The Australian Jewish News included an advertisement from Kollel Beth HaTalmud featuring Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser. Rabbi Goldwasser is described as an expert in matters of addiction and is widely respected as a counsellor. I do not know if Rabbi Goldwasser has any formal qualifications. Certainly in Australia, you can be an accountant, and advertise and perform the role of counsellor and not have your advice or counsel subject to any peer review or peer oversight. My view is that all counsellors should not only have formal training, but that they should be answerable to a counselling peer body if there are complaints about their para-professional counsel. A psychologist can lose their registration if they are found to be guilty of breaching the standards expected of their peer body. It seems that counsellors, for some reason, are not bound by peer based standards because they do not need formal qualifications.
I guess it’s buyer beware. There is advice, and there is counselling. They are two different things. Rabbonim have long given advice. Some of them are also incredibly good counsellors and possess the “wisdom of Solomon” by virtue of their acumen and life experience, laced with the values of Halacha. Rabbis Chaim Gutnick ז’ל and Yitzchok Dovid Groner ז’ל were both revered as advisers and counsellors in Melbourne, and rightly so.
A Rabbi with requisite wisdom will also know when something is outside their range of expertise and refer a congregant to professionals when that appears to be warranted.
That being said, he is also someone who was issued with a Ksav Siruv by Chabad on account of allegations that he wilfully mistranslated the memoirs of an elderly paragon of Russian Jewry by omitting all and every reference to Chabad! I’m not breaking any new story here. The issue is well documented here and here
Thank God, apart from my addiction to Herring, Tzibbeles, and Bromfen on Shabbos, I have no need to see the good Rabbi; although if he can tell me how to lose some of my tummy I’d be obliged. If someone does attend, it might be interesting to ask why he chose not to appear before Rav Osdoba to answer the complaints directed against him about the book.