Presentations, Workshops & Seminars

Sex Addiction Programs

Psycho-educational groups for men with sexually addictive behaviors and intimacy disorders

Psycho-Educational Groups for Couples

For Health and Mental Health Providers – Programs on assessment and treatment of sexually addictive behaviors and intimacy disorders

Triage for sexually addictive behavior – clinical definition of sexually addictive behavior based upon proposed DSM V diagnosis of Sexual Hyper-Compulsivity; overview of the problem of sexual addiction, the increase in numbers of people affected, treatment, and prognosis; three questions to ask patients as part of regular examination; referral sources for treatment.

Wellness Programs

Presentations, Workshops & Seminars – for people with health issues providing an overview of the Six Resources for Healing as well as for working to develop and implement a treatment plan.

Programs for health and mental health care practitioners – providing an overview of the Six Resources for Healing approach as well as training on utilizing this approach with clients and patients.

Change Your Brain – Change Your Life

Humans are the only species who have the ability to change the biology and functioning of their brains in a conscious way that allows us to grow and change. These changes help restore our mind-body-spirit to greater balance and harmony. In this program, Joel reviews some of the recent dramatic and interesting scientific discoveries about brain functioning and consider how we can apply that knowledge to make changes in our brains in order to achieve our goals.

The Neuroscience of Spirituality

Is spirituality a set of beliefs or religious practices, a moral system or a feeling? Why is it that every human culture on our planet has developed spiritual beliefs and practices? Although the philosophical questions may be difficult to answer definitively, neuro-scientific research indicates that our brains are wired for spirituality. Dr. Joel Ziff provides an overview of recent research on the neurobiology of spirituality. Participants gain an understanding of how different parts of the brain construct different, sometimes competing, perceptions of the divine. We also explore how spiritual practices improve physical and emotional health, strengthening a specific neurological circuit that generates peacefulness, social awareness, and compassion. Most importantly, we will consider the practical implications of this newly emerging scientific understanding of spirituality to clarify how we can draw from our own spiritual resources and develop new practices that help us in our lives. The program includes discussion and experiential activities.

Six Pathways to Self-Empowerment

In this 8 session seminar, we explore six approaches to self-empowerment, resources for overcoming challenges and achieving our goals:

  • Right Action – improving time management, making commitments to self-care, defining goals and priorities, and maintaining balance in daily life
  • Relationship Competence – strengthening and expanding the range of skills needed for satisfying and healthy relationships
  • Constructive Cognition – optimizing how we perceive and make sense of our experience, mental habits that shape our emotions and our behaviors; modifying dysfunctional cognition and consciously developing more accurate and effective ways to understand our situation and respond constructively to challenges.
  • Body Wisdom – enhancing the ability to monitor moment-to-moment physical experience, to recognize tension, and stress reactions, and to utilize a variety of methods for restoring calm and balance.
  • Emotional Intelligence – becoming more skilled in recognizing, listening, and learning from our emotional responses while inhibiting impulsive, dysfunctional reactions.
  • Practical Spirituality – cultivating the experience of connectedness to something beyond ourselves that give meaning, focus, and direction to our lives, and enables us to transcend the reality of our own limits, vulnerability, powerlessness, and mortality, whether it be through a formal religious or a more personal idiosyncratic perspective.

The focus of the seminar is on practical application. Participants have the opportunity to work with each approach during the session as a foundation for ongoing practice during the two weeks between sessions.

Jewish Psycho-Spirituality Programs

Contact Joel at joel@ziffgroup.com or via phone to (617) 965.3932 for information on upcoming programs.

Faces of Light: the Evolution of our I-Thou Relationship with God

Many of us have difficulty with the concept of God. Even more problematic is the notion of an I-Thou relationship with Spirit. Often, we reject an understanding of God that is based upon childhood conceptions. In Jewish tradition, the essence of God is unknowable; we experience God in a variety of ways. In this program, participants gain understanding of the many possibilities and have the opportunity, using visualization and theater improvisation techniques to redefine their concepts that is the basis for an I-Thou relationship with this deepened understanding of Spirit.

Mirrors in Time: The Psycho-Spiritual Journey through the Jewish Year

Each Holy-Day, according to Shneur Zalman of Lyady, the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch, is a mirror, enabling us us to see ourselves in a new way as we immerse ourselves in the story, the ritual practices, and the liturgy. That insight is transformative. Seeing ourselves in the light of the holiday allows us to clarify and commit to the next steps in our psycho-spiritual development. A new aspect of our spirituality develops through the course of the year, with each Holy-Day serving as a stage of that development. In this program, participants gain understanding of the cycle of the year, and apply that understanding to reflect on their own spiritual development through meditation and prayer, guided imagery, music and drawing.

The Neurobiology of Teshuva

Humans are imperfect. We all inevitably experience an inner struggle between the Nefesh Behemit – the animal soul – and the Nefesh Elohit – the Divine soul. We do not always make the best choices or do what is right. However, we have the capacity to observe ourselves, to reflect upon our actions, thoughts, and feelings, and to improve ourselves, a process known as Teshuva. In this program, participants gain understanding of traditional Jewish perspectives of the nature of imperfections and the process of self-improvement as well as understanding recent advances in brain science that are consistent with the traditional views of Teshuva. This understanding provides the basis for applying that knowledge to focus and strengthen our own work to improve ourselves, utilizing meditation, guided visualization, expressive arts, and discussion.

The Neuroscience of Musar

Musar is a traditional program for self-improvement that has, in recent years, experience a refinement and revival. In this program, participants will develop understanding of some of the key concepts of Musar. We will also explore the parallels between the teachings and practices of Musar with contemporary understanding of processes in the brain that enable us to observe ourselves as well as to interrupt and inhibit habitual, dysfunctional, unconscious or subconscious reactions and responses. As we learn to become aware and inhibit, we then have the opportunity to explore new possibilities. Integrating our understanding of Musar with brain science, we will apply what we have learned to strengthen our efforts to improve ourselves, utilizing some traditional practices of Musar.