Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Choosing the Correct Side

My second ever post on Times of Israel
How to tell if you're truly standing in support of victims.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Facebook Live with Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

 Tonight I had the privilege to do a Facebook Live with Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Here is the video of the entire show.




Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Monday, January 16, 2023

Oxygen Masks: Self-Care

  "You aren't doing 'nothing' when you choose to put your wellbeing first. In fact, this is the key to having everything."

 — Brittany Burgunder

I love analogies. 

It is a technique for giving over a message in a way that can be easily understood and easily accepted.

The trick, however, is finding the correct analogy. 

That means staying away from anything political and topics that can be considered controversial. 

Afterall, the goal is for the audience to accept the example and agree that it should be connected towards your topic.

I often choose analogies that involve sports, finding them to be safer. But there are many other non-controversial topics that can be used to make analogies.

Lately I have discovered a number of fascinating analogies involving airplanes, and I’d like to discuss one such analogy in this article.

When traveling on an airplane, the flight attendant will instruct you, that in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try and help others put their mask on. There is good reason for this. The fear is that if you try and help someone else get their mask on before you put yours on, there is a possibility that you could both pass out from lack of oxygen. You won’t be able to successfully place their mask on due to your lack of oxygen, and that will cause the two of you to faint. However, if you first put your mask on, you will be saved and you will also function better while helping the others put their masks on.


Our time, energy and resources are our own personal “oxygen mask”. As parents, we often feel the need to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of our children. And we are rightful to do so. But when that continues on for too long a period of time, it hurts us. It can cause burnout, stress, fatigue, reduced mental effectiveness, health problems, anxiety, frustration, and the inability to sleep, just to name a few.


So parents need to remember about their own “oxygen mask”. 


Make sure that you can parent at 100% functioning, or even at 85% functioning (from time to time). Less than that, and we have an “low cabin pressure/oxygen mask situation”.


Meaning that the parent will need to step aside, and partake in some healthy self care. 


This should not be a source of guilt, just the opposite. It should be taken as a sign that you’re human and modeling correct behavior for your child.


Self-care is about taking care of yourself. It does not mean that you do not care about your children; quite the contrary. By making the effort to take care of yourself, you are ensuring that you can better care for your children.


We refuel cars before they run out of gas. Waiting for a car to run out of gas before refueling it is a recipe for disaster. This is because you don't know exactly when and where it will finally run out.


The same should apply to parents. Recharge your own personal batteries before they run out. 


By ignoring yourself and focusing exclusively on your child during a loss of cabin pressure at 33,000 ft, you might inadvertently harm both you and your child. 


The same holds true at sea level. 


Sacrificing yourself for what you believe is for the betterment of your child isn’t actually for the betterment of your child.


Let’s learn from the instructions of the flight crew and let’s not ignore this very important lesson.


Our oxygen masks go on first.


Even though I always start with a quote, for this article I would also like to conclude with one:


"Take care of myself doesn't mean 'me first.' It means 'me too.'" 

— L.R. Knost



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.


To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at yisroel@ympicker.com


Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn Here

Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Yosef and Lessons about Abuse Prevention

 “Abusers thrive on creating confusion, including confusion about the abuse itself.”

-Lundy Bancroft


In this week’s Parsha (וישב) we learn about the story of Yosef and the wife of Potifar. 

Potifar is the master, the slave owner. He and his wife are in the position of power over Yosef, the slave.

The wife of Potifar tries to seduce Yosef, and when that fails, she makes accusations against him, turning herself into the victim and Yosef into the offender.


The topic of abuse prevention has many different compartments. Two of these compartments stand out to me within the story of Yosef and the wife of Potifar. 

These topics are DARVO (a form of gaslighting) and the idea of “The Perfect Victim".


Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships. It is a covert type of emotional abuse in which the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality. Gaslighting can be done to individuals, groups or even communities.


DARVO is a form of gaslighting. 


DARVO is a smokescreen used as an attempt to conceal the truth. It enables the abuser to manipulate how others perceive the target and the conflict. It also often stuns the target into silence and confusion.


DARVO stands for:

D: Deny responsibility

A: Attack (the actual victim)

R: Reverse the roles of the..

V: Victim (with the...)

O: Offender


What does it look like when the offender implements a DARVO defense?


Step 1: Deny the event took place

Examples: “This is a lie”, “I could never do something like that”


Step 2: Attack the accuser. This can be done by either questioning their motivation, their level of trustworthiness, their mental health, their intelligence etc.

Examples: “You’re crazy!”, “You know they’re a known liar!”, “She has a problem with drugs and alcohol”, “How can one believe a slave?”


Step 3: Reverse the victim and offender roles: “I’m only being accused because I’m gay/Latino/female/…”, “This is the thanks I get for taking a boy off the streets and trying to help?”.



When confronted about their abusing, the abuser will often go on the offensive. DARVO is one of the main plays in this playbook.

The other concept that sticks out within the story of Yosef is this idea of “The Perfect Victim”.


Let me be absolutely clear, what a community views as “The Perfect Victim” and what the perpetrator views as “The Perfect Victim” are complete opposites.


The community wants a victim who never did anything wrong, who has never told a lie and whom we see absolutely no reason as to why they shouldn’t be believed.


The perpetrator will specifically stay away from such people. 


