Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Word About Getting "Counseling"

In the Jewish world there continues to be a problem of individuals parading around stating they are "counselors" offering help to those in a crisis. The problem is that many do not have the proper credentials to provide counseling.

In the United States in most states one must be a licensed mental health professional to offer counseling of any kind. To be licensed one must have at least a masters degree in a clinical mental health field.

I keep hearing stories about "professionals" in the counter-missionary and kiruv fields. These "professionals"are proclaiming they are experienced "counselors", yet lack the degrees to back up their claims. When confronted with this issue, some "professionals" say they are providing "spiritual counseling" in an attempt to get around the law.

In many states the only individuals who can call themselves "spiritual counselors" are ordained clergy.

I strongly want to encourage those who are seeking any sort of help to make sure they get the help from licensed professionals.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes one should be very careful. A person who is not educated in a speical area can destory a person mental being and the damage can be horrible.

Caution should be used, be very careful and ask your Doctor for names of professionals in the field you are looking for.


June 24, 2007 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think asking your doctor for the names of a counselor is always the best way to find someone who is qualified in working with survivors of sexual abuse or survivors of cults. I think asking a rape crisis center for a referral is the best answer. Medical doctors often don't understand the issues.

June 24, 2007 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an example of someone misrepresenting themselves and calling themselves a "counselor." No where on Mrs. Taylor's web page does it state where you got her bachelor's degree or the needed master's degree. I guess we should all be asking if she even has a high school diploma?

I'm sure she means well and wants to provide exit counseling to those who get involved with messianic groups, yet she should have the necessary credentials prior to hanging up her shingle.

I think someone should start a web page exposing those who misrepresent themselves as being qualified to counsel unsuspecting individuals who are in a crisis situation.

Penina Taylor's journey from Judaism to Christianity and back again has been a long and complicated one.

Taylor, 38, was raised in a secular Jewish home, and in her troubled teenage years turned to belief in Jesus. Her newfound faith saved her from drug abuse and other destructive behaviors and set her on a spiritual journey that has spanned two decades.

Now a counselor, speaker and counter-missionary, she is devoting her time to helping other Jews return to Judaism.

June 24, 2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Mrs. Taylor's organization has ties to confessed sex offender rabbi Yaakov Menken. I've been told she is more then aware of the allegations made against this man, yet still chooses to let his organization (Project Genesis)
host her web page. Nothing worst then allowing someone who has a tainted past have access to more unsuspecting victims.

SHAME ON YOU Mrs. Taylor!

June 24, 2007 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to Find a Therapist
Ask for the names of therapists from sources you trust.

If You Want to Work With a Counselor or Therapist...

* Be willing to do a fair amount of work to find a counselor. You do not have to go to the first person you talk with or see. Make a list of questions to ask the therapist on the telephone. This is an important part of the process. It may take time, but it is worth it. This is part of reclaiming your power in the healing process. Spending time initially on the phone will save time and money in the long run. Once you have narrowed down your choices over the telephone, you will be able to meet with the two or three you liked most.

Some Questions to Ask...

* Is there a charge for the initial, get-acquainted session?

* Ask about age, gender, religion/spiritual belief system, sexual orientation, or ethnic group if any of these matter to you.

* Do you work with sexual abuse survivors?

* Do you have special training in this area?

* What methods or techniques do you use in working with survivors?

* You may or may not want to know if the therapist is a survivor and the therapist may or may not be willing to answer this question.

* Have you been in therapy? The therapist may or may not be willing to answer this question.

* How much do you charge? Do you have a sliding fee scale? Do you work with insurance claims?

Schedule a Get Acquainted Session...

If you feel comfortable with the phone conversation, schedule a visit to meet and talk with the therapist to find out more information and to see how you feel with the therapist. Many therapists will not charge for this session. Things you might ask:

* What training qualifies you to practice? (Degrees, training programs, professional seminars, etc.)

* How much experience have you had working with survivors of sexual abuse?

* How do you work with survivors and why do you work in those ways?

* Are you available for emergency phone calls and appointments?

* Do you set goals with your clients? If so, how do you go about setting goals?

* What do you believe about the outcome of therapy for sexual abuse?

* Do you incorporate or support other healing methods (i.e. peer support groups, body work, music, art, yoga, 12-step programs, nutrition, etc.)?

* Do you use group therapy?

* How do you feel about medication and/or hospitalization?

* Do you think sex with adults is always damaging to children?

* Do you think children ever willingly participate in sex with adults?

* Do you think survivors ever fantasize or exaggerate abuse?

* Do you see family reconciliation as a goal? Why or why not?

* What role do you think forgiveness plays in the healing process?

* What do you think about touching clients?

* (For gay/lesbian, bi, and trans clients) Have you worked with many gays/lesbians, bi, or trans? Do you see sexual orientation as an issue in therapy or that it has anything to do with a history of sexual abuse?

After reading this handout, make up your list of questions, adding your own, so you will be asking questions that are most important to you. Prioritize them and ask them in the get-acquainted session.

How To Make Sense of Credentials
The following are licensed. Licensure is given when the individual has the correct educational background, supervised work experience, has passed an exam for licensure, and has knowledge or pertinent state law:

* LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

* LCPC, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

* LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

* CAC (I, II, or III), Certified Addictions Counselor

The following have Doctorate degrees and may or may not be licensed. If you see these credentials, you may ask if they are licensed and what their license is:

* Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, a psychologist

* Psy.D., Doctor of Psychology

* Psychiatrist (M.D.) is a medical doctor who specializes in mental illness. This is the only provider who can prescribe medication. It is important to know if a psychiatrist will see you for therapy or just prescribe medication. Psychiatrists are also licensed medical providers.

