Zev Ballen, PsyD, LCSW
Dr. Zev Ballen is the founder of Project CARE. As a psychotherapist, author and teacher, Dr. Ballen is committed to empowering people of all nationalities and ethnic groups to lead purpose-driven lives of Compassion, Acceptance, Responsibility, and Enlightenment (CARE). Project CARE disseminates a unique blend of teachings culled from spiritual and science-based sources. CARE offers dynamic online and onsite Seminars, a very supportive community forum, inspiring weekly videos, articles, meditations, and other tools for healthy living.
Project CARE is committed to the vision of empowering people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds to live purpose-driven lives of Compassion, Acceptance, Responsibility and Enlightenment. We do this through online and onsite CARE Seminars, a supportive online community, weekly videos, articles, meditations and prayers. CARE content is a unique blend of science-based findings from the field of positive psychology and the Enlightened Wisdom culled from classical Jewish sources.
There are four components to the CARE acronym:
begins with becoming an inner ally rather than an inner enemy with ourselves. True self-compassion is bi-directional. The moment we generate compassion for our own struggles, we automatically feel more compassion for the pain of other people. However, our first goal, is not to force ourselves to love others, but to develop our self-compassion and then extend it to others by recognizing the "I" in our families, communities and ultimately in the whole world. (Rabbi Shimon Shkop).
Self-Compassion begins by learning to actively sooth, soften and quiet the destructive effects of our inner-critic. The inner-critic mainly results from our pride and our drive for perfection. The drive for pride and glory shackle our spontaneity - alienating ourselves from our core values and blocking our vitality and potential for growth. By learning to defuse from the self-destructive forces within us, and forgive ourselves with the same kindness and care that we would give to a close friend, we liberate our inherent goodness and our constructive forces for growth that are always urging us to grow in wisdom.
is derived from the awesome human power of free choice. Only we human beings possess the power of choice and can use it to effect many things both physical and spiritual. The choice to accept painful aspects of ourselves and our life-situations also requires humility which tempers and restrains the Lower Self from complaining, judging or casting blame upon ourselves or others. This can relate to the painful external conditions of our lives as well as troubling aspects of our inner world.
Acceptance is not a passive surrender to apathy, despair or immoral conduct. It's an active acknowledgment of a tough reality. When we learn to reconcile ourselves with the painful conditions of our present reality instead of fighting against that reality (because we believe it comes from the Creator for our ultimate good) a paradox occurs – we grow more resilient and strong, and we somehow become more empowered to work though the adversity, find an alternative that may work, and keep living a values-based purposeful life despite our emotional turmoil and confusion. Acceptance is deepened by faith which has the power to re-frame the painful conditions and events of our lives into something good and ultimately worthwhile.
is a necessity for anyone who wishes to grow. Responsibility includes the recognition that in order to develop our full human potentials we must strive to be truthful with ourselves and be willing to act in accordance with our goals and values even when it may be hard. Responsibility also includes the necessity of knowing what we want our lives to stand for and doing our best to live in accordance with these values. Values such as wisdom, love, compassion, truth, justice gratitude and contribution are deep soul-powers that empower us to keep moving forward with our lives in a vital and meaningful way even when we are being challenged by adversity and pain. CARE focuses on finding solutions rather than expending energy on trying to "fix" aspects of our Lower Selves (our unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and memories). It's not that we deny the suffering or avoid difficult emotions and confusion brought about by the Lower Self - rather, we make room to spaciously experience the confusion without becoming entangled in it. Through accepting pain without becoming fused to it, we're able to realize that we (our Higher Selves) are not synonymous with our problems or our failures. We refuse to be defined by our mistakes or difficulties. By developing observing skills and accepting skills, we shelter ourselves from negativity and preserve our Higher Self. We then have the energy to keep moving forward and living the values that we stand for even in the presence of harsh criticism, rejection, unfairness, and failure.
G-d arranged it so that our Higher Self (or soul) is able to sense things that are beyond the grasp of our senses and make contact with the spiritual. (Derech Hashem) With faith we are able to go beyond the natural, psychological process of reasoning and gain knowledge of things without the use of logic or intellect (the lower psychological self) but through faith and our connection with the Creator. (Derech Hashem). Our Sages teach us, "Even though a person does not see [something], his Mazal (destiny) sees it." (Shabbos, 146a). What this means is that there is a certain spark of spirituality in us that, under the right conditions, allows us to "know" things without knowing exactly how we know them. (Derech Hashem) Although there are no prophets today, the Jewish people are called "the children of prophets" because a slight hint of this process still exists. There is a Medrish (a Torah teaching) that teaches that the Creator's "voice" can only be heard in a [mental state] of quiet stillness (kol demama dakka). Through soothing and quieting the mind and body, we open ourselves to the Divine within ourselves - the thin and subtle voice of the Higher Wisdom speaking through the inner voice of our Higher Selves. It is also possible, that such an enlightenment may reach a person’s mind so that he receives deeper understanding and insight without being aware of it. In such a case, it is experienced like any other idea that arises spontaneously in the mind (but the experience was not initiated by the person himself but through his connection to the Creator). (Derech Hashem)
For many of us, the outcome of the practices of Self-Compassion, Acceptance and Responsibility has been a sense of awe for the ineffable and mysterious in life. The death-blow of our spirituality was the automatic pilot mode where we took the wonders and blessings of life for granted. Sensing that we and others exist beyond the confines of what our senses can grasp - we CARE practitioners are committed to the process of turning away from mindlessness, apathy and ingratitude and becoming more aware of the vibrant sense of awe, and appreciation for the sublime and ineffable in our lives - for all that we cannot fully grasp with our senses - starting with ourselves. With the practice of CARE, in time, we experience something like a shift in identity from less physical to more spiritual.
