NEFESH: The International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals
X Enter your email address here:
Loading
The International Network
of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals
The browser you're using is not supported. Please try again using a supported browser such as Firefox or Chrome
Subscribe to this blog to get the latest updates emailed to you
Subscription complete
Search by title:

Showing Results 1 - 40 (115 total)
Religiously Based Rape and its Devastating Repercussions
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
September 5th, 2022

“My kallah teacher thinks I have childhood trauma, but I really can’t think of one,” Chanshi begins. “My husband is a very nice person. My parents are too. My life isn’t perfect, but I don’t understand why this is so crazy for me.” What Chanshi means by “this” and “so crazy” is the state of her sexual relationship. She and her husband Izzy have an otherwise “nice” relat …
0 comments
Anxiety and Elul
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
August 29th, 2022

Elul Anxiety Tami, a motivated college student, sought help to deal with her test taking anxiety. She describes her symptoms: “I just get so nervous starting a few days before the test. This sense of dread. I try to study but I get distracted by how worried I am. By the time I sit down to take the test, my hands are clammy, I feel chilly and sweaty, my head is swimming, and I can barely focus.” One of the tools Tami learned in terms o …
0 comments
Our Daughter Blames Us for her Marriage Problems
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
August 28th, 2022

*This post originally appeared as a State of Mind Column in the Five Towns Jewish Times* Dear Elisheva, My family is in a complicated state right now. We are blessed with several children, but this matter only concerns two of them. Our oldest daughter is in her 20s and has been married for a few years; let’s call her “Leah.” She’s a wonderful girl, married to a great guy, but at this point our relationship with them is ver …
1 comments
"What's the point of sex anyway?"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
July 27th, 2022

It usually happens some time in the middle of a session. We’ll be discussing a couple’s intimate life, and I can see the consternation building on the woman’s face. Eventually, she’ll just say something like:       “Can I ask a funny question? Like… what’s the point of sex anyway?”       When working with clients who are dealing with sexual aversion, the question of: & …
0 comments
Was My Kid Brainwashed in Seminary?
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
July 20th, 2022

  *This originally appeared as a column in the Five Towns Jewish Times       Dear Elisheva,       Our oldest daughter just returned home from her year in Israel. It’s not that I mind her becoming more religious. We expected that to a degree, when we allowed her to go to seminary. It’s the way she now relates to her family, her old friends, and how her personality seems to have changed. Sh …
0 comments
Relationship Uncertainty
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
May 19th, 2022

*This originally appeared in the Five Towns Jewish Times State of Mind column*  Dear Elisheva,   I would imagine my problem is not unique, but I just find myself getting stuck and anxious from it. I’m 23 years old, in Yeshiva most of the day, and finishing up my Bachelors. I’ve been dating someone for a little over three weeks now. She is 21, also in college, and working part time. She’s really great- smart, interestin …
0 comments
An Intimacy Dilemma
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
May 10th, 2022

*This post was excerpted from my schmoozeletter email.*
      The following is a conversation that comes up a lot with my couples in therapy:       Me: So what would you say are the challenges you're facing in your relationship that you want to address together?       Him: Our intimate life isn't great. We're not "together" often and when we are it seems to fall flat.       Her: Fo …
0 comments
She Wasn't Feeling Pleasure
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
April 7th, 2022

*This post is an excerpt from my schmoozeletter email. Subscribe to it for free here: elishevaliss.com/newsletter *       Once upon a time, there was a young, sincere couple, who married and loved each other. But they had one problem: Even after a few years of happy matrimony, the wife said she was having trouble enjoying physical intimacy. The husband felt bad about this, and went to seek advice from his Rabbi and mentor.   & …
0 comments
A Different Kind of Sexual Trauma Among Us
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
February 27th, 2022

