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Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness Paperback – March 8, 2005


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Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness + Reaching Godward: Voices from Jewish Spiritual Guidance + Jewish Spiritual Direction: An Innovative Guide from Traditional & Contemporary Sources
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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

More About the Author

Information about Estelle Frankel, her counseling practice and teaching schedule can be found at www.sacredtherapy.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Estelle Frankel's Sacred Therapy is a groundbreaking book in the new field of Spiritual Guidance.
Rosie Rosenzweig
I particularly loved Estelle Frankel's writing on T'shuvah as being the call from the inner divine spark to return to our wholeness....delicious!
Jinks Hoffmann
I had to put this book down more than 5 times and wrap my mind around what I'd just read and how profound it was for me.
R. Mardis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Kully, Marriage and Family Therapist on June 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Estelle Frankel's "Sacred Therapy" is one of the most important and optimistic books I have read, as a woman, a therapist, a Jew, a human being. Whether the reader arrives at this writing with explicit spiritual knowledge and practices, or simply a deep longing for understanding and peace, Estelle's graceful blend of wisdom and heartfulness inducts each of us into a direct experience of wholeness, of the Divine. Estelle does not skirt around issues of pain and suffering, nor the practical, rather, she dives headlong into the darkness with us, with Torah and simple tools, and, magically, we resurface with more hope and a greater ability to respond to Life as it truly is. For psychotherapists, Jewish or otherwise, Estelle offers a language and a context which urges us to "remember" our Selves large enough to hold our clients and to offer them a well to drink from, too. Through rich stories of Jewish history and spirituality, and with the support of guided meditations, Estelle invites us to know our Selves individually and in connection, through the eyes of God, even if we don't believe in God.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Gruber on July 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Do you believe in coincidences? Recently, at Harbin Hot Springs, a fabulous retreat center in Northern California, I was handed a book by an author who said, "I was planning to give this away to someone else, but it looks like you are the right person to hand it to." The attractive dark-haired woman who gave me the book was named Estelle Frankel, and is it turns out, I *was* the right person, at least in the sense that the book has made a deep impression on me.

A practicing psychotherapist and a "seasoned teacher of Jewish mysticism, Frankel studied and practiced Jewish mysticism in Israel for 8 years, and has been personally tutored by both Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. For someone like myself, who has been in and out of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah as a dilettante, I have found parts of this book absolutely fascinating, especially Biblical-era stories and musings of what it was, exactly, that happened with Moses and the People of Israel out there in the desert... (When was the last time you were part of a group illumination, what my Pennsylvanian friends would call an "egregrore"?)

The book consists of modern-stay healing stories, Midrashic-level musings, Hasidic wisdom and tales, and practical rituals and strategies for self-transformation and spiritual upliftment. The Kabbalah is, of course, returned to time and time again, and many themes that I would call (perhaps anachronistically) gnostic permeate the text. Here is one of my favorite passages:

"At every transition point in the life cycle, when one stage of life ends and another begins, we inevitably pass through this death-rebirth cycle of creation, dissolutoin, and re-creation.
Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jinks Hoffmann on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a psychotherapist and spiritual director and I found Estelle Frankel's book Sacred Therapy to be an absolute jewel. The blend of Jewish teachings, psychotherapy, and spiritual direction is masterful. I resonate very much indeed with many of the teachings, and say "yes!" often as I read. I particularly loved Estelle Frankel's writing on T'shuvah as being the call from the inner divine spark to return to our wholeness....delicious! I have read parts of the book to my husband , and he too has found the work rich and inviting....

Jinks Hoffmann
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Goldie on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book shifted my view of my life. My Jewish background is very rich in knowledge, learning and practice. Yet this book changed me in very meaningful ways. Estelle Frankel discusses her own life, her struggles and insights in such a generous and giving manner that it's as though she's giving the reader a gift, the gift of inviting you to gently examine your own life, your own belief system, your own relationships. By relationships, I mean with other people, with yourself and with God. Yes, the operative word is "gently". There is no hard challenge, no daring, just a gentle invitation to look inside, make discoveries and consider new ways. I love this book and I highly recommend it, no matter where you are on your personal or spiritual path.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Julia Gilden on April 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Behind the scholarly title Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness is a book I found to be entertaining, informative, and comforting.
The format of Sacred Therapy lays out a field I can easily navigate. Author and therapist Estelle Frankel defines terms and sets a course that weaves personal context through the primary Jewish mystical map: to see ourselves as imperfect (but perfect-able) vessels of light; working through healing and rebirth; and, finally, becoming a whole and integrated person. Frankel writes conversationally and cuts to the chase in the first chapter: just as the universe was scattered in its inception, so are we like shattered vessels. Looking at our lives, we can relate to the Kaballistic paradigm and begin to love our imperfect selves while we work to reassemble our emotional parts into wholeness.
I've always found deciphering and distilling wisdom I can use from the Kaballah an esoteric and many-layered task. Similarly, the writings of Hassidic mystics have often seemed like they belong to another time. Frankel compares elements of our personal stories, the aspects which trouble or confuse us, with historical and mythical characters whose narratives parallel ours when viewed through a mystical prism. In my case, the death of my granddaughter, something I can't ever imagine "getting over" was addressed in the Hassidic perspective on an unexpected need to reconnect after loss.
Even if I weren't looking for a message I could specifically use, I would have found Sacred Therapy riveting for its success in making Jewish mysticism understandable and helpful in my not-very-organized efforts to get my own shattered psychic parts back into a lovely vessel.
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