Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Daniel's Psychiatrist

Daniel was on heavy doses of psychiatric medication. Regardless, Daniel was still too frightened to leave his apartment.
After being homebound for 6 months, Daniel wandered out on a Wednesday night and heard a lecture by Rabbi Shalom Arush. Soon afterwards he contacted me expressing an interest in receiving psychotherapy based on Torah and emuna.
When I first met Daniel his eyes suspiciously darted and scanned the room. He didn’t smile.  He didn’t dare trust me.
Since what seemed to be bothering him most were auditory hallucinations (internal voices that yelled at him and commanded him to do things) I decided to start by seeing if we could alter the way that he experienced these voices. 
We found out that there were many persecutory voices speaking to Daniel. The voices varied from parental voices to teachers and other relatives and most recently the voice of a particular Rabbi. We noticed that oftentimes when he was hearing voices he was simultaneously seeing a cruel and persecutory image of the Rabbi’s face. 
With practice Daniel also learned that his soul could form equally vivid pictures of the true desires of his heart. He was able to see himself living the passionate and empowered life that he wished to have in the future; and he came to believe that this “future self” was a message that was being sent to him by G-d. 
Of course, at first, the picture of the Rabbi was much bigger, brighter and closer to Daniel that was his image of his real “future” self - but he quickly learned that with G-d’s help he could expand the desired picture of himself and move it over the picture of the Rabbi which eventually shrunk down and all but disappeared. With practice Daniel became confident that he could dissipate frightening images from his mind whenever he wanted to. 
This is just a small sample of only one of the many techniques that I used with Daniel. In short after two weeks he came out of his psychotic state (state of unreality) and returned to his job. In addition we continued to help Daniel to reclaim whatever gave him joy and self-esteem from the past that had he had felt forced to severe himself from. For example, he started to listen to music that he had enjoyed before becoming religious; he started playing sports and working out again; he started reactivating the social skills that had been buried within him.
In consultation with Daniel’s psychiatrist and with guidance from Rabbi Arush, we began to cut back on Daniel’s medications.  By the time I left for my speaking tour in June of 2014, Daniel had tapered down to a small amount of medicine. His communication and intimacy with his wife had reached an all-time high and he appeared much more energetic and happy. My wife commented to me that Daniel looked like a completely different person. 
The plan was for Daniel to stay on that low dose of medication, and if he functioned well while I was gone for 3 and a half weeks then he would go off the meds for good – but G-d had another idea…continue reading...

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Wishing you the greatest blessings in your life!
Dr. Zev Ballen

Dr. Zev Ballen