The ‘University of Yachad’ is Now in Session

16 Oct 2012


Monday was the first day of classes for Yachad’s “Continuing Education and Professional Development Series,” known unofficially as “The University of Yachad.” In a monthly series of seven sessions, continuing through April 8, 2013, senior staff of Yachad/NJCD — the Orthodox Union’s agency for individuals with disabilities — are sharing their expertise with the entire department staff and with outside professionals and graduate students from local universities who are serving their internships with Yachad.

The first session, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — Counseling Techniques in Working with Individuals with Cognitive and/or Emotional Challenges,” was led by Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/NJCD, with Dr. Joe Goldfarb, Assistant Director of Yachad/NJCD leading the discussion that followed Dr. Lichtman’s presentation.

“It is now understood that people with special needs are indeed capable of therapy and counseling,” declared Dr. Lichtman as he opened the program. He described guidelines for successfully providing therapy and counseling for the special needs population.

In attendance were professionals in health and mental health from the Women’s League, United Cerebral Palsy of New York State, and several practitioners from New York City hospitals. Graduate and Ph.D.-level interns come from the social work schools of Fordham University, Columbia University, Hunter College, Touro College, New York University, as well as the City University of New York Mental Health Counseling program and Yeshiva University and Rutgers University Ph.D. psychology programs.

Deborah Berman, LCSW, Senior Social Worker for Yachad/NJCD and the series originator and producer, declared, “The first session of the lecture series could not have gone better. It really encapsulated a core value of Yachad that in order to keep the Disability Movement moving ever forward and ever upward, we must continue to learn and to teach and to share diverse knowledge, insights, and ideas. The session had the authentic feel of a graduate school or Ph.D. classroom. The level of the presentation was geared toward developing professionals as well as seasoned veterans. We at Yachad are pleased to make this lecture series available not only to the OU community, but to our esteemed colleagues from other organizations, Jewish and not, in the health, mental health, advocacy, and disabilities fields.”

The next session will be Monday, November 12, in which Amanda Levy, LCSW, Coordinator, Family and Clinical Services of Yachad, will lead a program on “Reframing the Difficult Family — Practical Clinical Techniques and Interventions to Understand, Empower and Ally Families with Mental Health Challenges, Cognitive Disabilities, and Cultural Barriers.” Chani Herrmann, MSW, Director of New Jersey Yachad, will lead the discussion. Registration closes November 2.

From left: Deborah Berman, LCSW, Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Dr. Joe Goldfarb.

Dr. Lichtman makes a point.

Yachad staff, guests, and social work graduate student interns filled the classroom…
…that is, the conference room.

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