Jonathan & Kim
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I’m a doctor, and Rachel has helped me learn how to handle some of the stress and sadness that sometimes comes with my job. I go to her to get advice, but also just to unload a lot of the stories that keep me up at night. It’s a great relief. I’m also a tough patient. If she didn’t know what she was talking about, I wouldn’t waste my time going to see her.
My sister recommended that I make an appointment with Rachel. I was reluctant at first. I thought I should see a male therapist because I wanted to talk about some, shall we say, bedroom issues, but I actually found myself feeling really comfortable with Rachel. She didn’t even raise an eyebrow. She’s heard it all before, and she just wanted to help. She helped quite a bit.
Being raised in an emotionally distant home meant that I didn’t know how to ask for what I needed emotionally from my husband, and saw that I hadn’t developed a lot of closeness and warmth with my children. As I reached my 40’s, I thought it was possibly too late to turn things around. I also wasn’t interested in dredging up my entire past so I could get the help I needed now. Rachel developed a short-term plan with me that felt right and very practical. I learned more about what I deserved in my relationships, got the strength to ask for it, and found the words to use.
I am a pastor, and people in the community come to me on a regular basis to discuss problems they are having. When the situation seems like it requires more than I can offer through pastoral counseling, I refer them to Rachel. I have been referring people to Rachel for over 10 years now.
I’m 16, and out to all my friends, but not to my family, and I was tired of being scared to tell them I was gay. While the world is getting progressively more…progressive, this wasn’t going to be happening anytime soon with my parents. Rachel called them in so we could all meet together and talk about it. I was terrified, but it was like watching her defuse a bomb. They stayed pretty calm, and we all got to talk about what we were honestly feeling. We met a few more times all together, and while it wasn’t always easy, that’s all we needed to get to a better and more open place with each other.v
I started seeing Rachel for my anxiety. I was so unhappy because I stopped doing the things I used to like to do. Rachel taught me how to deal with my anxiety and how to lower some of it. She has a reassuring voice, so sometimes I try to talk to myself the way she talks to me, and it helps. She is also not one of those professionally distant and patronizing therapists who talks down to you. She makes a connection, and she even smiles and laughs. My other therapists seemed more tense than I was!
I was raised in a cult, as bizarre as that sounds, and didn’t think there was anybody who could help me now that I had left. It was like being raised on another planet, and after seeing three therapists who just thought I was nuts and was making it all up, I found Rachel. She understood the craziness I had gone through, knew about the cult I was in, and had helped other former members who had left it. It’s gonna be a long road to recovery, but I couldn’t have started it without finding a therapist who knew about this and understood what I was talking about. Meeting other former cult members in Rachel’s support group was awesome, because it reminded I was not the only one dealing with this out there!
Hey dear friends, here’s a big plug for an extraordinary podcast from Rachel Bernstein, called “IndoctriNation”. Each episode features a brilliant interview with a cult survivor about their recruitment, dependence, dread of leaving, and — most importantly — their recovery.
Bernstein is a Marriage and Family Therapist, and her interviewing is welcoming and expansive. This podcast has been extremely healing for me to listen to, because the format is so personable, while too often cult analysis resources feel either highly technical or almost alarmist.
I especially appreciate that at the end of every interview Bernstein does a short and digestible educational piece that summarizes a chunk of theory or collates a number of takeaways that have helped her clients. I’m totally on board with her argument that studying undue influence is public health necessity. Highly, highly recommended. Thank you so much, Rachel.