"I have known Dr. Zev Ballen for the past number of years. During that time I have seen him help many young men. His approach helps them deal with many issues that have confronted them and it not only elevated them psychologically but also contributed to serious growth in their Torah development. He has handled cases that even the most expert professionals have given up on. I have never dealt with a therapist who can deal with such a wide range of issues successfully. I can give an enthusiastic recommendation to the work of Dr. Zev Ballen."
Rabbi Moshe Meiselman
Yeshivas Toras Moshe
Rabbi Yitzchak Fagelstock
Rosh Yeshiva, Mesifta of Long Beach
Long Beach, New York
Rabbi Yehuda Jacobs
Mashgiach, Beis Medresh Gevoah
Lakewood, New Jersey
The Nikolsburger Rebba
Rabbi Yosef Yechiel Mechel Lebovits
Monsey, New York
The Kassuna Rebbe
Rabbi Chaim Leibish Rottenberg
Rav Bais Hamedrish Netzach Yisrael
Monsey, New York
Rabbi Yitzchak Frankel
Rav Agudas Yisrael of Five Towns
Woodmere, New York
Rabbi Dovid Shomo Mermelstein
Rosh Kollel Tosh
Monsey, New York
Rabbi Tzvi Mandel
Rav Khal Bnei Yisrael
Rabbi Mechel Rottenberg
Menahele, Veena Cheder
Monsey, New York
Rabbi Yochanan Cohen
Menahele, Cheder Ateres Tzvi
Monsey, New York
Rabbi Hertzka Freidman
Former Menahele, Klausenberg
Monsey, New York
Client and Student Endorsements
"I have had a very traumatic childhood, including terrible abuse by my parents and my school principle. Everyone in my class made fun of me, and excluded me from all class games throughout all of my school years. My mind was lost in constant fight or flight mode. I was constantly full of panic and anxiety. My life was the worst hell on earth. I could have committed suicide at a very young age just to escape this hell. Throughout the years, I have gone to many psychologists and psychiatrists, but they all practiced from the books and none of them could help me. I felt hopeless, lonely, lost, and saw no way out of this trauma that did not heal with time. All of this changed when I met Dr. Zev Ballen. He is G-d’s messenger that put me on the road to recovery. Here is the secret to his success - he combines his extensive psychological knowledge with his faith-based approach, putting a person on the path of faith and a deep connection with G-d. He helps you to realize that it is G-d who heals. Once a person is on this path, all emotional healing follows. Conventional psychology is all from the books, and unfortunately, too often, G-d’s ultimate healing power is totally left out of the picture, The books are limited, often labeling a person and putting them in a box. G-d’s power is unlimited, and can make total healing. With Dr. Zev Ballen, G-d is the main player, unlike any other psychologists that I have been to, who barely, if ever, mention G-d, - for them, the book is the main player. Dr. Ballen is the "unique emotional healer of this generation" as one Rosh Yeshivah (head of a yeshiva), who has sent many of his talmidim (students) to Dr. Ballen put it: "There is no one else like him; his main focus is emunah (faith) in Hashem, and G-d has sent the Angel of Healing to be by Dr. Ballen's side. He has been given a special Divine Providence to heal people”. Take it from me, put your trust in G-d, and he will make Dr. Zev Ballen the agent to heal you too. He will lead you down the road to total recovery, whatever your issue may be. He has it covered, because he has G-d.”
"The CARE concepts and practices have granted me a whole new life. Today, I like myself, I simply enjoy being me! It's a truly wonderful freedom. I have gained new levels of confidence, inner calm and joy. Life still has it's ups and downs, but with the help of what I've learned in CARE sessions, I now have the tools to deal with the challenges of life with unprecedented intuition and efficiency. I have tried many different methods of therapy, the CARE program is simply in a different league”.
