JFS Making an Impact Series

In the Making an Impact series, clients and services are featured to expand awareness of the wide array of help available at Jewish Family Service of St. Paul (JFS) and to ensure donors understand the lives they touch and the difference they make throughout the community. Client names have been changed to protect their confidentiality.

Ruth is a 60-year-old woman on Social Security Disability who has been coming to JFS for counseling for the past six years. She has a long history of depression, including hospitalizations.

While Ruth has a psychiatrist and has taken medication for depression and anxiety in the past, her medications have not had a significant impact on her symptoms and mood. She has few, if any, friends. She lives alone and is lonely. Decades spent battling this disease have taken a toll.

Yet, despite her isolation from the world around her, Ruth has maintained a consistent relationship with her JFS therapist. Her counseling sessions prevent her decline. Ruth finds her therapist to be a safe anchor in her life whose support allows her to mobilize her strengths to endure her chronic, debilitating illness.

“For me, the key foundation to personal change in counseling is the development of a positive working relationship,” said Ruth’s JFS therapist Dr. Mitch Wittenberg. “If you don’t feel sensitively and emphatically heard, understood and appreciated, all my various techniques and approaches are of little value. I strive to connect at a deep emotional and personal level and use techniques tailored specifically to Ruth. I’m honored that she trusts me to help her find her own personal strength.”

Since Ruth became a patient of Dr. Wittenberg six years ago, she has had no further psychiatric admissions, a significant step forward.

Thanks to your support, JFS is able to offer a sliding fee scale to low-income clients.