What Causes Addiction?

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman The question of what causes addiction is one that has been the focus of scientific research for many years, and the answer is somewhat confusing. Is it a predisposition that one is born with, a result of peer pressure, or an attempt to soothe negative emotions? I am sure that you would […]

Complicated Grief

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Death is part of life, and therefore grief and bereavement are also parts of life. Our existence in the set number of years allotted to us by Hashem tends to be full of emotional ups and downs. This is normal. Indeed, even some extreme symptoms of grief are normal for a period […]


Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Nagging is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “constantly harassing someone to do something”. This is often the go-to approach that people use to get their spouse to do something that they are resisting. The stereotype in our culture is that of a nagging wife, but in reality both genders engage in […]

Ten Findings from Behavioral Genetics

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Behavioral Genetics is the study of genetic and environmental influences on behaviors. In other words, the task of behavioral geneticists is to weigh in on the age-old debate of nature vs. nurture and determine how much influence your DNA or your environment has on your personality, intelligence, temperament, and other psychological factors. […]

Blended Families

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Blended families, for better or for worse, are more common than they used to be, and the challenges they offer can be overwhelming, especially if you do not prepare in advance. Stepparents, step siblings, and step relatives lead to complicated family dynamics, and a positive outcome requires a proper navigation of this […]

Disorder or Difference?

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that covers a broad range of symptoms and includes a range of individuals; from fully functioning members of society to those who are unable to live independently even as adults. There is a lively debate if autism is a true disorder or it merely reflects […]

Rabbanim and Therapists

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Mental illness is a part of our lives just as much as physical illness. Although in the past, suffering from mental illness was a skeleton than needed to remain in a carefully guarded closet, today we are slowly warming up to the reality of mental illness and its necessary treatments. As such, […]

Liking Your Therapist

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman The therapeutic alliance – also known as the therapeutic relationship – has been proven by countless studies to be a better predictor of a successful outcome than the specific type of therapy that is practiced by the therapist. Does this mean that you need to like your therapist in order to have […]

Psychological Flexibility and ACT

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman Chazal teach us (Taanis 20a) that a person should be as flexible as a reed that when strong winds blow the reed sways back and forth until the winds subside and the reed remains standing. Flexibility can be applied to many areas of our lives, and more specifically the trait of psychological […]

The Thrill of Fear

Rabbi Azriel Hauptman We spend a lot of time and resources protecting ourselves from fearful occurrences. We wear seat belts, alarm our homes, take vaccines, set up Hatzalah organizations, etc. Real life is scary and prudence would dictate taking whatever measures we can to avoid frightening situations. Then, why do people actively seek out terrifying […]