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Religious conflict affects individuals, couples, and families.
Clinicians ask clients about their relationship with partners, children and parents - when working with religious clients it is critical to inquire... 
Other questions to consider asking
"How has your loved one's changes in practice affected your relationship?"
"Tell me about your relationship with God." 
"How have your changes in religious beliefs affected your relationship with others?"

Families are often affected by members either rejecting their religious upbringing, or conversely,  returning to a religious way of life despite being raised in a secular family. This has psychological implications for all involved. Sometimes religious conflict happens with partners after marriage. Religious conflict is a topic that often permeates discussions in psychotherapy. 


Gila Cohen Davidovsky, LCSW


My case study illustrates how religious conflict can define a couple’s therapy. The couple therapist’s understanding of religious background can enable deeper discussion. For example, the therapist’s knowledge of observance creates a thera- peutic space to explore broader themes of grief, longing, anger, religious commitment, God, and ultimately, commitment to marriage. Religious themes emblematic in Orthodox Judaism are highlighted in this case study. Changes in one’s religious practice can generate a shift in the marital relationship; how to address religious changes and conflicts in therapy is explored using a framework of emotionally focused therapy. Practice implications are offered, which focus on confronting religious conflict when working with similar couples.

Keywords Orthodox Jews · Marital therapy · Religious conflict · Chabad · Judaism · Religion · Spiritual abuse · Emotionally focused therapy.


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The Orthodox Jewish Couple in Therapy: Addressing Religious Conflict and Confronting the Divine Elephant in the Room

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I Grew Up Orthodox, But I Just Can’t Stay

Read a personal story by a former Orthodox Jew. 

"We have Orthodoxy all wrong. A common perception among the Orthodox is that their way of life is the only moral way to do what Hashem (God) wants of us. I grew up like that. I don’t believe it anymore".

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There are many books on those leaving the fold. Here is a link for a partial list.

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Why Orthodox Judaism Is Appealing to So Many Millennials

Young Americans might be leaving religion in large numbers, but for some, rules, ritual, and tradition are attractive ways to find meaning in daily life.

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Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism 

by Sarah Bunin Benor 

Religious beliefs and healthcare decisions are influenced by the laws according to traditional Judaism. 

Understanding the laws and customs that affect these decisions will provide the clinician with greater knowledge and foster cultural sensitivity. When there is religious conflict with self, others and/or God, these decisions can be especially complicated.

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