The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health: Part 4 – Therapeutic Techniques

In general, we may safely say that most psychological disorders stem from anxiety. On the simplest level, the tension and pressure that accompanies worrying about even the most basic things, like health and money, itself causes and exacerbates many psychological problems. On a deeper level, close examination reveals that almost every psychological disorder stems either from some form of conscious or subconscious fear or phobia, or from frustration regarding the inevitable conflict between man's base, animalistic urges and his higher, spiritual aspirations. In a person who believes in G-d and tries to live according to the teachings of the Torah, these fears and frustrations will also be expressed as the fear of sinning. The encounter with and treatment of anxiety in whatever form it may assume is the basis of all psychological therapy.

The teachings of Kabbalah, like the teachings of Judaism in general, are intimately bound up with the textual nuances of the written text of the Torah. Any inquiry into the Kabbalistic approach to a particular subject must begin with an analysis of how the sacred text treats that subject.

Anxiety is mentioned several times in the written Torah, but the most seminal instance is the following verse from the book of Proverbs (12:25):

If there be anxiety in a man's heart let him quash it,
And turn it into joy with a good word.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who was the wisest of all men, particularly in the realm of human psychology. In this verse we may thus expect to find the key to psychological well-being and the proper approach for dealing with problems of mental health.

The phrase "let him quash it" is actually only the most basic meaning of the verb that describes what we are to do with anxiety. Tradition has recorded two other, ancillary meanings of this verb "let him ignore it" and "let him articulate it." We thus have three distinct instructions regarding the proper response to anxiety. These three meanings therefore represent three different, complementary therapeutic techniques for dealing with anxiety. Together, these techniques, when properly implemented, may be expected to keep anxiety from developing into a more serious condition, and even to cure the sufferer completely.


 

Leave A Comment

 
Subscribe