Trigger warning: this post discusses sexual trauma Zeesy, a 19-year-old newlywed, was referred for intense erotophobia- a fear of sexual activity. It’s been about three months since their wedding, but her aversion to sexual touch seems to be getting worse. Her young husband is worried, and the premarital educator who sent her asks me:   “Do you think something happened to her?”   What she means, of course, is trauma- s …
0 comments
Sacrificing Souls on the Altar Of Tzniyus
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
January 18th, 2022

In serving as a therapist for an almost completely religiously affiliated population, one issue that arises very, very often, is the hot-button issue of “modesty” – or as it’s called in Hebrew: Tzniyus/ tzniyut. When we talk about this, it often revolves around unhealthy and even traumatic ways that clients feel these messages were conveyed to them within their families, communities, or schools. In particular, women and gi …
0 comments
Problems with the Rebbe
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
January 13th, 2022

This piece originally appeared as a column in the Five Towns Jewish Times: Dear Elisheva, We think we may have an issue with our son and his Rebbe, and we’re not sure what to do about it. According to our son, who is in middle school, this Rebbe has been routinely picking on him and some of the other kids, in ways that seem unfair and unkind. I’ve heard the other kids joking about him playing favorites and randomly yelling at some kid …
0 comments
The Problem with Labeling Pedophilia as a "Sickness"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
January 4th, 2022

Yitzi’s parents really thought they’d taught him enough: “No one is allowed to touch you in parts of your body covered by a bathing suit. Most people are good and safe, but there are some other sick people out there who like to hurt children, and do bad things, so if they try to do that, you should run away and tell someone you trust.” They checked off the sexual safety education box and thought he was now “safe.&rdq …
0 comments
Religiously Stuck Husband
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
December 18th, 2021

This originally appeared in a Five Towns Jewish Times column:   Dear Elisheva, I can’t decide whether my problem is marital or personal- probably both, but here it is. My wife and I both grew up religious. We were on pretty much the same page when we got married. But over the years, my feelings and opinions have slowly been changing. I’m looking at our community, our lifestyles, and the kids’ schools from different angles, …
0 comments
"Don't even TOUCH it-" How making fake rules can lead to disaster: A Chinuch Message
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
October 1st, 2021

“I think it was the earrings that were the final straw for me.” The young woman is explaining to me how she went from being a scrupulously rule-following Bais Yaakov high school junior, to the 19 year old who’d lost track of how many men with whom she’s slept. “The earrings?” I repeated. “Yeah. My high school principal came up to me after davening one day, and told me that my earrings weren’t tniyus …
1 comments
Broken Tablets, Broken Hearts
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
June 27th, 2021

  A few years ago, I got a call from a mother, distraught over something that was happening at her kids’ school. Her 12 year old daughter was in avelus, and the school had told her that she needed to wait in the office, while her grade practiced for a music and dance performance. The girl felt like she was being punished for being in mourning and was devastated. The mom asked me to call the school and speak with them. I called the scho …
0 comments
Fighting About Having a Baby
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
June 4th, 2021

It's the very first mitzvah in the Torah. And for some, it's very straightforward: Get married, start a family, don't stop until your body does. But for those who believe in the option to practice birth control, whether autonomously or in consultation with a posek, important questions arise:   How do you decide when to start trying for a baby?       How many kids should we have?       When do we stop having ki …
0 comments
Why Saying "Divorce is Not an Option" Can Hurt Marriages
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
April 30th, 2021

Were you taught to believe that “divorce” is a curse word? That we don’t even say the “d” word?   When I was a young, idealistic grad school student, a professor told us: “We are not in the business of saving marriages. We’re in the business of helping people.”   At the time, I (arrogantly) thought: “Well, maybe those are your values. I want to save marriages.”   I stil …
0 comments
Child Sexual Safety Education Awareness
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
April 15th, 2021

Every so often, I meet a colleague who offers the opportunity to collaborate in a way that aligns perfectly with my own mission and values. Blimie Heller, and her beautiful approach, Unconditional Parenting, is one such colleague. In this conversation, we tackle the vital topic of child sexual safety education in a way that is practical, culturally sensitive, and easily applicable to most families. Enjoy this free video resource: https://www.inst …
0 comments
How a Chacham Becomes a Rasha: Some Thoughts About Questions
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
March 25th, 2021

