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Showing Results 1 - 40 (107 total)
The Darkest Feeling of All
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
July 2nd, 2017

(See previous post for context.) At the end of the tour, the blind guide made an offer: Ask me any question you want. Hold nothing back. Nothing is off the table. I had a question, but I held back. Until the very end. Until we came into the light, slowly at first, and adjusting to the brightness I set my eyes on our guide for the first time. He looked as he sounded: Peaceful. Old. Wise. And I asked my question: How do you stay positive? How d …
2 comments
Dialogue In the Dark
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
June 11th, 2017

The Israeli Children's Museum in Holon houses an exhibit called Dialogue in the Dark.  The concept is as genius as it is simple: enter a world completely like your own, except that you can’t see. The exhibit  is completely and utterly absent of light. Imagine that, just for a moment: walking through a marketplace, crossing a street, even riding a boat without the benefit of sight. Wandering through the exhibit, trying not to bum …
3 comments
In Memory of Rabbi Dovid Sharfman
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
April 29th, 2017

I’ve heard it said that it’s not the lesson a teacher teaches that stays with you. What you most remember is how they make you feel. With Rabbi Sharfman, this was only partly true. I certainly remember how he made me feel, but there was also one lesson of his that has stayed with me these thirteen years since I attended Yeshiva Toras Chaim of Miami. I wasn’t in Rabbi Sharfman’s shiur (class), but he made me feel valuable, …
1 comments
should happens
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
March 31st, 2017

I should write something I can do this well I should write something I can do this. Well I should write something so well that they will ask me who wrote it and then be surprised when they find out that I did I should write something I should I should I should I should I haven’t, yet   But the shoulds continue They go on and on stuck in their vicious voice Vicious voice! Nice alliteration. That’s pretty clever. I shoul …
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Am I Addicted to Pills?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
February 9th, 2017

If you’re taking a prescription medication, there’s a chance that you’re taking a drug that has the potential of developing dependence. Now, we’re not talking about Lipitor! Drugs types like painkillers, sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, and ADHD treatments (among others) are what we could call “addictive medications”. That is, they have the ability and tendency to cause users to develop an unhealthy level …
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Why would anyone steal my pills? They’re not addictive...right?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
January 11th, 2017

Do you have addictive medications in your house? Are you sure? Keep reading. You may be surprised. Prescription medications are widely abused in the US. If you still don’t buy that, see last week’s post, and see this 2010 study reporting that 7 million Americans reported using a prescription drug for nonmedical reasons sometime within the past month. If you’re prescribed a medication that is prone to abuse, it’s wise to b …
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Is Someone Stealing Your Pills?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
January 1st, 2017

I’m running out of painkillers. I was sure I had another week’s supply! I’m really careful about my Xanax - I really need it! I was sure I had another two bars left. But one is missing.... Sometimes I take more ADHD medication than my doctor prescribes. But I know I didn’t take that many. Could my roommate be taking some of my pills? I shudder to think this, but...is my son stealing my Percocet? Medications are great when …
0 comments
Don’t Let Your Kids Get Away With This
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
December 17th, 2016

Many moons ago, I was a counselor in Camp Mogen Avraham. One of the most remarkable things about Mogen Av is the extensive training and supervision that the staff receive (also, it was a lot of fun. It’s camp, after all). The training I received over those years was formative for me in my current work as a psychotherapist. One summer, there was a campaign that encouraged counselors and other staff to notice and encourage positive behav …
3 comments
Find the Silent Richness in Your Relationships
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
December 10th, 2016

Last week we spoke about being alone with yourself, and the process of getting to know yourself. This week, let’s take it a step further. Try being alone with somebody else. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, it might be ridiculous, but try it anyway. If you’re in a relationship, try spending some time alone with your significant other. If you’re not in a relationship, try it with an open-minded friend. Here’s the …
3 comments
Try This and Never Be Alone Again
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
December 3rd, 2016

We are good at keeping ourselves busy. We read, talk, and listen. We do things. We go from one thing to another. We are rarely not doing something. You know this already. And if you don’t, you have probably sensed it. You have sensed it subtly when you reach for your phone in the elevator, or in the car, or on the subway when you finally get service.  You have sensed it before you turn on the radio, or make a phone call, or open the c …
2 comments
How to Be Indestructible
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
November 20th, 2016

