The answer to that question is the reason this site was created. Frum communities are by nature close-knit and highly intertwined. No doubt you have had the experience of playing “Jewish geography” and finding a common link within minutes. If there are only six degrees of separation in the world at large, in the frum community it’s probably no more than two.
So when someone needs counseling for mental health issues, shalom bayis problems, parenting help, and more, it can feel impossible to turn to someone in the community for help; it feels like airing one’s dirty laundry. Although I don’t believe anyone needs to be ashamed of having a mental illness or of seeking help in their personal lives, I nonetheless want people to be able to get help if they won’t seek it out in a way that others might become aware.
Enter FrumCounselor.com, your local/global Orthodox Jewish therapist online. I started this website years ago, when teletherapy was still in its infant stages, to serve frum Jews around the globe. Initially I assumed that this service would be most sought out by folks living in smaller out-of-town communities where there may not be any frum therapists to begin with, or if there was one, inevitably it would be someone they would see daily or weekly. Worse, it might be someone they have regular interactions with elsewhere (what we in the business call “dual relationships”), such as when the help seeker is a rebbe or teacher in the one frum day school in town and the therapist is a parent at that same school, perhaps even a parent of a student in that teacher’s class.
It turns out that FrumCounselor.com has actually been quite popular even for yidden searching for a frum therapist online who live in major Jewish metropolises such as New York and New Jersey. Some of them have come from Chassidic communities where, even in a place like New York, the borders of their own community are relatively small. Others are simply seeking the various benefits of using a frum therapist online – such as the significant added convenience of not having to leave home, the flexible scheduling, or the higher level of confidentiality. And then of course there is something to be said for the reputation of the counselor attracting clients!
Recently someone contacted me to try to set up a session in person, but was unsure if the distance was too far. I offered to do therapy online, and was met with a blunt, “Really? Does that work?” The answer to that is a categorical “yes.” Research has found that online therapy is as effective, and in some cases more effective, than in-person therapy. While there is certainly a different “feel” to a session conducted online vs. in person, it is just that – different – which does not necessarily mean better or worse. As with any real choices in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. Working with a frum therapist online is therefore a perfectly valid and appropriate choice for people in a wide variety of circumstances who may be seeking help for a range of different problems.
If you’ve been thinking of seeing an Orthodox Jewish therapist online or in person, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you achieve the results you are seeking in the context of an authentic Jewish approach, as I have with many other clients both via the internet and face to face.