How a Chacham Becomes a Rasha: Some Thoughts about Questions   A few years ago, I was speaking with a high school student who was struggling with her faith. She told me that she’d learned some material in her Halacha class that upset her. When she shared it with me, I had to admit that I’d never heard of it before, and encouraged her to ask her teacher for sources, so she could at least research and try to understand the basis fo …
0 comments
"I Was Molested by my Brother but Neither of Us Knew It"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
March 17th, 2021

Trigger Warning: This post contains sensitive content about child sexual abuse.   *Like all vignettes featured in this blog, it reflects not one specific true story, but a disguised amalgam of too many. It changes any potentially identifying information but preserves clinically relevant details.*   “I know this might sound strange. But we were kids. We were pretty sheltered- no TV or internet in our house, hardly any newspa …
0 comments
"Why Won't My Wife Dress Up For Me?"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
March 9th, 2021

Some men say it with embarrassment, others with indignation or frustration, and still others in defeat: “I’m not trying to be demanding or controlling. But I really wish my wife would dress up for me once in a while. When we go out, in our bedroom, or just the way she presents herself in general. It’s not that I don’t think she’s naturally pretty- she really is and I tell her so. But I know a lot of women …
0 comments
Talking About Marital Consent and Rape with Bracha Bard Wigdor
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
January 14th, 2021

  Confronting the Less Popular Sexual Sins: A Shovavim Plea   Sexual sins are possibly the most interesting of sins. There are few transgressions more titillating, more shamed, and more taboo than those having to do with succumbing to desires of the flesh. During this time of the Jewish calendar, some communities have a custom to focus on atoning for sins in the realm of sexual immorality. Some examples I’ve heard are reviewing th …
0 comments
"My Husband's 'zera l'vatala' Will Be My Fault"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
December 10th, 2020

*Trigger warning: This post touches on the topic of sexual trauma. Proceed with caution.* “I was taught that my husband’s purity and holiness are basically my responsibility. As long as we can ‘be together,’ that saves him from sin. And if we’re not, then I’m guilty,” she explains tearfully. “It feels like my job as a wife to be there for him that way.” His facial expression implies that his i …
0 comments
Why Do Some Clients "Do Better" in Therapy than Others? Seven Factors Satiisfied Clients Share
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
December 9th, 2020

Have you ever noticed that some people will swear that therapy totally changed their lives for the better, and others will say they’ve tried repeatedly and gotten nowhere? Still others will say they don’t even believe in the idea of it- that it’s just a waste of time and money.   It could be just a case of “strokes and folks,” but I think there might be a little more to it than that in some cases. &nbs …
0 comments
"How Often Are You Supposed to 'Be Intimate'?"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
December 2nd, 2020

Have you ever wondered how often people have sex?
(I purposely used the nebulously awkward euphemism “be intimate” in the title because generally people who ask this question in the framework of “supposed to” are uncomfortable with the more direct language of “have sex.” They may also say: “be together, do it, make love, have relations, etc.”) In my line of work, I get this question a lot, be …
0 comments
"Am I Normal?"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
November 28th, 2020

At the root of so many people’s questions, doubts, insecurities and fears, lies this niggling question:   Am I normal?   And it shows up in a variety of permutations:   Is this normal?   My history?   My family?   My thoughts, feelings, relationships?   And buried even deeper than that for many is the alternative:   “Am I abnormal? Dysfunctional? Crazy?&r …
0 comments
Tags: therapy, mental health, normal, crazy
A Separation Is Not Necessarily Step One to a Divorce
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
October 18th, 2020

