The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 137–158 | Cite as

Authority, Psychotherapy and the Authority of the Therapist in the Religious Haredi Community

  • Esther Hess


This article considers the meaning and significance of authority, and its relevance to the transference process, within the framework of psychotherapy in the orthodox Jewish (Haredi) community in Israel. In this community, deeply-rooted habits of obedience to the commandments of the Torah and the authority of the Rabbi are integral to maintaining an orthodox way of life. Clinical vignettes with Haredi patients are presented to illustrate the complexities that arise when both patient and therapist belong to the orthodox community, and highlight the authority-related issues that are central to the therapy. This combination of factors requires a sensitive and finely-tuned approach which will enable the therapist to maintain the treatment framework while still accommodating the orthodox way of life.


authority obedience orthodox Jewish psychotherapy in the Haredi community 



The author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Mariam Cohen (Arizona, USA) for her patient help and valuable suggestions, and Lieske Bloom (Israel) for the translation from Hebrew, and her help in bringing this paper to publication.


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Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bnei BrakIsrael

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