Mum traded Shoshana to pay for her crack cocaine


PSYCHOLOGIST Dr Shoshana Garfield, a pioneer in her field by combining three types of therapy, is certainly no stranger to psychological pain.

Her mother was a third-generation drug addict who traded her four-year-old daughter to paedophiles to pay for her crack cocaine addiction.

Dr Garfield told me: "My Jewish mother came of age in the 1960s and got hung up in that drug culture.

"She wasn't selling drugs when I was four so she generated income by trading me to paedophiles. The paedos actually tortured me. I don't think my mother cared. She got her drugs by it.

"Then when she set up her own business, selling drugs, she did not have to do it any more."

Aged 11, Dr Garfield turned down an offer to set up her own business selling drugs in her school playground.

Naturally her horrific experience took their toll.

She said: "It wasn't just the torture. It was not being able to tell, not being able to get help with it, having to keep the unbearable secret.

"I had my first hallucination when I was five, by which time I had a multiple personality."

She explained: "Because of the multiple personality I was able to shove all the trauma aside.

"There are segments in the mind like drawers. You can open one and rummage through it and you can even empty it. With me, the blocking off was in another person in the same body.

"Sometimes I would lose time. I didn't know what I was doing when I moved from one personality to another. One personality was much cheekier, more mischievous and deceitful than the other."

Because of her multiple personalities Dr Garfield was able to perform well in school, but it took its toll.

Aged six she tried to overdose. When she began to feel ill she told her mother who was too busy watching TV to take notice.

Five years later Dr Garfield engineered an attention-seeking suicide attempt at an Orthodox summer camp.

She said: "I couldn't tell the adults what was happening, but I knew I needed help. The social services gave me the intervention I was praying for, psychotherapy. It saved my life."

She was in psychotherapy for 20 years till she graduated.

After all that time, she said: "In terms of psychotherapy of what constitutes a happy person, I was good enough. But it wasn't really good because I was still having very unhealthy relationships and post traumatic stress and I didn't love myself.

"I wasn't done yet. I liked myself. I got that far. It's better than loathing. I went from being incredibly depressed to very functional."

Twenty years ago she came to the UK to study for a PhD in psychology at South Bank University.

She said: "I ran out of money and stayed. I married a British man and was able to continue my life here."

Dr Sasha Mitrofanov was Dr Garfield's fourth husband, but her first Jewish and non-abusive one. But still life was not perfect.

She said: "I was mainly under-employed in the UK because I was still dealing with severe post-traumatic stress.

"I ended up doing secretarial work and working for different agencies like Jewish Women's Aid. Due to my own difficulties I was not able to keep that job and I left."

Then she began training as psychotherapist at The Arbours Association, but did not complete her course because she decided to branch out into two other fields, a practice frowned upon by the powers-that-be.

She said: "It wasn't right for me to become formally qualified because I work at the nexus of three different strands. To include the other two is something the powers-that-be frown upon."

Dr Garfield had been referred to clinical psychologist Dr Phil Mollon, who introduced her to energy psychology, which works by tapping the body's energy circulation lines, while the patient speaks about their problem. This helps the brain rewire to change the association.

She describes it as "cognitive behavioural therapy with a somatic element or emotional acupuncture without needles".

She said: "I came to Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) after 20 years of psychotherapy and I still had five years of intensive tapping to do to get the trauma out.

"It was of immense benefit, as though I had done a year and a half of therapy in two hours. It was just amazing."

Dr Garfield gave up a career in academia to offer the therapy, adding: "It works even better in the hands of people who have psychoanalytical training."

Besides using tapping and psychotherapeutic techniques, Dr Garfield also uses Innate Health methods.

She said: "Tapping is brilliant for releasing anxiety, unwanted emotions and trauma and helping belief shift, but without the context of Innate Health it becomes another fix-it.

"That puts it on the same lines, but more socially acceptable than cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. "Innate tells you that you are already OK and that you can experience Innate Health."

Dr Garfield will visit Manchester on April 20 and 21 to give EFT level 1 workshops in conjunction with Dr Dov Stein and local EFT-trained Pearl Lopian.

For details email Dr Stein at

Blue Peter guided Marc to lead fight for blind help


EVER since being appointed director in 2009, Marc Green has been trying to raise the profile of the British Friends of the Israel Guide Dog Centre for the Blind.

And his desire to help the centre in Beit Oved is all down to the BBC children's programme Blue Peter.

The centre, near Rehovot, opened in 2005 to serve the needs of an ever-growing blind community in Israel currently standing at more than 27,000.

Unofficial estimates place the figure much higher.

Around 250 people are guide dog assisted and this number is growing annually.

The charity received a major boost following a recent change to quarantine laws that meant guide dogs could be brought into the UK for the first time from Israel.

Marc set up a visit of American-born Irish balalaika player Bracha Ben Avraham with her dog Dinka last month.

And during a week-long stay Bracha met Jewish school children, Chief Rabbi elect Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and David Blunkett MP.

"Bracha is an awe-inspiring person and a perfect ambassador for us," he said.