Couples therapy is intense work. Back in grad school, I had a professor say: “We’re not in the business of saving marriages. We’re in the business of helping people.” At the time, I was young, arrogant, and naively idealistic, and I thought: “Well, I’m hoping to save marriages.” After years on the job, I’ve learned that he was right. While thankfully, most of the time, we do help clients save their …
0 comments
Two Feelings: A Covid Perspective
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
October 16th, 2020

When my oldest was two years old, he attended a half day playgroup. One day, while walking him to “school” he told me that he was having “two feelings.” “One feeling is I’m sad that I’m not gonna have my mommy while I’m in school. And the other feeling is that I’m happy when I play with my friends.” I was blown away by his innocent, honest ability to express what even I, as an adult, hav …
1 comments
It's all hevel... what?
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
October 8th, 2020

What’s the point of life? People actually google this; we are so desperately seeking meaning and truth. (Sometimes. Sometimes we seek ice cream and area rugs.) The book of Ecclesiastes, Koheleth, which we have the practice to read during the Sukkoth holiday, chronicles how King Solomon, Shlomo, grappled with this question. A running theme of the book is the phrase: “hakol hevel”- all is ‘hevel.’ But what is “he …
0 comments
The Clouds of Glory as a Message of Moderation
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
October 7th, 2020

The more I know, the less I know. Do you relate to this? I sometimes look back at words I wrote with such conviction when I was younger, and realize now that either I no longer agree with my hot-headed earlier self, or I see the issue with more complexity and nuance. Age, in many ways, sharpens my perspectives while softening my rough edges. The Torah describes how in the desert, G-d led the Jews with a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of cl …
0 comments
Surviving Yom Tov Family Drama
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
September 30th, 2020

Hi:) It looks like we're going to have the quietest Sukkos we've ever had, here in the Liss house; hoping that next year we can safely host extended family as we usually do. But for those who might be getting together with relatives, kosher.com invited me to write this piece pre-empting some of the common issues that arise during this busy chagim get-togethers, so I wanted to share it here as well: https://www.kosher.com/lifestyle/10-tips-for-sur …
0 comments
"How Do I Forgive the Teacher Who Hurt My Child?"
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
September 17th, 2020

“Every year, I struggle with this, when the Yomim Nora’im come around. I want G-d to forgive my misdeeds, so I need to forgive others. And I really try to. If someone owes me money or hurt my feelings, I can really let it go. I’m not a spiteful person; I don’t’ have enemies. But there’s this one thing. My daughter’s teacher in high school- a Rabbi, by title, said and did awful things- not just to her. We …
0 comments
Unsent Letter to my Orthodox Client before Rosh HaShana
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
September 14th, 2020

Dear _____,   Well, it’s been quite a year. At this time, we have a custom to take interpersonal stock and make amends. Thank you for entrusting me with your thoughts, feelings, and goals. It’s a privilege to work with you. I believe and hope we are accomplishing. Going to therapy involves courage and vulnerability, and I try to honor that, and treat it with care. But I’m a fallible human, and I need to apologize- for the t …
0 comments
Dealing with Overwhelm Right Now
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
September 9th, 2020

It’s September/ Elul, and children everywhere are yanking out their uniforms, knapsacks, paperwork, and supplies, packing up lunches and snacks, and getting ready to rejoin the classroom scene. Hustling out to the bus stop, or listening out for the carpool honk, or hopping on bikes, rushing to be on time for the morning bell. “Bye! Love you- have a great day; learn well!” (One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is no longer …
0 comments
When Therapists Want to Share Personal Stuff
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
August 31st, 2020

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that while I occasionally share examples from my own experiences, there is very little here about the personal details of my life. Part of the professional training that we undergo as part of our education, is the importance of boundaries. In a therapy session, the dialogue is supposed to be focused solely on the client and for the client. Any self-disclosure on th …
0 comments
Thinking about Homeschooling in 11th Hour?
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
August 19th, 2020