“How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?” ― Leonard Cohen Therapists make a big deal about endings. When the time comes for a course of therapy to end, it’s important to spend some time talking about ending itself. We human beings don’t do endings very well. We avoid them in one way or another. And we are left with the sad, silent residue of an unended ending. Now, when the time comes to say goodbye to …
0 comments
How to Find Serenity Amidst Political Fatigue
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
November 12th, 2016

What a week. A political upheaval that almost no one saw coming. A backlash with angry protests that still continue. The victors happy that the country can finally start to turn around, and the others horrified at what their country has done (and where it may be headed). I tried to avoid getting into any heated discussions about the election, but the effects were hard to avoid. Strangers snapped at each other beside me on the subway. A Facebook …
1 comments
Who You Vote For Matters, But This Matters More.
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
November 5th, 2016

It’s December 2020, and the candidate you voted for has turned out to be the undisputed worst President in history. You think back to your decision made on that fateful Tuesday in November 2016, and you say, “What was I thinking? I made a terrible choice.” You may be unhappy with your President, but you didn’t make a bad choice (I hope. Keep reading). Because it wasn’t your choice that was terrible. The issue is that …
0 comments
This Election Day, Vote Like Your Mental Health Depends On It
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
November 1st, 2016

Blah blah blah. The election news drones on and on. This candidate did this, that candidate did that–if you can believe it. He said, she said. He tweeted, she cheated. This is no longer news to you. The negative view we have of both mainstream candidates is higher than ever before in U.S. history (well, at least for those years we have polls. So, only for a few decades). This is not news to you either. But here’s some news for you: …
3 comments
Don’t Let Your Spiritual Email Go to Spam
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
October 22nd, 2016

Hoshana Rabba is a confusing holiday. It is described as “the day when the verdict that was issued on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is finalized”. What? I thought we did that already! Was Yom Kippur our last chance to merit a good year, or not? When we ask the question, the answers come in metaphor: “the decree is sealed, but the ink is still drying.” “The ink is dry, but the message has to be delivered.” &ldquo …
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Essential Yom Tov Survival Tips
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
October 15th, 2016

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: for most of us, it’s family fun time, dish upon dish of delicious food, and hopefully some spiritual opportunities to connect with the One Above. If we’re not careful, though, Yom Tov can become a negative experience, with cranky children, crankier adults, and the revival of old rivalries, not to mention some unpleasant aftereffects of overeating. Here are some tips to avoid …
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Yom Kippur Food for Thought
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
October 8th, 2016

Something to chew on as the Day of Atonement nears. Rather than focusing on specific behaviors that we should or shouldn’t be doing, let’s focus on relationships. Our default relationship with God is influenced heavily by how we were parented. Think about this for a moment. Was your upbringing fear-based or love-based? And currently, what motivates your relationship with God? Is it fear or love? What is a fear-based relationship with …
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This Rosh Hashana, Be Afraid. Kind of Afraid.
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
October 1st, 2016

Rosh Hashana is nigh, and Yom Kippur is right around the corner. You know what that means - the Annual Jewish Anxiety Festival is in full swing! If you weren’t whipped up to a frenzy during the past thirty days, you still have another ten days to put your life in order. If it sounds like I’m being cynical, I’m not (well, maybe a tiny bit oozed out. Sorry about that). I’m actually just trying to get your attention. Let&rsq …
1 comments
Take Charge of Your Work Life With These 4 Tips
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
September 24th, 2016

Do you take work home with you? Do you find yourself reading work emails during dinner? Do you consistently leave the office later than you would like? Do you hate long phone calls, constantly replying to emails, or being at the mercy of your boss’s whims? This post is for you. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all Most of us tend to be either over-responsible or under-responsible. Which one are you? If you are over-responsible, you wi …
1 comments
Get the Most Out of Your Day - 4 Critical Strategies
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
September 17th, 2016

No matter how you spend your time - making sales, housekeeping, or actualizing change (that sounded better than “therapizing”), being productive is important. We all need to get things done, and we all struggle with balancing work, life, and self-care. Here are some tips to set you on your way. Hey - put down that phone for a minute. We all need to learn to deal with distraction - that’s why it’s first on the list. Squash …
1 comments
Want to Honor 9/11? Don’t Miss This.
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
September 10th, 2016

