Ellen Lewis

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Rabbi and Psychoanalyst

  • Dealing with difficult personalities
  • Self-awareness
  • Work/life balance
  • Professional supervision
  • Personal Therapy

Even the most experienced rabbis cannot anticipate what to do in all circumstances. Rabbis quickly become the object of the fantasies and feelings of each and every congregant, client, patient, board member, or other constituent. For some, the rabbi is the parent they never had; for others, the rabbi is the parent with whom they are still struggling for resolution. How can anyone be prepared to deal with personalities of such great variety and often difficulty?

Both individual and group supervision provide an opportunity to process the daily challenges of the rabbinate. Talking in a safe environment on a regularly scheduled basis offers a way of heading off predictable problems and of feeling more competent to deal with the unpredictable. The process increases self-awareness and emotional flexibility while mitigating the sense of isolation that can come with being a rabbi. The goal of supervision is to enable you to feel comfortable and satisfied with your work while trying to maintain the ever elusive work-life balance. Both group and individual supervision offer a form of self-care for rabbis whose focus is usually on care for others.

Rabbi Ellen Lewis (www.rabbiellenlewis.com) has a particular interest in the integration of religious and psychoanalytical concepts and has worked at developing models of clinical supervision for rabbis, cantors, and other religious professionals.  In her private practice, she works with rabbis and cantors in therapy and supervision.  After her ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1980, she served congregations in Dallas, Texas, and Summit, New Jersey, where she was named Rabbi Honorata.  Since 1994, she has been the Rabbi of the Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey in Washington, NJ (www.jcnwj.org). 

Rabbi Lewis is also a certified and licensed modern psychoanalyst in private practice in Bernardsville, New Jersey and in New York City. She received her analytical training in New York at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies (www.cmps.edu) and at present serves on the faculty of the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (www.acapnj.org).  She is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (www.aapc.org). She can be reached via email at rabbiellenlewis@rabbiellenlewis.com or in her NJ office 908 766 7586.