In my former life, as a Freudian psychoanalyst. I was good at saying: "Ahah! Of course I tried to utter the word in my most professional tone. It was a comfortable role for me. I would sit back...listen, and, at a few junctures during the session, I spoke in short spurts.
I always saw myself as the quiet, reserved psychoanalyst. This role seemed to fit because I was more comfortable speaking to people one-on-one than in groups - public speaking was definitely not my thing - or least that's what I thought.
As much as I enjoyed my role as psychoanalyst, I think I enjoyed being the patient even more - I was a patient for almost 9 years. How else could I have stayed in therapy for that long if I didn't enjoy some aspect of it? If your analyst tells you that he stayed in analysis for a long time because he wanted to be good analyst - don't believe it. Nobody continues for that long unless they are getting some type of personal satisfaction from it.
Until I was reincarnated as a Breslever Chasid, I didn't realize what was so inherently satisfying about being a psychoanalytic patient - but it's really quite simple:
I GOT TO TALK VIRTUALLY UNINTERRUPTED FOR HOURS ON END!!
What was so satisfying about speaking?
To express one's inner life in speech is man's most defining characteristic. The proof is in the Talmud which defines us as the "speaking creature." Isn't it interesting that Freud called his invention, psychoanalysis ,"the speaking cure?"
Oh, do I wish that were true!
I estimate that in my nine years of psychoanalysis I spent nearly $150,000 - that was during the 1990's. It's much more today - and no, I was not cured.
No regrets though - because I did find something quite valuable in all that psychobabble. What I found was:
What's different today is that instead of lying on a couch and staring up at the same dots on the ceiling everyday - Now, I'm speaking to Hashem in the forests and fields of the Holy land - FOR FREE!
When you find your voice you find yourself. That's why Rebbe Nachman says that when we speak to G-d we must pronounce the words out loud. When I hear myself speaking to Hashem and telling him the truth of what I'm struggling with, the words keep me present and focus my concentration more intensely on see who I really am and where I need to go from here.
Once you find your voice you will sound different to yourself and others. The quality of your voice will change and so will how you express yourself. It makes sense that this should be so, since the Talmud said - we are the "speaking creatures." I suppose the more distant I was from being able to speak openly and honestly to G-d the more distant I was from my true identity.
Not long after I switched doctors and began speaking to Hashem, the true doctor of my soul, I discovered something quite amazing. I realized that my voice was becoming more powerful. No longer were my words trapped in the constriction of my throat. My voice spoke from much deeper within me and seemed to speak before I knew what it was going to say. Speaking has become an adventure and very precious to me because now it's my path to self-discovery, growth and connection with Hashem.
The resonance of my vocal cords satisfies. The simple act of speaking - like breathing - is inherently pleasurable. I can use speech at anytime to break free from whatever is controlling me and connect to the Truth of what I'm feeling. My "new" voice also is not particular about whether I'm speaking to one person or a thousand - to Hashem it's all the same.
When I'm honest about what I'm thinking and feeling I find Hashem because Hashem is the ultimate Truth. "The seal of the Holy One, Blessed is He is emes (truth). The royal stamp and insignia of the King of Kings which he sends out on all his correspondence to us is spelled emes, truth. In Hebrew the word emes, is spelled: aleph, mem, tuf. Aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, mem is smack in the middle and tuf is the last letter. The Truth (Hashem) is the beginning, middle and end of everything. Whenever we deviate from the Truth in ourselves we get disconnected from Hashem. That's why I need to speak to Hashem from my body - because only in my body...in my heart, will I find my real feelings - not in my head.
I always thought my identity was to be a quiet, reserved and thoughtful psychoanalyst. This role seemed to fit because I didn't know who I was. Have I been transformed into a "social butterfly?"
Just the person who I was meant to be.
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Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can see Dr. Zev's live video broadcast every Wednesday at 5pm Israel time here on breslev.co.il. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.