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Struggling With God

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Struggling With God

Rabbi Yonasan Bender LCSW, Psychotherapist

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What is morality, faith, and our place in the world? Not easy questions. Many look to religion to answer these questions. Religion certainly does provide answers but not in the way we're used to. The answers we're given are really only starting points to help guide us on a path to greater wisdom. That path is a difficult one because it demands us to be present. To think outside the box. It demands us to struggle with God as opposed to thoughtlessly receive "the answer." In the struggle and t ...
 
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ACT in Context

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ACT in Context

Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

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ACT in Context is freely available to anyone, and its episodes will take listeners on a journey from the history and development of ACT through its clinical application and the future of the work. This podcast will primarily focus on ACT, but it will often touch upon several related issues such as behavioral principles, the underlying theory of language (Relational Frame Theory) and philosophy of science. We hope that informal learners, potential consumers, researchers and clinicians alike f ...
 
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Jewish parables, refereed to as medrashim, are speckled throughout the Talmud. They're nuanced, esoteric, and captivating. They also contain within them the spirit of Judaism. This course discusses the power of metaphors and parables. It also discusses how Judaism relates to them. With a deep understanding of moral law, these texts open up to us a …
 
Knowing what the right thing is and doing it are extremely different. God revealed a higher purpose but Judaism's struggle is how to actualize that purpose. How do we build a better life for ourselves? This class discusses how rabbinical additions to Jewish law actualize Judaism's purpose. Rabbinic restriction is, in essence, what taps into divine …
 
Taking yourself seriously means realizing no one else who has ever lived can compare to you or what unique gifts you have to offer this world. Figuring out what that exactly means is no small job. This class offers some practical psychological advice in getting closer to understanding yourself and making the changes necessary to live your hero’s jo…
 
It’s no secret there’s a trend in the Western world towards meaninglessness and nihilism. Talk to any college aged teen and you’ll see they’re hard pressed to find a good reason to care about anything bigger than themselves or they know someone else that’s in that boat. Some possible causes are the dramatic rise in depression and anxiety or that ol…
 
Separating the Jewish people and it's cultural character from Jewish law isn't easy. For thousands of years the culture has dedicated itself towards one primary goal - keeping the living word of God alive for each generation. In the words of the famous psychologist Carl Jung, the Jewish people are perhaps the only society that has collectively made…
 
Being larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica it's an understatement to say the Talmud is complicated text. For the first few generations of it's existence it wasn't even written down but memorized. So, it's not surprising its authors tried to build in memorization hacks in how they constructed it. One hack is that it was created with a male person…
 
Most people think they understand love. Sure, we’ve all felt it but understanding it is a different ball game. You need an entire life to figure that one out. In reviewing the past several classes one thing comes into focus we don’t often realize. There’s a lot of reasons to run away from love and sometimes fight against it. We confront fear of bei…
 
Are there victims in this world? Yes. Should we ignore this Fact? No. Yet, learning to balance this reality with the fact you are also a hero is key to overcoming tragedy. In every relationship taking on the victim role is the single most destructive thing you can do. So, how can you hold these two truths of life at the same time. How can you be th…
 
Divine morality doesn’t end with the revelation at Mount Sinai. Much more is required than unquestioning obedience. Jewish authorities have always maintained that Torah is also rooted in human reason. Jewish morality is a complicated system of value judgements. But, someone has to be awake driving behind the wheel. That being the case, the “614th” …
 
The nature and detail of Jewish Law is vast . Massive volumes of legal texts painstakingly detail every area of practical life and then some. So, if that’s the case, what room is there for the idea of living outside the letter of the law? Isn’t going above and beyond a type of insult to God? After all, He already outlined what to do, so why not jus…
 
Sam Harris and Richard Dawkings argue religion's a parasitic waste product of evolution. It isn't worth the trouble and does more harm than good. Psychologists like Schweder and Haidt couldn't disagree more. Their work shows religiosity has powerful effects in almost every area of life. This lecture reviews these positive outcomes. It presents curr…
 
Psychology and Jewish thinking both define a person's sense of self as having parts. How we express ourselves, our thoughts, and feelings depend on our environment. No one behaves the same way with their spouse as they do with their mother. The relationships we make with others "creates" different versions of ourselves. Jewish thinking takes this i…
 
We're walking contradictions. We want to be listened to without realizing we're not hearing others. We kill ourselves to respect others but give our own self respect little thought. In big ways and small, we're fighting an internal war. The challenge of living a truthful life is confronting our contradictions. This process is painful but it's freei…
 
The most fundamental question to a religious life is, "Why did God create the world?" This question gets sidetracked by another important question, "Why is their suffering?" Can you answer one without the other? No. But, even when you sort out suffering you're only half way to getting a handle on the creation question. Half answers are good lies. T…
 
In this episode, Louise Hayes, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and academic at the University of Melbourne, Australia, discusses the use of ACT principles for therapeutic intervention with adolescents. She describes how to make ACT fun and interesting for this age group, as well as the unique challenges of doing this work effectively. About Dr. Hayes …
 
In this episode, Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D., of the Dissemination and Training Division of the Dept of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD and former president of ACBS, speaks to Jen and John about an ACT approach to treating individuals who have survived trauma and who struggle with post-traumatic stress. Listen and learn with Robyn as she discu…
 
In this episode, Daniel J (DJ) Moran, Ph.D., of Pickslyde Consulting, and co-author of the book ACT in Practice: Case Conceptualization in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, discusses committed action, or the behavioral "meat" of ACT. Join Jen and John as they discuss bringing it all together, using behavioral principles, behavior therapy technique…
 
In this episode, Joanne Dahl, Ph.D., Associate Professor and senior lecturer of Psychology at University of Uppsala in Sweden and co-author of the book The Art and Science of Valuing in Psychotherapy: Helping Clients Discover, Explore and Commit to Valued Action Using Accceptance and Commitment Therapy, discusses personal values from an ACT perspec…
 
In this episode, Jen and John talk with Russ Harris, MD about the process of defusion in ACT. Listeners will go on a journey of discovering the tricky aspects of language and thinking, and learn skills that can be used to become less caught up in thoughts so that they can live more free and meaningful lives. About Dr. Harris: Audio file: An Introdu…
 
In this episode, Jen and John talk with Sonja Batten, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who works on national mental health policy for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and author of the recently released book Essentials of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. Batten discusses the Acceptance process as one part of the ACT model. …
 
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