I’m here to talk about

 grudge bearing, hostility, superstitions, OCD, codependent relationships, despair, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, perfectionism, obsession, sarcasm, junk food, unhealthy attachments, blame, resentment, binging, purging, hoarding, pessimism, jealousy,


We all seem to cling to familiar habits, even if in our logical minds we know that some of them are no good for us. After decades working in the field, Dr. Ellie Katz has concluded that self-sabotage is part of the human condition; we all have attachments we’d be better off without. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if it’s food, the lottery, or a cult. In her writing, Dr. Katz sets out to tackle the everyday face of addiction, exploring root causes, personal struggles and the gift of recovery.

Once you understand addiction, you can’t help but notice that it’s everywhere.


Love and Kisses from My Padded Cell

Love and Kisses from My Padded Cell

A compendium of the personal stories of ten recovering addicts. Dr. Katz gives voice to ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, offering a nonjudgmental glimpse into what individuals are willing to do in the service of their irresistible urges.

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When Sane People Do Insane Things

When Sane People Do Insane Things

A practical guide to the enrichment of mental health. The book elaborates on what is essential and what is hazardous, offering the reader an opportunity to help himself reach the most precious gift: a life well-lived.

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My Last Summer as a Fat Girl

My Last Summer as a Fat Girl

In her memoir, Dr. Katz opens up about the events that have given her life its miraculous shape. She invites the reader on a personal journey as she investigates the powerful role food has played in her biography.

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Professor Amia Lieblich review

In an animated and revealing dialogue with her readers, Dr. Ellie Katz steers us towards self-examination. She advocates for six behavioral principles that will assist us in freeing ourselves from the urges that rule us. This is how we can restore serenity to the internal and external story of our lives. This is a book that, in my opinion, presents a substantive path to mental health in the twenty-first century.

Professor Amia Lieblich
When Sane People Do Insane Things


Dr. Ellie Katz is a leading practitioner of holistic psychotherapy. For the last forty years, her eclectic interventions have featured innovative approaches to using meditation, guided thinking and the Bach Flower Remedies. Dr. Katz has lectured at Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center, the University of Istanbul, First Beijing Medical Center, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been a senior staff member at the Retorno rehab facility since 2003.


Jul 1, 2018

If I Had a Magic Wand

About ten years ago, I compiled an arsenal of props that I kept in a bag in my office at work:  a black pointed hat from a witch's costume, an amazing array of hand puppets, a mirror, and a magic wand that was very...

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Jun 1, 2018

Not waiting around for inspiration

Of late, I have been working with my groups at the rehab on the notion that ultimately, if we want to get better, we don’t need to wait for inspiration to hit us. It’s entirely possible that we can be taught to make an...

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May 1, 2018

I am waiting for the end of cruelty

Recently, I noticed a few articles about an astronomical event that predicted the coming of the Messiah on April 23. The idea is sensational to me. As a Jew, I’m not picturing the Second Coming of Christ, but rather...

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Apr 9, 2018

Politics: What can I do about it?

Don’t ask me about politics. As a psychologist, the work I do focuses mainly on thoughts and feelings. I help people reach new heights of flexibility, losing rigid attachments to an idea of how things have to be. I do...

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Mar 1, 2018

Why would you deliberately hurt yourself?

Life is hard enough to begin with. The idea that you would maliciously hurt yourself seems baffling. Unfortunately, in my years working as a psychologist, I have encountered a vast number of acts of self-mutilation. I...

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Feb 1, 2018

Tooting my own horn

When I completed revisions on my first book, I was faced with a dilemma. I had written the book after being sent by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to lecture on mental health in China and Turkey. In preparing these...

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Jan 1, 2018

Alone but not lonely

Recently, I went to a repair shop to get my cell phone fixed. My friends and family had been complaining of late that when they called me, my voice sounded muffled and too quiet. It turned out that the entire...

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Dec 3, 2017

Qualifying for the spiritual olympics

Just came back yesterday from a three-day jaunt to the town of Uman in Ukraine, where a very important eighteenth-century Hassidic rabbi is buried, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. While I am not a Breslaver Hassid, large...

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Nov 9, 2017

What can I do to take care of myself?

Working at the rehab, I spend a lot of time helping my clients develop healthy avenues for ensuring good mood and serenity. I’m talking here about learning to protect their entire psychophysiology on a day-to-day...

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Oct 16, 2017

Accepting my limitations

The other day, my car wouldn’t start. I got into the vehicle, la di da, ready to be on my way, and it simply wouldn’t turn on. My husband’s assistant came running, enthusiastic to give me a hand, but he, too, was...

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Sep 14, 2017

Knowing what better looks like

I spend a lot of time working with my clients on change. Ostensibly, that’s the reason they’ve come to rehab. They cannot continue to expose themselves time after time to the ridiculous at best, grotesque and perverse...

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Aug 7, 2017

There must be SOMETHING about me that’s worthy…

At the rehab yesterday, I conducted an exercise in which the clients were instructed to begin a sentence with, “It’s hard for me…” One young lady’s response set the whole group off and running headlong into a huge...

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Jul 11, 2017

Obsessive attachments

The other day, in the group I was leading, I asked if any of the participants had an obsession or attachment they wanted to explore. The gentleman to my left, a weed-smoker for thirty years, said, “I don’t know, Dr....

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Jun 5, 2017

Unexpected challenges

Knocked down, but not knocked out. A year ago, I underwent cataract surgery on my right eye, otherwise known as my weak eye. Surgery went well. The anesthesia kept me comfortably in and out of reality, although during...

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May 13, 2017

Staring my fear down

I am readying myself psychically for a second cataract operation. Due to a variety of circumstances, I have waited a year between surgeries. The doctor who did the first procedure examined me a few days ago and said...

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Apr 17, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day is coming up, and I swear, the older I get, the more devastated I become as I watch the documentaries and hear the radio interviews of the aging survivors. It pains me to come to terms with...

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Mar 10, 2017

The love of a dog

Often, when I do guided thinking with my clients, I ask first if they love, hate or fear dogs. (Guided thinking is a therapeutic technique that involves me instructing my client to render forth an image or idea that I...

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Feb 6, 2017

Not my most impressive workshop

I was recently asked by a friend of mine, the director of a women’s seminary, to create a workshop for professionals in Jerusalem. I thought it would be a delightful opportunity to talk about some of my favorite...

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Jan 11, 2017

Generosity of spirit

On occasion, when I'm at work at the rehab, I look around and ask myself: How did I get into all this, anyway? I must admit that working with addicts is often a frustrating experience. Many times, I give my “all” and...

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Dec 7, 2016

When a moral compass is lacking

I have come to realize that some of my clients literally have no concept of right and wrong. They have no intrinsic moral code. Everything is okay and acceptable, sort of, when it suits them. They can justify anything....

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Nov 13, 2016

HOW do you want to be when you grow up?

It’s often asked of children, and some immature adults: What would you like to be when you grow up? Personally, I think a better question would be how you want to be. How would you like to be emotionally? What kind of...

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Oct 9, 2016

The virtues of becoming your own cheerleader

Becoming your own cheerleader – it’s the best way of keeping motivated I can think of. I have noticed over the years that one of the reasons people quit when they’ve undertaken a challenge is that there is no one...

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