“The Paradigm of Connections” Connects Ancient Jewish Wisdom and Sanity

The most recent approach to modern mental health is perhaps only 3,000 years old – and is Jewish.

In his new book, “The Connections Paradigm”, psychiatrist David H. Rosmarin explores an ancient concept in Jewish wisdom by claiming that humans are either connected or disconnected through three relationships in their lives – within (or with them). (themselves), the interpersonal and the spiritual – and that these relationships affect mental health.

Rosmarin, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Spirituality and Mental Health program at McLean Hospital, first heard of Rabbi Leib Kelemen’s “paradigm of connections”, which he said. calls his “religious mentor”. On a 2008 trip to visit Keleman in Jerusalem, Rosmarin told the rabbi he believed the world needed a spiritual approach to mental health, something that explained society’s struggles and offered solutions. practice.

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“There is a Jewish approach to this,” Rosmarin recalls, having told him the rabbi.

The psychiatrist spent the following years learning about Kelemen’s paradigm.

“If people have these three relationships and are in good shape, people can thrive and flourish,” said Rosmarin, “and not just be protected from anxiety, depression and depression. drug addiction – and all kinds of other illnesses that people come to hospitals for – but more broadly to live connected, happy, and flourishing lives. ”

Rosmarin attended Community Hebrew Academy in Toronto and spent time in a yeshiva before attending York University and University of Toronto and earning his doctorate. from Bowling Green State University. He compared Kelemen’s learning to “a fly on a yeshiva wall that took this concept and used it in clinical practice.”

Applying the connections paradigm to mental health, he said, was the real innovation.

“I don’t think there are a lot of people doing it,” he added. “I think it’s unique.”

Rosmarin, whose article “Psychiatry Needs to Get Right with God” was published on June 15 in Scientific American, said the mental health community has been receptive to the role of spirituality and religion in recent years.

He sees the Torah as a repository of strategies and ways to connect with God and improve emotional health. He said that “The Connections Paradigm” is a collection of such strategies.

“People’s relationship with God, whether close and connected or strained and absent, can have a big effect on how they feel,” Rosmarin said.

However, the information in the book is not just religious. The first section deals exclusively with a person’s relationship to himself.

The connection one has with one’s body – including diet, exercise, relationships with friends, and even the amount of nighttime sleep – plays a vital role in mental health, according to Rosmarin.

Taking care of your body is “not generally respected,” he said. “There are ground rules for the body, and we ignore them. Since Thomas Edison, nobody gets enough sleep. At the end of the day, we are no good. We are by no means role models of personal care. ”

He lamented the fact that people often don’t take the time to ask themselves why they ignore their relationship with their inner selves.

“Who is your North Star?” Rosmarin asked. “Where are we going? What is your goal? What are your values? If people respect their bodies and have a set of values, that is part of being a healthy human being.

The Book of Rosmarin is divided into three sections, each with four chapters containing a technique for connecting with ourselves, others, and our spirituality. He suspects that everyone will find at least one technique useful, even if they are already trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, Rosmarin said that despite the book’s Jewish foundations, “The Connections Paradigm” was not written exclusively for a Jewish audience. Because of the universality of his tenets, he said, he may one day lecture at Columbia University and speak in a synagogue the next.

“It’s the culmination of 10 or 15 years of working on studying the paradigm, doing clinical work, helping my patients use the techniques and finally writing the book,” he said. “I am happy that he is available and available for people to learn more.” PJC

David Rullo can be contacted at drullo@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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