The above listing of credentials is not all-inclusive.

The selection process is a mutual one. The therapist will also be asking about you and evaluating whether you would be an appropriate client for her/him. If it is not a good match for either of you, for any reason, it will not be a productive relationship. If the therapist you decide upon feels she/he is not appropriate for you, it is not because you are not okay.

Keep looking until you find the right person. Go to as many get-acquainted sessions as you need.

You Can Do It!
Healing from sexual abuse is often painful and hard work. The wonderful news is that it can be done. It is possible to feel better and live a richer life. It is possible to move from victim to survivor to thriver! You will need help, but remember, you are not alone!

June 24, 2007 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree a doctor may not know or understand how to deal with suvivors of sexual abuse or cults.

Rape crises center is best.

Yes you are right good information. Thanks--


June 25, 2007 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But as we know now from the arrest of child psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres in San Mateo, California, that even some counselors with multiple degreess and licenses are child molesters. It's not just Ayres... there is a small but growing problem of child psychiatrists who molest kids. Ayres would tell kids that his "physical exams" were all part of the therapeutic process. Kids should be thoroughly educated before they see a shrink as to what is OK in therapy and what is not.

June 25, 2007 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of the counslers at Ohel Family Services. My gilrfriend went to one by the name of Joan Hertz

June 25, 2007 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very important to note that some therapists with the proper Master's degree are still not licensed. A telltale sign is when they run the business out of the basement of their home. Someone in Lakewood is doing this.

June 25, 2007 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everyone should only go to "counselor's" who are licensed professionals. At least that way you have some sort of legal recourse if they would be inappropriate or unethical.

I know in my state if someone practices without a licenses it would be considered a criminal offense. It would be like practicing medicine without a license.

To who ever wrote about the therapist in Lakewood who is practicing without a license you should contact the state licensing board and let them know. The would be able to tell you the laws in New Jersey.

June 25, 2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know several therapists who work out of their homes and are licensed. Is this something OK to do?

June 25, 2007 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I knew about this before Yaakov Menken started counseling me. If only he had been ethical enough to realize that he was totally unqualified and in fact disqualified to do counseling. I wish there was a way to prevent him from ever pretending to do counseling again.

That experience robbed me of my ability to trust anyone. I know that real counseling (therapy) is a way of healing from what happened to me, but it is difficult or impossible (I have given up for the time being) for me since I can't trust a therapist.

I call on Agudath Israel to issue strict guidelines for rabbinic counseling. The only counseling a rabbi is qualified to offer is spiritual counseling (unless they have further formal training and are licensed).

-survivor of menken

June 25, 2007 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a licensed therapist is running the practice out of his basement it is a violation of both building codes ( and in NYC, environmental control / quality of life) codes. The upstairs of the residence may not be legally zoned for the practice either.

It may also be a telltale sign that the therapist is evading taxes, especially if they don't accept insurance.

What does JS think of therapists who do not follow these laws?

June 25, 2007 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The therapist in Lakewood dropped a client many years ago when he was afraid the client would be involved in a court case, thus exposing him. Around that time, someone had called the two states he was known to practice in and discovered he was not licensed anywhere. He was told by the clerks to call the Attorney General. He was threatened by rabbonim that he would suffer certain consequences if he did so or even if the clerks wound up making the report on their own.

The therapist was later involved in shielding a child molester he is friends with. He convinced Rabbis Solomon and Schenkoelewski that someone else had to be the real molester and that someone else in fact took the fall and all the blame. The person blamed was only guilty of leaving the children unattended. (Rabbi Schenkoelewski is an officer of the Lakewood yeshiva who also holds the rank of Captain with the Lakewood Police force)

Finally at this point, someone was supposedly going to report the therapist, but it's not clear if that ever happened or even if so, if the government properly pursued it.

June 25, 2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a problem with many of those who say they counsel individuals out of Hebrew Christian groups. Most of these individuals to not have masters degrees in a counseling field.

Look at the organizations Jews For Judaism and also Outreach Judaism. None of their employees have at least a masters degree in a mental health field. Who provides them with clinical supervision?

Well, Jews for Judaism turns to Aviva Weisbord. Aviva is part of the Ner Israel clan.

What about outreach Judaism. Who does Tovia Singer turn to for clinical supervison?

Then there's a newer organization ran by Penina Taylor. On her site she calls herself a "trained counselor". One has to ask where she received her training? What graduate school did she attend? Who gives her clinical supervision?

July 17, 2007 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I consider Penina Taylor to be a very dangerous person. She misrepresents herself in many ways. She's self absorbed and a con artist.

On Mrs. Taylor's web page her bio states that she is "A practiced support group facilitator and trained counselor"..."an experienced educator and youth group leader".

What Mrs. Taylor doesn't say is where she got her training to do these things. Her experience in being an educator comes from the fact that she was a homeschooling mom.

Penina Taylor doesn't mention what youth groups she was a leader? Was it girl or boy scouts? Also where did she get her training to be a support group facilitator or where did she get her degree to call herself a counselor?

October 20, 2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous False Credentials said...

The following can refer to rabbis and other individuals in Israel

Unorthodox Jew Blog
October 9, 2007

Ephraim Bryks has become a rabbinic marriage counselor. The term marriage counselor or life coach can be used by anyone. He is not the only "rabbi" suspected of sexual abuse using one of these titles to access vulnerable individuals or couples both here and in Israel. Consulting actual professionals is expensive and unless the community publicly warns against going to these charlatans (often worse) many innocents will continue to be hurt.

November 22, 2007 9:07 PM  

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