Friday, January 22, 2021

I wanted to commend you for continually publishing articles that increase awareness and knowledge of mental health issues. This past week, I read an article by Yael Walfish (“Bringing Out Their Best: A Chinuch Approach That Really Works” November 12, 2020) and felt compelled to write in. Yael describes her personal experiences with counseling, first as a therapist and then attending couples counseling for one session. I would have preferred for this author to subjectively say, “I didn’t feel effective with my clients” rather than denigrating therapists and therapy: “What were we doing wrong?...are we therapists really helping people? How? Are people really changing from these sessions?” Yael appears to collectively be saying that all therapists are ineffective. As a therapist myself, and as someone who participates in my own therapy, in my experience it can take time to find the right therapist who is the right fit. Further, going to couples counseling one time and expecting change is a bit simplistic. With therapy, if something isn’t working, it’s important to say something to the therapist and give the therapist feedback about what is or isn’t working for you. I frequently ask my clients for feedback, i.e., how they think therapy is going, what they would like to focus on or see more of, etc. The focus of the article seemed to be “the Nurtured Heart Approach is the only approach people should take.” I think it’s tricky to come from a one-size-fits-all approach when each client deserves a personalized approach. I’m hoping people will take this article into context and continue seeking out a therapist rather than be discouraged to even try. I think there’s still some stigma in the Orthodox community toward therapy and I appreciate articles that highlight the importance of mental health and support therapists and therapy.

Alanna Ben-David, LCSW