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Torah Life Coaching (TLC)


Source: Hamodia Magazine

By Ashirah Yosefah

January 11, 2012


TLC, an Art of the Gedolei Yisrael


Life coaching and counseling of Jews is an art that has been practiced by our Gedolim throughout our history, and they have passed this vital skill on, from generation to generation, primarily by Shimush – apprenticeship by the observant disciple.Their Torah-based guidance has enabled the Jewish people to survive and flourish.


In recent years, coaching and counseling have evolved as a human science, based on research, experimentation and observation in many fields, including sports performance psychology, executive coaching, positive psychology, medical hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and solution-focused brief counseling and coaching.


Science Validates Torah Coaching


Dr. Joshua Ritchie, MD, Dean of the Refuah Institute, has observed that modern research methods are re-validating coaching and counseling as it has been practiced by our Gedolim for centuries. Professor Ritchie was privileged to learn the art of coaching and counseling by first hand observation of several great rabbinic counselors, including the previous Amshinover Rebbe, Rabbi Y. Y. Meir Kalish, Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Rabbi Gedaliah Koenig and Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, may the merit of the Tsaddikim protect us.


Dr. Ritchie’s professional background is extensive. It has afforded him the opportunity to be trained as an educator, a professor of medicine, a Board-certified family practitioner and pediatrician, a published author, a coach, counselor, and hypnotherapist. He also has semicha. As a result, Professor Ritchie is uniquely qualified to blend the best of human sciences with the Torah-based techniques so carefully handed down by our Gedolim from generation to generation.


New Terminology for Proven Techniques


These tried and true counseling techniques of the Gedolei Torah are taught in the Refuah Institute program, where they are referred to as: establishing rapport with empathetic understanding; respect and loving care; taking a positive, solution-focused approach to a problem; building on clients’ strengths and previous successes; restoring and rebuilding a client’s sense of competence and confidence. “Our guiding principle is ‘v’ahavtah l’rayechah kamochah’,” Professor Ritchie advises. “To be a good life coach, you have to have to qualities of a good Jew. At the Refuah Institute, we teach Torah principles our students already know, and we show them how to apply these principles to the benefit of their clients’ lives and their own.”


Frum Jews Have a Natural Advantage


Frum Jews are naturally adept at learning to be a skillful life coach because the principles are Torah-based. Unfortunately, Jews today often don’t benefit from shimush with Gedolei Yisrael, Rebbes and menahelos. “We not only lecture about these skills, we demonstrate them, and supervise the practice of them to the point where student coach learns to master those skills and become professionals at helping people,” says Professor Ritchie,whose own experience came by shimush. “The coaching process gets to be an exciting dynamic process of discovery,” he adds.“You’re helping clients discover and utilize all their talents and resources.”


A ‘Kosher’ Profession with Many Applications


Why should a frum person consider a career as a life coach? There are many reasons: The profession is adaptable to a wide variety of fields and locations, and it is a ‘kosher’ way to enter well-paying professions. Refuah Institute graduates serve their communities as certified life coaches, and many have applied their coaching skills to careers as school counselors, administrators, educators, kiruv professionals, shadchanim, marriage, family and career counselors, and community leaders. Torah Life Coaching is a field that a frum Jew can feel proud to enter.


The Refuah Institute’s Professional Diploma and Certification Program is specifically designed for the frum Jewish community and does not require the prerequisite of a university degree. Students include lay people, leaders, directors and managers of organizations, institutions and businesses, community leaders, individuals looking to become professional business and organizational coaches, as well as life coaches looking to improve their skills.


Torah Life Coaching Certification


The Refuah Institute employs the latest technology to make its programs available to students in the convenience of their home or office by telephone conference and/or live interactive video conferencing. Students receive one-on-one personal coaching and supervision, even in the distance-learning format. Of course, students are always welcome to attend the classes in person at the Refuah Institute in Jerusalem. Program graduates receive a Refuah Institute Diploma, as well as Certification by the American Association of Professional Coaches.


The distinguished faculty of the Refuah Institute includes Dr. Joshua Ritchie, M.D., Dean, Associate Dean, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Rabbi Nosson Schafer, MSC, Stewart Hirsch, Rebbetzin Liliane Ritchie and Rebbitzen Rivka Finkel, MA.

Refuah Graduates March 2005

Every week there was something that I could implement immediately, yet the full depth and value of the ideas and concepts matured throughout the duration of the program. The practice and role-playing sessions were especially powerful learning techniques.


~ Rabbi Tsvi Koehler AAPC

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