Sunday, September 20, 2020

A pioneering joint mental health counseling program offered to students in Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, in conjunction with the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently celebrated the graduation of its second cohort. At a ceremony on the Wilf Campus at the end of June, seven semicha students received their certificates of completion as the deans of RIETS and Ferkauf and the faculty of the program applauded. Among them were Daniel Reich of Edison, and Yechiel Neuburger of Teaneck.

The 18-month program, which combines the mental health expertise and resources of Ferkauf with the experience and spiritual guidance of the RIETS faculty, provides in-depth training in mental health counseling that is an increasingly important component of modern rabbinic responsibilities. Students take six graduate-level courses designed to address the unique challenges faced by communal leaders, including two foundational pastoral psychology courses that are required within their first two years of semicha studies, and ultimately receive a certificate in mental health counseling as well as semicha. The coursework can also be applied to a master’s degree in mental health counseling with an emphasis in pastoral psychology at Ferkauf.