Survivors of Sexual Violence
    Gregory P. Knapik, Donna S. Martsolf, Claire B. Draucker, and Karen D. Strickland



    "The use of spirituality may be one way survivors cope with the experience of sexual violence. Studies in the United States reveal that religious support (Glaister & Abel, 2001; Oaksford & Frude, 2003, Valentine & Feinhauer, 1993), belief in and connection with divine beings (Draucker & Petrovic, 1996; Smith & Kelly, 2001), and finding spiritual meaning in adversity (Smith & Kelly) can aide in recovery from sexual trauma. Researchers have also found, however, that survivors’ religious faith can fuel shame and guilt, and church communities can minimize, deny, or enable violence and abuse (Giesbrecht & Sevcik, 2000). A systematic review of empirical studies examining associations between religion, spirituality, and personal growth following trauma revealed three major findings:

    First,….religion and spirituality are usually, although not always, beneficial to people in dealing with the aftermath of trauma. Second, that traumatic experiences can lead to a deepening of religion or spirituality. Third, that positive religious coping, religious openness, readiness to face existential questions, religious participation, and intrinsic religiousness are typically associated with posttraumatic growth. (Shaw, Joseph, & Linley, 2005, p. 1)"

    Manis IS RIGHT.

    ReplyDelete
  30. And here's another..... on the specific spiritual attributes sexual abuse survivors find important:

    Attributes of Spirituality Described by Survivors of Sexual Violence
    Gregory P. Knapik, Donna S. Martsolf, Claire B. Draucker, and Karen D. Strickland

    Abstract

    This study focuses on what aspects of attributes of spirituality as defined by Martsolf and Mickley (1998) are most salient for female and male survivors of sexual violence. Content analysis of secondary narrative data, provided by 50 participants in a study of women’s and men’s responses to sexual violence, was coded to the five attributes of spirituality as defined by Martsolf and Mickley. The attribute aspects of connecting with others in spiritual ways and with God/higher power were particularly significant. The attribute of transcendence was found less important, and the attributes of value, becoming, and meaning were not found important. The Martsolf and Mickley framework helped organize narrative data for a content analysis of spirituality in survivors of sexual violence.

    Martsolf and Mickley's five attributes are:
    1. Meaning - the ontological significance of life; making sense of life situations; deriving purpose in existence.
    2. Value - beliefs and standards that are cherished; having to do with the truth, beauty, worth of a thought, object or behavior; often discussed as ‘ultimate values.’
    3. Transcendence - experience and appreciation of a dimension beyond the self; expanding self-boundaries.
    4. Connecting - relationships with self, others, God/Higher Power, and the environment.
    5. Becoming - an unfolding of life that demands reflection and experience; includes a sense of who one is and how one knows among other things. (pp. 294–295)

    ReplyDelete
  31. One cannot help but weep when reflecting on the unwillingness of many even in the frum mental health community to incorporate our beautiful religion into therapy.

    We need true professionals to step up and not be afraid to carry the mantle of Truth...

    ReplyDelete

  32. Attributes of Spirituality Described by Survivors of Sexual Violence

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/attributes-of-spirituality-described-by.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. Here is how our cousin Ishmael deals with such issues

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-celebrity-preacher-who-raped-and-tortured-his-five-yearold-daughter-to-death-is-released-after-paying-blood-money-8480440.html

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