Hey, parents! How are you holding up?? With schools scrambling to formulate and convey their plans to reopen, many parents find themselves faced with the mixed blessing dilemma of choice. Do you send your kids to school in masks and small group capsules, with modified schedules, and stressed out teachers, everything unknown and uncertain as to protocols and risks? Do you opt for the zoom-schooling, distance learning improv that was sampled last y …
0 comments
How Do I Get My Partner to Come to Therapy?
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
August 12th, 2020

Do you want to work on your relationship in therapy, but have a partner who just doesn’t want to go? Well, you’re not alone. This is a super common and frustrating problem.   The bad news: You can’t generally “make” people want to go to therapy, and even if you technically get them in the door, it’s really, really, hard to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.   The good news: You may have …
0 comments
Our Broken Homes: Pornography in the Holy of Holies
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
July 29th, 2020

  This week, we sit shiva for our shattered world. This week we mourn our broken homes. Our temple was destroyed, and even now we continue to watch the walls burn around us. The Churban didn’t just happen millennia ago, but we are taught by Chazal that the damage is ongoing. Hatred, strife, and ignorance fan the flames of destruction, pain, abandonment, and abuse. We don’t see the fire and violence engulfing the actual Temple tod …
0 comments
I am a Jew, and Here Are My Plans for World Domination
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
July 19th, 2020

  Much to my people’s chagrin, we have finally been outed as the nefarious villains that we are.   I feel the safest course of action is to just come forward and confess.   Our grandiose schemes aim for diabolical goals such as world peace, healing the sick, and feeding the poor.   My own agenda for world domination begins with education. I believe in trying to brainwash innocent people across the world into learni …
0 comments
"I Used to Rape My Wife
Author: Elisheva Liss, LMFT
July 3rd, 2020

Gittel and Shuey have been married for almost 10 years. They get along fairly well, and are kept busy with their three little ones and their demanding jobs. They’ve come to discuss the ostensible problem of Gittel’s low libido.   “I don’t know what we’re doing wrong,” Shuey began. “I try different ways to give her pleasure, but she just doesn’t seem to be able to enjoy. Her body doesn&rsq …
0 comments
Sort By:Reset All
title +
tags +
2021AbandonmentabuseAdolescent DevelopmentAgingAharonAlcoholAmerican FlagAnxietyanxiety reliefanxiety-trauma-parts-workattachmentattachment theoryBar MitzvahBereavementBereishitbodyBody Imagebruisechannukachild developmentchild sexual abusechild sexual abuse preventionChildrenChoosingchronic illnessComplex traumacomputersconfidenceconnectionControlcoronaviruscounselingcrazyCreatingdepressiondesireDisabilityDivineemdremotional neglectemotionsfamilyfamily dramafamily of originfamily-of-originfathersfive townsfive-towns-anxiety-trauma-therapyfive-towns-parenting-anxiety-trauma-therapyforgivenessfriendsfutureGenuinenessgodgood peoplegriefGrief SuppoetGrief SupportGrief UnderstandingGrief UndesrstandingGriefSupportGriefUndesrstandingheal childhood traumahealingholidayholinessholocaustinner child woundsInsularityInternetIntimacyJewish educationJewish Link April 8kidKiddush HashemkidsKugelLashon Haralife is a testlife lessonslisteninglong islandlosslovemarriageMemorial Daymental healthModelingmothersMothers Daymourningnewnew yorkNicotinenormalObject RelationsOutreachownershipParah AdumahParentingParshapassionpassoverPersonhood of victimspirkei avosPoliticspreventionpsychologyptsdRaceRandom violenceRebbetzin JungriesRegardrelationshiprelationshipsRepetition compulsionResponsibilityRETIREMENTReverenceseasonal affective disorderself-helpSexual abuseSexual traumasexualitySexusl abuseShabbatskunkssomaticSummersupportteachersteachingtechnologytelehealthtesttherapytipsTorahtrans-generational healingtraumatrauma therapytrauma treatmentTzeddakahVapingvirtualWealthwinterYaakovyeshivahYom Yerushalayimyork

Results per page: