Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Other Side of the Couch

Malkie Schulman

Day after day, they listen to people’s problems, trying to help them work through issues and overcome challenges. What’s it like for the frum therapists who are familiar with our most intractable problems and biggest pitfalls? How do they stay positive and avoid burnout? And what would they like us to know?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“And how does that make you feel?” If you’ve ever been in therapy, there were probably times you wanted to turn that ubiquitous (often annoying) seven-word question on the therapist asking all the questions. Listening to patients talk about their struggles doubtlessly affects her perspective — and her personal life. What is she really thinking behind her gentle nod and questioning gaze?

A Day in the Life Sitting in the therapist chair is a privilege, according toMelissaGroman, LCSW, who practices in Nutley (near Passaic), New Jersey. “I am helping someone tell his story and find new ways to move forward in life. My work is often spiritual, practical, painful, and joyful all at once.” Because therapists are, well, in therapy every day, they have a unique understanding of the weight of their role.YochevedSampson, LCSW, who also works in Nutley, elaborates: “I feel honored that my clients entrust me with their inner world. I also feel responsible to ensure that they feel safe and respected and that I am providing a therapeutic experience that is different from interacting with a friend.  “I see myself as a mirror for my clients,” Yocheved continues, “reflecting back to them what they are saying, what they already understand, what isn’t working. My job is to offer empathy, objectivity, and insight, to ask questions that help them think about something differently or more in-depth, and often to give them a ‘new’ interpersonal experience.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

A Response to "Too Far from Home"
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Chareidi Israel is not happy to absorb immigrants”
Life after Kollel
Yonoson Rosenblum Remaining a ben Torah requires remaining a bar daas
Angel's Advocate
Eytan Kobre Because this is how’s it’s supposed to be always
Bring Back the Wonder
Yisroel Besser Look around and say, “Ribbono shel Olam, wow!”
Make Your Words Count
Rabbi Shneur Aisenstark This story delivers two sobering lessons for all of us
I Know of What I Speak
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman I would allow my mask to fall, my soul to be revealed
Meet the Tzaddik
Jacob L. Freedman “Aren’t there meds that can get him back to yeshivah?”
Two centuries later, the Chasam Sofer’s niggunim are heard again
Riki Goldstein The musical side of the Chasam Sofer dynasty
How Do You Think of These Words?
Riki Goldstein “For me, the words are the neshamah of the song”
The Song I Can't Stop Singing: Shlomo Simcha
Riki Goldstein “Which song are you connecting to this season?”
Megama Had the Magic
Riki Goldstein Remembering Moshe Yess a”h and Shalom Levine a”h
Living Beyond the Moment
Faigy Peritzman Someone steeped in Torah always lives beyond the moment
Sarah Chana Radcliffe We can only be sure that we can never be sure
Instinctive Knowledge
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Jewish babies are born knowing Hashem
The Gardener: Part II
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer “It’s a secret language called body language”