Dr. Stuart (Simcha) Chesner is a clinical psychologist who has made a tremendous impact on the understanding and treatment of children at risk in Israel and the Jewish world. In 1993, Dr. Chesner founded the Bnei Chayil Academy of Jerusalem, the first school in Israel dedicated exclusively to providing top quality general and Jewish education for adolescents at risk with ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome, behavioral issues and emotional disorders. For nearly two decades, the Bnei Chayil Academy has served as an educational facility, a therapeutic center and a training platform for educational and mental health professionals throughout Israel interested in learning how to heal and educate at risk adolescents.
Dr. Chesner’s unique approach to the at risk adolescent(NBCD-Neurobehavioral Cognitive Dynamics) is currently being utilized in school districts throughout the State of Israel, and has been adopted by the Israel Ministry of Education as the cornerstone of an integrated treatment program for children at risk. He has published three books in Hebrew and numerous articles on dealing with challenging children and has been a featured presenter at hundreds of workshops and professional conferences in Israel and throughout the world.
In 2006, Dr. Chesner founded the Matara Jewish Residential Treatment Program as an alternative for Jewish youth who need an intense therapeutic and educational program. In a recent interview that was published in an Israeli journal, Dr. Chesner stated:
Oftentimes the kids with special needs possess incredible internal strengths. They just don’t fit into the square pegs that culture and school expect. When we help them feel safe enough to connect with themselves, they begin to come out of their defensive armor, and they actually begin to glow. We all benefit from the incredible light they give off. We just need to teach them and ourselves to recognize this energy and to harness it in the right direction.
Matara has since become UCanachieve and Dr. Chesner continues as the Consulting Supervisor of Clinical Services. He received his doctorate degree in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University where he was awarded the David Hudson Fellowship for scholarship and citizenship. Dr. Chesner and his wife, Rachel (Doctorate in Nursing, Case Western Reserve University), live in the desert community, Maale Adumim, just outside of Jerusalem, with their six children and their Shitzu Shmoopie. In his spare time, he studies and practices meditation, exercises and watches reruns of Seinfeld.
For questions about parenting the challenging teenager, click here to Ask Dr. Chesner.Please share this post!