This 9/11, as we are more “connected” than ever, we can unwittingly forget something important. On this day, we can read articles, sure, and watch videos, and react on Facebook. We may feel like we’re honoring the day. But are we really? We are so busy these days. We run from one thing to another. Busy busy busy. Accomplishing one task after another. And always, phone in hand. Answering a text, checking social media, watching a …
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How to Be a Good Muggle (a lesson in supporting recovery)
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
September 5th, 2016

You know what a Muggle is, right? If you don’t, please take a minute to read all seven Harry Potter books. (Yes, there is a new Harry Potter book just released - the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - and my copy is currently in my “To Read Eventually” pile on my desk. But it's not required reading just yet.) Oh, you’re back. Excellent. Now, here is your primer on How to Be a Good Muggle. (And here's a glos …
6 comments
A Timely Mindfulness Technique, Tidal Pools, and Tiny Fish
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
August 28th, 2016

The National Park Service celebrates its 100th Birthday this year, with free entrance to all National Parks August 25th through 28th (among other dates). I didn’t know that when I visited Acadia National Park this past week, so I wasn’t able to save any money, but it’s a nice introduction to this blog post! If you haven’t been to the Mount Desert Island, Maine, national park just yet, I highly recommend it. Scenic hikes, …
2 comments
Saying No to Pokemon Go?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
August 5th, 2016

“Whenever you feel stupid, remember that there are people outside looking for Pokemon.” - the Internet   It was a lazy summer afternoon, and young Brian strolled the streets in the Gravesend area of Brooklyn with his mother. They were hunched over an iPhone, giggling madly, as Brian tried to catch a Pikachu creature hovering in front of the nearby Dunkin Donuts. They were playing Pokemon Go together. Success! Brian squealed with …
1 comments
Eject That Emotional Baggage
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
July 26th, 2016

On March 20th, 1990, a Lufthansa flight took off from Frankfurt en route to Paris. Immediately after takeoff, the plane hit some turbulence and the left wing dropped slightly - a pretty normal occurrence, and no reason for concern. The pilot moved his sidestick, directing the plane to shift back to the right. And that’s when things started to go haywire. Deep inside the aircraft, two pins had been accidentally crossed, reversing the polari …
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Bad Children, Lying Addicts, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
July 20th, 2016

  “The height of therapy is repair.” - Kevin Barry Heaney   Before my first summer as a sleepaway camp counselor, I asked my grandfather, Rabbi Dovid Price z”l, for some guidance. This is what he said: Whenever a child is misbehaving, there is always a reason for it. Find out the reason, and address the problem. Don’t punish; you gain so much more by understanding. My grandfather, the principal of Prospect Park …
4 comments
The Trouble with Honesty
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
July 10th, 2016

“One year of sobriety? That’s amazing! Congratulations!” He doesn’t have the strength to tell them that he’s been drinking every weekend. She’s finally at the party, the music and lights throbbing. She can forget about the pain of living at home. No one has to know about it. That life doesn’t exist here. He works extra hours every day, works weekends for free. Family and friends are puzzled and frustrate …
1 comments
Tattoos and A Call to Service
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
July 6th, 2016

Would you get a tattoo? Think about that seriously for a moment. For most readers of this blog, I know it’s not something that comes up, what with the biblical prohibition and all. But it’s an interesting thought exercise. If you could, would you? I would use this barometer - is there anything you would have wanted tattooed on your body five years ago that you would still want now? My personal answer is no. Tattoos are too perman …
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Wandering Jews and the Orthodox Community
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
June 26th, 2016

“Wherever you go, there you are.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn I’ve been thinking a lot about Orthodoxy, and I’ve been thinking a lot about community. I think Orthodoxy and community are inextricably intertwined and interdependent. Orthodoxy depends on its community, and the community relies on Orthodoxy to keep it alive. Which leads to what is (to me) an interesting dynamic - some choose to remain in Orthodoxy specifically because of …
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The Therapist and The Barber
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
June 6th, 2016

Therapist, to what can I compare thee? To a barber, of course! Barbers sit in their office and wait for their patients to arrive; they rarely do house visits. The patient (or barbee) sits in a nice comfortable chair while the work is done, the barber trimming away the wayward growth and softening the rough edges. Some patients come in for a full work-up, others only have a little bit of shock to shed. And still others have a bad case of the dread …
3 comments
Set Your Own Stupid Alarm!
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
May 30th, 2016