"Her dog, Dinka, is a perfect ambassador too, children loved her."

Marc added: "I can stand up in a room of hundreds of people and tell them for three hours how fantastic the Centre for the Blind is, but to bring someone over with a guide dog was amazing.

"Bracha has experienced the whole process of becoming blind, needing to have assistance of a guide dog and moving that all the way through.

"Five minutes in front of the same people explaining why they should be supporting what we are doing was the next best thing to taking them physically to the centre and saying, 'this is it'."

The UK arm of the charity raises up to 150,000 a year, but is looking to treble that figure.

There is a working budget of $1 million annually for the centre to run.

Fundraising is tough, but for the first time last year as much money was raised in Israel as the Disapora since the centre opened.

"That was significant because people in Israel are recognising the work of the centre," Marc said. "Outside operational costs there is outreach work.

"It is essential to replace retired dogs or ones that have died.

"But we also have to teach young people who would not qualify at their age for a guide dog how that dog can change their lives when they are responsible enough to look after one."

He added: "Of the registered blind people in Israel a vast number would not qualify to have a dog.

"Some would have other disabilities, others are too young, old or would be completely opposed to the idea.

"Ideally we would like to see between 500 and 1,000 guide dogs out there.

"At the moment the number of guide dogs in Israel is commensurate 'pound for pound' to the number in the UK where there are 4,500 for a blind population of approximately 1.6 million.

"The numbers stack up, but we are aiming to put on the street another 20-40 per cent over the next five years."

London-born Marc grew up in Belmont.

A member of Hanoar Hatzioni, he volunteered in Israel, working with children with cerebral palsy, helped to construct a city farm in Ashkelon, managed a kibbutz chicken hatchery and painted murals in the towns of Maalot, Hosen and Piqi'in.

He also spent three months in the Israel Defence Force Ma'rva programme.

Back in the UK, the 45-year-old has been involved with the Hebrew Order of David, Jewish Care, Maccabi Association and Young Variety Club of Great Britain.

His working career took an advertising sales path before he joined JNF as campaign manager in 1999.

Over a decade, a raft of events included major fundraising dinners with President Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Albert Rainier.

Cross-communal events included Israel 60, Yom Ha'atzmaut concerts and the Green Sunday appeal.

JNF Israel projects were also numerous.

Working with Aleh, United Hatzalah of Israel, Sderot Media Centre, Tel-Aviv Foundation, Latrun, Girlstown Jerusalem and Keren Malki, Marc came across the Israel Guide Dog Centre for the Blind.

When asked if he wanted to help out, Marc jumped at the chance as it took him back to his school days and regular encounters with Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom and his dog Goldie.

"I went to a school in Hampstead and Simon lived around the corner," he recalled.

"At the time, Blue Peter adopted dogs for puppy walking and every day I'd bump into Simon walking Goldie.

"After a year saying every morning, 'Hello Goldie', I got to walk her and from there on had an affinity to guide dogs.

"Anyone of my age who grew up with Blue Peter knows about guide dogs and suddenly there was an opportunity to be involved with the Israel centre."

Israel Defence Forces paratrooper Noach Braun is the man who dreamed of establishing the Israeli initiative.

His military duties included training dogs, but when Noach left the IDF he was shocked to discover Israel did not have a guide dog programme.

Noach was 26 when he made it his life's mission to create a guide dog school in Israel.

Discovering an American guide dog school in Columbus, Ohio, two years instruction was completed in 1990.

Meanwhile, Noach's wife, Orna, learned how to establish a dog breeding programme.

Today, the couple and 22 staff members have paired hundreds of blind Israelis with guide dogs.

"When you are involved with guide dogs you have two choices, you see the dog or the blind person, then see them as a partnership," Marc said.

"If all you see is the dog then you are missing the whole picture. I've been hooked for 12 years."

The training process for a guide dog takes roughly 18 months, beginning at 16 weeks with a foster family for around a year.

"The dog gets used to meeting people, animals, travelling on buses, trains and cars," Marc explained.

"We can then assess if that dog is going to be able to physically have the intelligence and stamina to do the job."

At the centre the dog goes through a 16-24 week training programme, culminating in a three-week partnership with a potential partner, both residential and at their home.

"Sometimes a dog gets on with a partner, sometimes they don't and sometimes the blind person says it was a great idea, but its not right for them," Marc said.

"The whole process is incredibly rewarding."

Marc, who is married Jess, is not one to refuse obstacles in helping others.

But his greatest challenge came after completing the Great North Run in 2004.

Weighing 19.5 stone at the time his weight ballooned to 27 stone after his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in January, 2010.

"Dad's last wish was for me to do something about my weight," he said.

Surgery, via a Roux en Y bypass, followed last June when Marc weighed 21.5 stone. He is now down to 15 stone.

"The miracle is a simple one, I just cannot eat as much as I used to," he quipped.

"My life is good and I would recommend this to anyone who asks."

Back to his day job and Marc appreciates the impact blind dogs have on a partner's life.

And he feels privileged to develop an organisation where the only way is forward.

© 2013 Jewish Telegraph