“I became a student of Dr. Ballen several years ago. Dr. Ballen taught me how to coach and counsel people using the concepts and techniques included in his CARE based therapy. It completely transformed the way I relate to my clients and to myself. I apply the skills and insights I learned with my coaching clients, in my workshops and in my role as " Rebbitzen". As a result of this, I see the people I work with developing more compassion towards themselves and others, and experiencing real growth in all areas of their lives. The CARE method, if sincerely and consistently applied, can change one's entire approach to self-motivation, problem solving, low self-esteem and relationships. I feel blessed to have learned so much from such a wise, compassionate and humble expert as Dr. Ballen. He is a master at facilitating emotional and spiritual self-acceptance and the vast improvements that that can bring. I cannot recommend the CARE course or Dr. Ballen, highly enough”.
Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen
Life Coach and Spiritual Guide
Ramat Beit Shemesh
I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for your guidance and wisdom in our sessions.
As you know, its been a very long, challenging struggle (thank G-d) and I simply couldn't find the key to the doors in my own soul and mind. Its hard to put into words how much you have enhanced my life and my service to G-d along with the tremendous benefit to my family and community.
Our talks slowly uncovered a path, my own unique path, that I could walk and journey through. I have loved studying with my Torah teachers They all have incredible insights and spiritual gifts for seekers. However, for me, the spark that re-lit my enthusiasm for learning and my new growth in Torah were our sessions.
I am especially grateful for the kindness you showed me in our talks. Today, I go into certain situations and I can visualize/hear how you might coach me to see the holiness in something that might appear 'bad' I can feel your happiness at all of the "challenges'" in life and its become a part of my outlook.
Our conversations were a spiritual milestone, or I would say a great spiritual guidepost for my wandering soul. Words can not capture my feelings.
My marriage radiates much stronger from our sessions, and I look forward to renewing myself towards improving it every day.
My deepest thank you, to you Dr. Ballen thank you!
Dear Dr. Zev,
You have done Divine work with me. You gave patience, honesty, congruity, consistency, realness, selflessness, heart, and most of all - belief in me, yourself and Hashem.
You were my weekly oasis of Heaven. You saw me in my deepest darkness and yet you loved me. How healing. Thank you for that love. You have nourished me with your ability to see my goodness. You are a blessing on this earth. I am now able to love myself, love others (especially my parents), and love Hashem in a real way - I trust it.
You have given me gifts that I could never repay. Only Hashem can. You are human, but you have a burning desire to do good and to be good and to come close to Hashem and that is beautiful and healing to see. You have changed me forever. And now I'm going to take all that you have given to me into my life, into my marriage, and into future generations.
I will never forget you. You are a part of me. I hope to give to the world your gifts, like silence, breathing, connecting, and smiling more - just like you. I am so grateful to have met you . Please always know you are a gift. May Hashem bless you and your family and repay you for eternity for all you have done and still do.
"My first encounter with Dr. Zev Ballen was around the year 577''2 when I read his book, The Ultimate You. For years I have continued to repeatedly refer back to the book and WOW has that book changed my life. Finally, I contacted Dr. Ballen and asked him to train me to facilitate CARE seminars. What I have learned, has not only helped me in my own life, but it has given me the confidence and the tools to help others in my community. The CARE approach is so simple and practical and yet so powerful in the way that it changes people from within and gives them a new life. Thank you HaShem for now making the CARE seminars available to people on a much larger scale.”
Mrs. Jimenez, MBE
"I gained enormous insight and skill when Dr. Ballen trained me to be a therapist. He not only has decades of experience and wisdom from which to learn, but also endless patience and utmost confidence in his students, which is very encouraging and empowering. Dr. Ballen guides you in his humble, quiet way, and you suddenly find yourself able and ready to tackle clients' challenging issues. I'm ready to learn more from this master of the human spirit".
Rivkah Tseva, MA
Head of the English Department at a branch of Herzog College
Lecturer at Machon Lev
Behavior Analyst, Life Coach
“Dr. Zev Ballen has developed a very unique approach to helping people. With his method of combining Torah Wisdom and psychology Dr. Ballen has been able to save thousands of people from physical and spiritual harm and bring them closer to Hashem. Dr. Ballen’s work is so effective because it is permeated with his own deep Faith which includes his belief that everybody can grow. Hashem sends the Angel of Healing and all of Jacob, our father’s Angels to stand with Dr. Ballen in his work with broken people like myself. He works tirelessly on behalf of his clients, students, seminar participants and the Jewish people. As a psychotherapist and teacher, there is no one like Dr. Zev Ballen in our generation and this is not just my opinion, I have heard it from the mouths of great giants of Torah. Hashem should give him the strength and help from Heaven to continue his holy work of healing souls for many years to come”.
"Dear Dr. Zev,
Words cannot properly convey the gratitude I have for you for turning my life around, introducing me to myself, and teaching me the tools I need to live a happy and fulfilled life. All I can say is thank you from the depths of my heart. I am filled with joy about getting married which never would have happened without you. I see now with more clarity how all of my challenges were orchestrated by G-d down to the finest detail to prepare me for this next stage of my life. Know that you have a share in everything that comes out of this. You're an absolutely amazing person, and G-d should help you and give you strength to continue with the holy work that you are doing.