When I was growing up, we used to play a game called “Don’t wake Daddy.” On Friday nights, my father would fall asleep on the couch, and my siblings and I would try to see how close we could get to him before he stirred. Tiptoeing as quietly as we could, we would usually make it to within a few inches of our sleeping giant before a nose-scratch would send five squealing kids running out of sight. It was fun (at least for us)! O …
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Procrastination: Laziness, or Something Else?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
May 22nd, 2016

“I wish I wasn't so lazy! All I want to do is watch TV.” “My father would always say ‘You’re a lazy good-for-nothing.’ I’m scared that maybe he’s right! I can’t seem to get anything done.” “My son is so lazy, he never does anything. I try punishing him, but that doesn’t seem to help.” Laziness seems to be a catch-all phrase for lack of accomplishment, whether it’ …
3 comments
Judge Favorably? That’s an Oxymoron
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
May 14th, 2016

The Torah instructs us to judge others favorably. On the surface, that means don’t jump to conclusions when it seems that someone has done something wrong. To me, this is an essential part of living a spiritual life. Of course, reality kicks in, and it’s not as easy as we’d like it to be. For example, it may actually seem that the cleaning woman did steal your jewelry, that the guy in the car in front of you is a really bad dri …
2 comments
Not Everything is Mom’s Fault
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
May 7th, 2016

When I was applying to grad school, therapists had a bad rap. “I can’t send my son to therapy,” one mother said to me. “He’ll just learn to blame me for his problems.” Others shared their anecdotes of angry teenagers who, post therapy, cut off relationships with their parents. And after I spoke with a well-known psychologist after shul one day, a fellow congregant remarked, “Do you like him? I hear he tur …
3 comments
Political Honesty and the Death of Debate
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
May 4th, 2016

As the political season kicks into second gear, and the presumptive presidential nominees turn their attentions across the aisle, I am struck by the polarized speech exhibited by supporters of both political parties. As human beings, we tend to surround ourselves with those who say what we want to hear, and we preach to the choir of our like-minded peers. Any dissenting opinion is often dismissed out of hand. What are we so afraid of? What is so …
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Passover and Rules - Freedom, or Stuck in Slavery?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
April 22nd, 2016

Speaking with someone earlier today, I mentioned the oft-quoted point that the Seder on this holiday of freedom represents the freedom that structure and order can bring us (seder means “order”). He surprised me by remarking that he had actually decided to keep less of the Passover laws this year, and because of that felt less restricted, more free. He didn’t feel like he had to clean out his microwave, get his car vacuumed, or …
1 comments
Drugs and Jews - What are we doing wrong?
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
April 16th, 2016

A while back, I saw a statistic that gave me pause. In 2010, the Unites States made up about 4.6 percent of the world’s population, and consumed a disproportionate amount of the world’s opioid supply. Would you like to guess what the percentage is? A shocking 80%. According to The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), “Americans, constituting only 4.6% of the world’s population, have been consumi …
7 comments
Why We Need Pain
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
April 12th, 2016

In my work with addicts and their families, the phrase “hitting bottom” often comes up. The addict, so the theory goes, will not recover until he or she has hit bottom. “How can I get my daughter to hit bottom?”, the parent wonders. The addict hopes, “Have I finally had enough? Is this the rock bottom they’re talking about?” What is hitting bottom, and what does it have to do with change? Think of falling …
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Healthy Risks
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
April 2nd, 2016

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” - Neale Donald Walsch A psychotherapist is in the business of growth, change, and healing. I would say that’s important stuff (but then again, I’m biased). Here’s a basic question for those providers and consumers involved in the business of change. What are the ingredients that lead to positive change? What are growth’s prerequisites? I’m thinking now of hea …
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Shields Up! What Star Trek Teaches Us About Vulnerability
Author: Shimmy Feintuch, LCSW
March 27th, 2016

Here’s a bit of trivia and a question for the Star Trek fans out there: the starship Enterprise - the prized flagship of the United Federation of Planets - traveled through space with its shields at a feeble five percent power. Now, isn’t that a risky and unnecessarily dangerous decision, to be exposed to any number of unfathomable dangers in space, the Final Frontier? Thanks to Google, Reddit, and the Star Trek TNG Technical Manual …
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