Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, LMFT, a leading marriage and family therapist who has helped thousands of couples improve their marriages or recover from addiction and affairs, believes that Internet addiction is increasing and changing couples’ marital intimacy.
According to Schonbuch, “Internet addiction is one of the most serious problems affecting Orthodox Jewish marriages today. I don’t say this to create a new headline or to exaggerate the problem. My latest video explains how Internet and Sexual addiction begin and how to help people overcome them.
The incredible impact of Internet addiction on marriage is one of the reasons I’m offering the Viktor Frankl Marriage and Intimacy Coaching Program starting Nov. 10. We are training Shluchim to help couples improve their marriages and, when needed, get help for their addictions.
The program is also open to individuals, Rabbis/Rebbetzins, Kallah/Chosson teachers, Shadchanim, and others. There is a special 20% reduction for Shluchim.
Let me begin with the story of Sarah, a woman in her mid-30s from the Hasidic community who came to speak with me after it was uncovered by her husband that she was chatting with another man. Her chatting addiction began when she was 18 years old and discovered she could chat anonymously. Soon after, she was caught in the web of addiction and started to engage daily in inappropriate contacts with men which eventually led to a series of emotional and physical affairs.
Or the story of a Shmuly, a 32-year-old client from Brooklyn whose wife complained to me that he frequently comes home at one or two in the morning, and despite her pleas, refused to change. Privately, he revealed to me that he is part of a group of other men and women who go to parties at night and live underground lives. He first contacted the group via WhatsApp and now claims he “can’t stop”.
What caused the crisis to explode is not just some casual surfing on the Internet, but the pervasive use of social media. With the Internet, you have to seek out the content you’re looking for; with social media, however, the content and contacts pursue you and recommend relationships that you would never think of in the past. All you need to do is push of a button and you are caught in the web of what I call “Pre-affair” behaviors. Soon, your priorities about love and marriage begin to change.
I believe that many people today who are addicted to the Internet are introduced to “Pre-affair” behaviors early on. “Innocent” Internet surfing is simply the precursor which entangles so many young people in a web of addiction. In marriage, addiction becomes interwoven within the fabric of the emotional and intimate relationship and many couples are not sure of who to turn to for help.”
The Viktor Frankl Marriage and Intimacy Coaching Program, starting Nov. 10, instructs participants to teach couples to communicate effectively, develop their relationship skills, and work through problems they may experience during shana rishona and beyond. Coaches are trained when to refer the couples for professional advice.
Participants learn the most advanced concepts in coaching including:
- Emotionally Focused Couple Coaching
- John Gottman’s “7 Principles to Making Marriage Work”
- Logotherapy (Viktor Frankl) for Couples & Intimacy
- Advanced Communication Skills (Imago)
- 5 Love Languages
- Internet/Sexual addiction
During the training program, Rabbi Schonbuch offers live demos by counseling real-life couples on-line for the class to observe. Participants also get ample time to practice role-playing as marriage coaches with one another.
Certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), participants learn about theories in marriage and family therapy and coaching including: Family Dysfunction and Resilience (Pia Mellody), Attachment Theory, Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy (Sue Johnson), the meaning of intimacy (Viktor Frankl), dealing with trauma (EMDR), and overcoming substance and Internet addiction.
Graduates will also continue with year-long supervision with Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, where they can share their challenges, ask questions about their cases, and better serve the couples they are working to help.
Former participants have raved about the program. According to Rivka Hurwitz from Baltimore, “This is a comprehensive and enjoyable course with information that enriches our lives. Rabbi Schonbuch imparts knowledge, technique and offers support for our coaching careers.”
Chaya Bracha Leiter from Tzfas says that she is “Still internalizing even more knowledge and feeling gifted to have this opportunity to go over and gain new insights from you!”
And, Rivkah Bineth from Toronto said that “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the informative marriage counseling program you taught us. The amount of material, the clear instructions, the fantastic books you recommended, created a springboard that will enable me to take what I learned and apply it in my practice. Thanks for providing our community with desperately needed resources for marriage and dating and relationship difficulties.”
The Viktor Frankl Marriage and Intimacy Coaching Program begins on Nov. 10. To register and watch a free video of week 13, visit www.TorahPsychology.org or call Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch at 646-428-4723.