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Sacred Therapy
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Estelle Frankel is a practicing psychotherapist and a seasoned teacher of Jewish mysticism and meditation. She was ordained as a rabbinic pastor and spiritual guide (mashpiah ruchanit) by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and is one of the spiritual leaders of her local Jewish Renewal community. Estelle has taught widely in the United States and in Israel, where she lived for over eight years, and is currently on the core faculty of Chochmat Halev: Wisdom of the Heart Meditation Center. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two children.

Reviews

"There is nothing more whole than a broken heart," taught Hasidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. Frankel cites that paradoxical wisdom as well as other biblical, Hasidic, Talmudic and kabbalistic traditions to shape her thesis: healing begins with brokenness and leads to transformation, wholeheartedness and renewal. As a psychotherapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism, Frankel integrates the psyche and spirit so they "flow as two currents in a single stream, creating a synergistic healing power." She uses the kabbalistic myth of the shattered vessels to mirror the inevitability of brokenness in our lives, the broken tablets at Sinai as a metaphor for imperfection, the Exodus from Egypt as a reflection of change and self-liberation and the process of teshuvah (repentance) and the High Holiday cycle as paradigms for healing. "Locating ourselves in Jewish myth and metaphor," she says, can lessen the sense of isolation in suffering, as well as enlarge our identities through spiritual awareness. The book is divided into three parts: kabbalistic cosmology and healing; healing and birthing the self; and wholeness and integration. Client case studies and reflections on her own life focus on common psychological complaints: a broken heart, transition, loss, depression and illness. Suggestions for guided meditations and spiritual rituals give readers practical ways to be "healed by, or in spite of, whatever illnesses and difficulties we face in our lives." Those familiar with the concept of tikkun olam-repairing the world-will discover here its more personal and interconnected form-tikkun nefesh: healing our own souls. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Frankel exhibits a stunning breadth of knowledge, particularly of Judaism's rich mystical tradition, and a profound depth of understanding of emotional and spiritual development."--Jewish Woman Magazine

"Her use of Kabalistic cosmology to reflect on emotional pain, broken-heartedness, and separation is especially strong and moving."--Library Journal "Frankel has done an impressive job of blending ancient Jewish wisdom with modern psychology to fashion a powerful force for healing."--Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People "I highly recommend this compelling book to readers from all backgrounds, for its wisdom is rich and universal."--David A. Cooper, author of God Is a Verb

Psychotherapist Frankel draws on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Kabala to provide a Jewish perspective on the universal issues of pain, healing, and growth that are faced in a therapist's office. Throughout, Frankel interweaves her personal story and experiences with Judaism with her accounts of working with clients. Her background knowledge is extensive and she readily quotes from an impressive variety of sources to illustrate her points. Her use of Kabalistic cosmology-involving shattered vessels and sparks of light to reflect on emotional pain, broken-heartedness, and separation-is especially strong and moving, as is her linking of these themes with the image of the broken tablets of the law at Mt. Sinai. The book seems to be written for both clients and therapists. It is more substantive than a typical self-help book and would be best used by someone with a strong connection to Judaism. Therapists who include a spiritual perspective in their work would likely benefit from the many moving metaphors and images Frankel illuminates. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll. Lib., PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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