Since I was a teenager, I’ve been helping people. Somehow I always seemed to be a magnet for people seeking a listening ear.
But after years of listening and advising, I got frustrated. I was trying my best, sending people for professional help, but they weren’t getting the healing they needed. Instead of gifting them with skills and eventual independence, too many of the therapists were serving as crutches. The clients’ lives remained enormously painful, even after years of medication and/or therapy. I couldn’t bear to watch the endless pain – so I decided to train as a therapist myself.
I joined the field during a major shift, the transition toward structured therapy. This model, commonly known as Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT for short), has a very clear game plan in therapy and it is a more measurable form of help.
With time I gained expertise in the area of anxiety disorders, and I’ve managed to help close to 1,000 people overcome debilitating anxiety. My clients include kids who’ve been out of school for up to 4 years, adolescents who fear eating food, young women who fear becoming mothers, people scared of flying, dating, public places, and much more. Rav Mattisyahu Salomon told me that there’s virtually no home without an anxiety sufferer, and the disorder wreaks havoc on one’s quality of life. Rav Yaakov Meir Schechter told me that he views anxiety as worse that a big physical illness like cancer. However, anxiety can be vanquished. Studies have established a success rate in the high 90s when CBT is used to conquer anxiety.
The Skverrer Rebbe told me that most of the successful people who come to him are taking medication of some sort to manage their anxiety. In fact, my client base includes some of the most respected and successful people in frum society. I often tell new clients that they would be honored to walk into my office if they knew in whose company they were.
But not long ago, these people would never have dreamed of seeking help or admitting their problems. The door was firmly closed on discussion or treatment of mental illness. Today’s openness to seeking help is a relatively new phenomenon, and it’s the result of a major shift in our society, with several factors at play.
I feel that the frum media has played a part in normalizing the challenge of mental illness, by published features and stories showing that this is prevalent, it’s treatable, it’s a normal challenge — and introducing therapeutic concepts and treatment options to the community.
The increase in frum practitioners has also played a major part in our community’s openness to seeking help. Hundreds of today’s mental health professionals have learned in the same yeshivas and grown up in the same communities as their clients. In addition to having similar hashkofos, they can relate to their clients on many levels.
All these therapists need halachic and hashkafic guidances, and that is another blessed development of the last decade. I can and do call Lakewood’s Skverrer Dayan with any halachic questions, and consult with Rav Mattisyahu Salomon on hashkafic issue. I find that more and more rabbanim are comfortable fielding these questions, and are increasingly aware of mental health issues affecting their communities.
Ten years ago, the landscape was completely different. Today’s multidisciplinary approach has empowered sufferers to get help earlier and more effectively. And the community as a whole has become more understanding, more supportive, and more compassionate.
I have known Benjamin for several years, his patience, courtesy intelligence, and winning manner are only part of what makes Benjamin the successful & effective professional he is. Benjamin is an outstanding and exceptional human being and I feel privileged to know him.
Dr. Hillel Becker
PhD, Chief Psychologist at James J Peters Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Ben is bright & dedicated, he is a delight to work with & his results are astounding. which is due to his devotion, persistence & competence.
Dr. Stuart Seidman
MD, West End Medical Associates, Manhattan, NY
Benjamin has helped thousands of people break through their limitations and achieve the freedom to attain their goals and aspirations. He is blessed with the unique ability to help people create the change they desire in their lives with lightning speed.
CEO, AJ Madison
Benjamin intertwines his clinical and business expertise… His unique vantage point is bound to help…realize the factors that are holding them back and the move toward achieving their goals.
National Director, Professional Career Services
This is a terrific book that will surely supercharge the lives of those who apply its wisdom. It is easy to read and packed with effective strategies to create real and lasting life changes.
David J. Lieberman
Ph.D., award-winning author and internationally recognized leader in the field of human behavior
Truly a stunning success in the field of personal growth. This book will have positive impact on those who apply its wisdom.
Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch