For an enlarged, easier to read index click here . To "google search" this site, scroll to the bottom of this page. (This site is best viewed with "Firefox")

(Tips: F11 key enables full screen viewing & Ctrl-F to search the index)


TEEN ISSUES-----shrinks / frum?

!sos! Posted - 30 April 2002 16:06

Why do you think it is important to see a frum therapist (where does the word frum come from\what does it mean?)?

What are your thoughts on guys seeing a female shrink and girls a male shrink?
Besides being a Rabbi what is your background\education in dealing with "at risk" or what ever you want to call the people that write on this board?

To make along story short, I have been seeing non Jewish or non frum shrinks for awhile.

I was observant up until about 2 years ago.

Ironically this did not happen while I was immersed in a secular world but rather when I came home to the frum world.

It has been a long road with many relapses, each with their own twist. Now, my family wants me to see a frum shrink.

I was always under the impression that a person should be in basic physical and emotional health before dealing with spiritual issues.

Sometimes I think after all these years I now Know nothing (what a revelation) If you have any advice thoughts or experience.....thank you

MODERATOR Posted - 30 April 2002 17:04

"Frum" means simply "religious" in Yiddish.

The reason for seeing a frum shrink is because the non-frum shrinks is not aware of the importance of being frum and therefore if there is what he perceives to be a conflict between the patient's fulfilling the Torah versus the patient's mental health or happiness (according to him), he will wrongly pursue health and happiness at the expense of fulfillment of Torah.

Also, there are many issues - such as your relationship to your parents, your obligations to them, ethics and morals, etc. that the Torah looks at very differently than the secular world.

A non-frum shrink deals with these issues and if they come up, will direct you without the benefit of the Torah's opinions. In other words, he will misguide you.

The idea that you have to first deal with the "basic physical and emotional health" before dealing with being frum is baseless, and it is given to us by the shrinks (even frum ones) who are not exactly objective, since they are saying "WE should handle this kid first", which provides them with more business and income.

It is not so. Seeing a shrink and "straightening out" your life without being frum is more often than not an obstacle to later becoming frum. Now, happy, productive, even without religion, he has no much less of a reason to become frum than he did before. He's happy, he’s healthy, what does he need to be religious for? Whereas previously you were able to tell him "cmon straighten out your life, you’re such a mess". Including, listening to what Hashem says your lifestyle should be.

Experience shows that it is often better to work on the frumkeit first. And in general, there is absolutely no reason that they should not be worked on together. Places like Neve Tzion in Israel and others like them show this to be the case.

And what is the Halachic heter to postpone making a kid frum if you can do it? There is an obligation on the kid to fulfill the Torah, and if he has an opportunity to do so sooner than later, he has no heter to postpone it. If the shrinks don’t like that, they can fight with Hashem Who gave him that obligation.

There is nothing detrimental with spiritual growth, along with emotional growth. In fact, many aspects of Torah - Bitachon, middos, Hakaras hatov etc - promote emotional health.

But your question is even simpler. You’re not going to the frum shrink for him to make you frum, I presume. A frum shrink has no more ability to make someone frum than a frum dentist or accountant. You are going to a frum shrink to make sure he does not damage your frumkeit even more than it is already, or guide you in a direction that Hashem says is bad for you. That is black and white better.

!sos! Posted - 08 May 2002 17:08

Mod- thank you

I must tell you that I was told by well thought of Rabbis not to keep certain Mitzvot if they would be at the expense of my health.

How do I know that this is something (being frum) I want to work on. the argument about it making me happier doesn't work for me. I was frum. It being the truth and the right way to live... sounds good but doesn't fly with me. If I really felt and thought that way I would have stayed frum.

So what do I do? I have already been "damaged" it has been years. do I change shrinks now?

(I asked this in my first message I don't know if it wasn't answered for a reason) What do you think about a male seeing a female shrink and a female a male shrink?

MODERATOR Posted - 16 May 2002 4:42

As far as your health goes, the general halacha is that a Mitzvas Aseh can be forgone if doing it will damage your health to the point where the damage would be equal in hardship to losing a fifth of your money. But a Lo Saaseh cannot be violated unless it is life threatening.

Minor "Mental health" issues such as feelings of discomfort or stress do not qualify to dispense you from any mitzvah, aseh or lo saaseh.

The reason why being frum is worthwhile is the same reason taking care of yourself in any physical way is worthwhile - you reap benefits that make the effort more than worth it. Sometimes it’s not clear if the reward is indeed worth the effort, but in their case, Hashem guarantees it is WAY worth it, more worth it than any other thing in the entire universe. You can trust Him on this.

I'm not sure why you are asking if you should change shrinks. What’s bad with your current one?

All else being equal, it is wiser for men to see men shrinks and vice versa. But sometimes the different-gender shrink would be better.

In that case, it is fine, and should be looked at as a doctor.

No comments: