Muitos americanos, mas poucos judeus, vão aos sacerdotes para aconselhamento sobre problemas emocionais do que ir aos psicólogos.

Muitos dos ancestrais dos judeus da Europa Oriental compareciam diante dos Rabis para consulta sobre questões religiosas mas como um tipo de terapia. Agora um psicólogo judeu de Chicago está usando histórias, de Noé a Jó, do Livro dos Livros para proporcionar ajuda a pacientes de todas bases religiosas, inclusive crentes e ateus.

Prof. Kalman Kaplan do Departmento de Psiquiatria e Educação médica da Universidade de Illinois é um dos que defendem o campo da psicologia bíblica e acredita que a técnica provê terapia poderosa para muitas pessoas em busca de ajuda para seus problemas: queixas comuns de uma determinada pessoas, por exemplo, podem ser comparadas às aflições de Jó.

Kaplan é co-autor de vários livros, incluindo: Biblical and Psychological Foundations; A Psychology of Hope: A Biblical Response to Tragedy and Suicide; Living with Schizophrenia; Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Sourcebook and The Fruit of Her Hands: Biblical Woman and Her Sense of Purpose.

O fundador da psicoanálise, Sigmund Freud, sempre disse que era contra a religião, disse Kaplan, mas “ele era muitos envolvido pela mitologia grega”.

Nós somos o povo da Esperança. O que aconteça conosco, nós reconstruímos de novo e de novo. Um visão de esperança da vida pode superar a tragédia. No Judaísmo, Deus está em todo lugar e a humanidade está aqui. Há sempre um diálogo, uma disputa. É um relacionamento saudável. No Islam, há a submissão e no Cristianismo, há a rebelião” disse Kaplan, que frequentou uma Sinagoga e estudou a Bíblia informalmente.

Seus personagens favoritos incluem Abraão, Davi, Rute e Jó. “Davi foi tão humano!” ele disse. “Eventualmente o ser humano falha. Eventos da vida de Davi eu reprovaria, como a maneira que conheceu Bathsheba. Mas os personagens são cheios de personalidades.”

“O pensamento grego vê a si mesmo e o outro como fundalmente opostos, enquanto no pensamento bíblico os convoca para trabalhar em harmonia. O ciclo grego de Narciso entre o auto-desenvolvimento e envolvimento, então ele se contempla e comete suicídio. Mas Jonas mostra como o desenvolvimento psicológico e traz a ideia de arrependimento e perdão. Ele pode alcançar o outro sem perder-se a si mesmo.”

A psicologia bíblica, Kaplan continua, “a questão é de obediência e desobediência. Se Zeus é deus, a alternativa única é rebelar-se; se é o Deus bíblico, há benefícios na obediência.

Considere as duas estórias de Dilúvio: Prometheus deve furtar o desenho da Arca do caprichoso. Mas ao temente a Deus, Noé, é entregue o projeto da Arca para salvação.

“Os gregos antigos entendiam o mundo como a Natureza precedendo os deuses. No relato bíblico da Criação, Deus precede a natureza. O Gênesis não subordina o homem à natureza ou foca no conflito de Édipo entre pai e filho ou antagonsimo entre homem e mulher.”

Na famosa estória grega, Pandora é descrita como uma maldição ao homem. mas Eva, a mãe da espécie humana é descrita como benção para Adão e uma ajudadora, disse Kaplan. Na visão grega, unir-se a uma mulher é visto como contrário a autonomia do homem.

A benção do pai aparece na Bíblia para resolver conflitos de família. Uma benção ancestral pode promover algum nível de reconciliação entre os descendentes, como a benção de Jacó a todos os seus filhos. Na mitologia grega, um pai nunca abençoa seus filhos. Pelo contrário, um conflito familiar se torna mais grave e pode levar a auto-destruição, como na família de Édipo.

O livro de Rute aparece como alternativa a lenda grega de Electra para compreensão do relacionamento de mães e filhas, de novo com base na aliança de amor e compromisso diante do abandono.

Ao contrário dos gregos antigos que aprovavam o suicídio para conduzir à liberdade, o judeu entende como homicídio contra si mesmo.

“Eu tenho usado Jonas para tratar pacientes que tentaram o suicídio. Jonas mostra como conciliar a si e o outro. Eu o comparo a Narciso, que nunca poderia integrar os dois e suicidou-se. Eu recebo vários pacientes com diversos tipos de problemas e tento conectá-los com estórias bíblicas.”

O psicólogo Kalman Kaplan, diretor do Centro de Pesquisa sobre o Suicídio de Chicago, que atualmente desenvolve um estudo sobre os suicídios assistidos de Kevorkian. Kevorkian foi um médico mundialmente conhecido por sua luta para fazer do suicídio assistido um direito de todos. Ele ganhou o apelido Dr. Morte logo no início de sua carreira, ainda como médico residente, ao fotografar os olhos de pacientes mortos para experiências. Naquela época, defendia que os órgãos de pacientes mortos fossem retirados e utilizados em transplantes e, por conta disso, foi convidado a deixar a residência médica. Com 47 casos já revisados, Kaplan afirma que “há muito poucas provas de que Kevorkian tenha se consultado com o médico ou o psiquiatra das vítimas”, o que explicaria a rapidez com a que Kevorkian assistia a seus “pacientes” –pois combinava os suicídios em um ou dois dias depois da primeira consulta, e evidenciaria uma vez mais a tanática obsessão do Doutor Morte.

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More Americans – but few Jews – go to their clergymen for counselling about their emotional problems than to psychologists.

Many of the Jews’ ancestors in Eastern Europe went to their rebbes not only to consult regarding religious practice and belief but also as a kind of therapist. Now a Jewish clinical, social and developmental psychologist in Chicago is using stories – from Noah to Job – from the Book of Books to provide help to patients of all backgrounds, whether they are believers or atheists.

Prof. Kalman Kaplan of the departments of psychiatry and medical education at the University of Illinois is one of the advocates of the field of biblical psychology and believes the technique can provide powerful therapy to many people seeking help for their problems: An ordinary person’s woes, for example, look small compared to the afflictions of Job.

Kaplan is visiting Israel as a fellow of the Fulbright program, the US government’s most prestigious and widely-known academic exchange programs, whose local participation has been managed by the USIsrael Educational Foundation since 1956.

He has also authored or co-authored a number of books, including The Family: Biblical and Psychological Foundations;A Psychology of Hope: A Biblical Response to Tragedy and Suicide; Living with Schizophrenia;Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Sourcebook and The Fruit of Her Hands: Biblical Woman and Her Sense of Purpose.

The founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, always said he was against religion, said Kaplan, but “he was very much involved in the ancient Greek religion.

We are a people of hope. Whatever happens to us, we rebuild again and again. A hopeful view of life can overcome tragedy; in Judaism, God is everywhere and humanity is here; there is always a dialogue, a wrestling match. It’s a healthier relationship.

In Islam, there is submission, and in Christianity, there is rebellion,” said Kaplan, who went to Hebrew school and studied Bible informally.

His favorite characters include the biblical Abraham, David, Ruth and Job.

“David was so human!” he said. “Even the ones I like have flaws. Parts of David I didn’t like, like the way he got Bathsheba. But the characters have such full personalities.”

“Greek thought sees self and other as fundamentally opposed, while Biblical thought regards them as working in harmony. The Greek Narcissus cycles between selfinvolvement and enmeshment – he ultimately idealizes his own face in the brook and commits suicide. But Jonah shows psychological development and ultimately learns the message of (repentance and divine mercy. He can reach out to another without losing himself.”

Biblical psychology, Kaplan continued, “addresses the question of obedience versus disobedience. If one’s god is Zeus, one should and indeed must rebel; if it is the biblical God, one may benefit from obeying.

Consider the two flood stories: Prometheus must steal the blueprint for the ark from the capricious Zeus. But the just and God-fearing Noah is freely given the blueprint for the ark by God.

“The ancient Greek understanding of the world sees Nature as preceding the gods. In the biblical account of Creation, God precedes nature. The biblical creation stories do not subordinate man to nature or focus on an Oedipal conflict between father and son or antagonism between man and woman.”

In a famous Greek story, Pandora is described as a curse to man. But, Eve – the mother of mankind – is described as a blessing to Adam and a helpmeet, said Kaplan. In the Greek view, attachment to a woman is seen as opposing man’s autonomy, while according to the Bible, attachment to a woman is seen as positive to achieving autonomy, he explained.

Relationships between parents and children are constant themes on the psychiatrist’s proverbial couch. The story of Abraham carrying out God’s order to bind his son Isaac to the altar to test him before he sacrifices him provides an alternative to the Greek legend of Oedipus to understand the relationship between fathers and sons. The biblical story “suggests an unambivalent resolution of the father-son relationship that is based on a covenant of love and shared purpose between parent and child.”

The Hellenistic culture often deals with castration and the mother as seducing her son. But ritual circumcision in the Bible “can be seen as a non-injurious alternative to castration, transforming the father into a teacher and the son into a disciple. The father wants the son to both succeed and surpass him. The basis of morality is thus not fear but a covenantal relationship between God, father and son. The son does not need to rebel against the father because he already has his father’s blessing,” Kaplan pointed out. “The Greek mythological characters wanted to live forever. But in the Bible, people become parents, which is part of the human condition. The child will one day inherit the covenant, so you won’t block him. It shows we are linked in a chain for one generation to follow the previous one. It’s natural and has implications for parent/child relationships.”

A father’s blessing appears in the Bible to resolve conflict in the family. Originally the source of sibling conflict, Kaplan said, such a blessing may work to achieve some level of reconciliation between offspring, as does Jacob’s blessings to all his sons. But in Greek mythology, a father never blesses his children.

Instead, family conflict tragically becomes angrier in each succeeding generation until the family self-destructs, as did the family of Oedipus.

The Book of Ruth provides an alternative to the Greek legend of Electra to understand the relationship between mothers and daughters, again based on a covenant of love and shared purpose rather than a compromise based on threats of abandonment.

Unlike the ancient Greeks, who approved of suicide because it “led to liberty,” Jewish thought is clearly against killing oneself as much – or even more – than murder.

“I’ve used Jonah often to treat patients who have attempted suicide. Jonah shows how to integrate self and other. I compare him to Narcissus, who could never integrate the two and kills himself. I receive patients with various types of problems and try to fit biblical stories in. I recall teaching a story when a non-Orthodox rabbi came in. He told me he had been giving a sermon on David and Bathsheba. A man in the synagogue audience said after the service that he felt terrible, because he was having an affair with his best friend’s wife. After hearing the sermon, the man said, he was thinking of killing himself. The rabbi referred him to a suicide-prevention specialist.”