My Therapy Style
I work with couples to help them achieve the marital bliss they imagined before marriage. My training is in Marriage and Family Therapy and Developmental or Childhood Trauma (CPTSD), including Sexual Abuse. I often need to combine these two fields when working with couples using several modalities, such as, Mindfulness, Somatic Work, Parts Work, Systemic Work, DBT skills, etc. Many times, either one or both spouses are dealing with a traumatic past that interferes with building a healthy, happy relationship.
We live in a world that is based on relationships. When a person's past has been exposed to trauma in relationships, it will influence future relationships of all types, including spouses, parenting, friends, and colleagues. The closer the relationship, the more the influence will be felt. One reason for this is that social filters take a lot of energy and will inevitably deteriorate over time. Another reason might be that people tend to behave reactively in stressful situations, and close, intimate relationships can be highly stressful, even painful, especially when expectations go unfulfilled.
My Complex Trauma training informs me of traumatic reactivity between people in relationships and has given me the skills to address it. For example, there are situations in which individual trauma work must take place before a couple's work can continue successfully.
People need to feel safe, accepted, and understood for a healthy relationship. Past trauma can cause a person to act in a way that is perceived as unsafe or interpret behaviors as dangerous even though they are not intended as such. When a person doesn't feel safe, it can be painful, triggering painful memories from the past or visceral experiences, also known as flashbacks. Feeling unsafe can cause a person to be reactive and defensive to otherwise benign situations. This reactive behavior can push people away as well as unintentionally prevent people from getting close.
Through trauma-informed couple's work, the relationship can begin to heal. Experiencing this work as a couple will help define the individuals in the relationship for themselves and each other. They will grow together, forming a deeper bond than was previously attainable. Eventually, co-dependent behaviors will become clear, leading, instead, to differentiation and co-creation, where the couple can begin to grow, allowing for the definition of the individuals. Relationship goals will start to form, as will the desire to achieve them together as a cohesive unit whose parts are recognized, understood, and accepted.
Various childhood traumas that can affect relationships are physical, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse, and physical or emotional neglect. Any situation or set of circumstances that causes a child to feel unsafe and they are unable to process it can become a trauma that influences their development. If the experience is ongoing, the influence is pervasive throughout their development and will dictate how they interact with their world as adults. Imagine for a moment, someone trying to understand mathematics while being chased by a lion. The brain is not available for cognitive functioning. If the lion is analogous to a painful experience, then Complex Trauma would be similar to growing up in an environment where you could be attacked by a lion at any time, never knowing when or where. Instead of developing social skills and other types of executive functioning, which require peace of mind and freedom of thought, the child will become adept at recognizing and avoiding threats and dangers, constantly vigilant and worried about what could happen. Consider for a moment that the painful experience was perpetrated by the child's caretakers, friends, other family members, or other supposed 'safe' people. The lion can be in my house at any moment! Unfortunately, this sentiment can and often does continue into adulthood.
Trauma is highly subjective. Therefore, there is no way to measure how much or in what way it has affected someone, but relationships are significantly informative of the trauma’s influence and can contribute to someone's success and healing from past afflictions. Therefore, marriage and parenting are lovely opportunities for healing, and to promote what is known as post-traumatic growth (PTG). PTG Refers to the life-changing opportunities resulting from therapeutic work with the psychological, emotional, and relational struggles and other challenges induced by trauma.
Here's A Little More About Me
Initially, I received rabbinical ordination, which aided me in leading a community for several years as a Chabad shaliach. This opportunity allowed me to work with individuals' and couples' issues long before I trained as a therapist. I quickly saw the need to improve my ability to help people with their issues. I joined an NLP life coaching course and received over 300 hours of training and certification. Soon after I had become subject to dealing with more severe family issues, I realized that I needed a deeper and more therapeutic understanding of what I was being exposed to. I was encouraged to enroll in a Marriage and Family Therapy clinical master's degree program and subsequent training specializing in couples therapy and trauma.
I often find my clients interested in the spiritual side of therapy, wherein rabbinical knowledge and experience are valued and appreciated. I use my understanding of the Torah with discretion, always respecting the other's spiritual perspectives and values, only to facilitate a more comprehensive and wholesome form of therapy.
My life has led me through different sectors of Judaism, from the midwestern US to the eastern US to Israel, Litvish, Non-observant, Da'ati Leumi, Breslev, and Chabad. I've had the merit to work with people from non-Jewish, Jewish, non-observant, observant, and Chareidi backgrounds. This exposure has enabled me to have an understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of people in general and often contributes to successful therapy.
Find out if working with me to achieve your goals would be a good idea by filling out the contact form so I can get back to you.