Perpetrators will specifically target victims who are either too afraid to come forward, or those who would not be believed if they were to come forward. 


In Yosef’s case, who is to be believed, the wife of a high-ranking government officer or a lowly slave?


In child sexual abuse, there is a concept known as grooming. Grooming is a process for which the abuser discovers which children are less likely to get the abuser into trouble, and starts manipulating them into silence. 


The abuser would rather abuse the child who was caught shoplifting last week.


The abuser would rather target the child who is cutting class.


Why is that? Because they’re less likely to be believed.


Sadly, there are many times where I’ve heard Rabbis say: “I’m one of the first people to side with the victims, but in this case, given what I know about the victim, they’re obviously lying”.


The number of false accusations of abuse (outside of a custody dispute) are extremely low. Yet these Rabbis and community leaders all know people whom they’re sure are victims of false accusations.


If we want to actually change the narrative, it means we need to change how we think.


We need to stop allowing, and even enabling, the abuse until “The Perfect Victim” comes. The smart ones don’t target those whom we perceive to be a perfect victim. 


We also need to recognize what DARVO is and we need to stop falling for it. 


Who falls for DARVO and who dismisses claims because it isn’t the perfect victim? That’s the Egyptian court in Pharoh’s time.


Is that how we also behave?

Is that how we should behave?


Perhaps we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves not only how we run our courts of law, but how we individually choose to judge when we hear an accusation of abuse. 



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.



To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at yisroel@ympicker.com



Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn Here


Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Stuck Together

 "There is no such thing as being the perfect parent. So just be a real one." 

— Sue Atkins


Three flights of stairs. 


Since I got married, that's how much I need to walk from the entrance of my building to get to my apartment. 


I’ve done it with packages, I’ve done it with strollers.


But then I couldn’t do it due to injuries in not one, but both of my knees. As each knee had a torn meniscus.


Fortunately, my building has an elevator, and I finally decided to utilize this machinery.


Unfortunately, the elevator was working as well as my knees were.


One afternoon, my daughter and I were descending in the elevator when we heard a loud noise that can be described as either a crack or a crunch. Either way, it was not a comforting sound.


The elevator stopped and we were stuck.


I immediately went into problem solving mode. 

Ring the alarm

Call the elevator company

Inform the fire department


It took about 45 min, but eventually we were able to get out of the elevator. 


But the ordeal was traumatic for my daughter. 


She was crying inside the elevator and even when we got out.

She said that she no longer wants to take the elevator, she only wants to do the stairs.

Being stuck was scary and the thought of it happening again was downright frightening for her.


Then I asked her a single question, and I believe her response is in line with that of at least 95% of children.


I asked her if, in retrospect, she preferred being in the stuck elevator with me or would she have preferred to be on the stairs with me being stuck without her. 


She responded “I’d rather be stuck with you”.


Parents, let this be a lesson. There are times when we get stuck, when we get into a dark place. When we feel like we are doing our children a disservice by having them around us when we have too much on our shoulders.


Kids would prefer that relationship and bond with their parents, even during the difficult time for parents.


Parents try to protect their children, and rightfully so. But pushing the child away during personal struggles isn’t protecting the child. 


Your child needs you and will choose you when given the option.


Make sure you create an environment where you’re welcoming to the child.


We all have our ups and downs. If we don’t want our children to run away from us when things are hard for them, we shouldn’t run away from them or push them aside when things are hard for us.



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.


To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at yisroel@ympicker.com


Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn Here

Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here




Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Child Abuse Prevention: Erasing Titles

 “It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.”

― Niccolò Machiavelli 




Unfortunately, it happens. 


A child gets abused, whether physically or sexually, by a respected person who has a title. 


The title might be affiliated with religion, such as Rabbi or Father. 


The title might be affiliated with a profession, such as Doctor or Professor.


When the story of abuse gets published in the media, there is always a discussion as to whether the abuser should be listed with their title. 


Some people believe that such behavior should disqualify the abuser from a renowned title.


Whilst I do believe that the abuse should disqualify them from further practicing with their title, I am of the opinion that it is of the utmost importance that the person be reported in the media with their title. 


There is a misconception that certain types of people can do no harm. By removing the title from the abuser, one uses revisionism to reclassify the abuser, while still maintaining the belief that people with that title do no harm. 


Let me explain using an example: The Frank family believe that doctors aren’t abusers. When they learn that the doctor down the road from them gets arrested for abuse, they stop referring to him as a doctor. Doctors follow their Hippocratic oath. Real doctors do no harm! The abuse shows that he isn’t a real doctor!


So, both remain true, the man down the road is an abuser and doctors don’t abuse. 


This is a dangerous type of thinking. 


Why is this dangerous? Because rather than learning that abusers can be rabbis, doctors etc., one remains with the belief that these people are incapable of harming a child. 


Approximately a year ago I wrote about Cognitive Dissonance & Child Sexual Abuse. In that article I discussed how people will dismiss the claims of abuse because it conflicts with their belief. Cognitive dissonance can also be an issue, even in cases where the victim is believed. 


By reclassifying the offender as a person without the title, people still mistakenly believe that titles mean they won’t abuse children.


Abusers come in all shapes and sizes.


They come in all genders, in all ages and in all professions. 


By removing titles from the abuser, we prevent this message from being heard clearly. 



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.


To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at yisroel@ympicker.com


Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn Here

Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here