Cover image for Sacred therapy : Jewish spiritual teachings on emotional healing and inner wholeness
Sacred therapy : Jewish spiritual teachings on emotional healing and inner wholeness
Frankel, Estelle.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Shambhala, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 332 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM723 .F675 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BM723 .F675 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



InSacred Therapy,Estelle Frankel takes a fresh look at the central myths, metaphors, and spiritual practices of the Jewish tradition, explaining how people of any faith can draw upon this rich body of teachings to gain wisdom, clarity, and a deeper sense of meaning in the midst of modern life. In an engaging, accessible, and compassionate style, Frankel brings together tales and teachings from the Bible, the Talmud, Kabbalah, and the Hasidic tradition as well as evocative case studies and guided meditations to create an original, inspirational guide to emotional healing and spiritual growth. Frankel demonstrates the universal applicability and wisdom that is hidden in Jewish sources, and she also presents a way to incorporate these spiritual insights into the practice of psychotherapy. Showing us how to skillfully weave together personal and sacred narrative, she reveals how we can transform our vulnerabilities into strengths and restore a sense of coherence in our lives even when things seem broken or shattered. The ultimate goal of both psychotherapy and spiritual practice, she says, is to open our hearts fully to life-to the raw and painful as well as to the beautiful, joyous, and sacred dimensions of existence-for wholeness is reached only when we can embrace and integrate the contradictory and often fragmented aspects of our being. At a time when so many people are searching for ways to bring greater spiritual depth and meaning to their lives, Frankel offers a powerful and authentic vision of how to do just that.

Author Notes

Estelle Frankel is a psychotherapist and a seasoned teacher of Jewish mysticism and meditation

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

"There is nothing more whole than a broken heart," taught Hasidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. Frankel cites that paradoxical wisdom as well as other biblical, Hasidic, Talmudic and kabbalistic traditions to shape her thesis: healing begins with brokenness and leads to transformation, wholeheartedness and renewal. As a psychotherapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism, Frankel integrates the psyche and spirit so they "flow as two currents in a single stream, creating a synergistic healing power." She uses the kabbalistic myth of the shattered vessels to mirror the inevitability of brokenness in our lives, the broken tablets at Sinai as a metaphor for imperfection, the Exodus from Egypt as a reflection of change and self-liberation and the process of teshuvah (repentance) and the High Holiday cycle as paradigms for healing. "Locating ourselves in Jewish myth and metaphor," she says, can lessen the sense of isolation in suffering, as well as enlarge our identities through spiritual awareness. The book is divided into three parts: kabbalistic cosmology and healing; healing and birthing the self; and wholeness and integration. Client case studies and reflections on her own life focus on common psychological complaints: a broken heart, transition, loss, depression and illness. Suggestions for guided meditations and spiritual rituals give readers practical ways to be "healed by, or in spite of, whatever illnesses and difficulties we face in our lives." Those familiar with the concept of tikkun olam-repairing the world-will discover here its more personal and interconnected form-tikkun nefesh: healing our own souls. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Psychotherapist Frankel draws on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Kabala to provide a Jewish perspective on the universal issues of pain, healing, and growth that are faced in a therapist's office. Throughout, Frankel interweaves her personal story and experiences with Judaism with her accounts of working with clients. Her background knowledge is extensive and she readily quotes from an impressive variety of sources to illustrate her points. Her use of Kabalistic cosmology-involving shattered vessels and sparks of light to reflect on emotional pain, broken-heartedness, and separation-is especially strong and moving, as is her linking of these themes with the image of the broken tablets of the law at Mt. Sinai. The book seems to be written for both clients and therapists. It is more substantive than a typical self-help book and would be best used by someone with a strong connection to Judaism. Therapists who include a spiritual perspective in their work would likely benefit from the many moving metaphors and images Frankel illuminates. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll. Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.