Do you have a hard time speaking up when your feelings get hurt?
Or, when you speak up do you attack instead of assert yourself?
Do you worry too much?
Are you haunted by memories of bad things that have happened to you?
Do you feel guilty and are unsure why?
Do you compare yourself to others and continually fall short?
If you answered yes to the above questions, THERAPY CAN HELP!
Some things my clients have said about the effect of therapy:
“For the first time in my life I realized I didn’t need to date guys like that anymore.”
“We were in the middle of the same fight we always have, and I just hugged her instead of yelling”
“I no longer beat myself up when I make a mistake.”
I work with good people who have gone through hard times.
My clients make connections and release old hurts in therapy that positively impacts their larger lives. They report feeling calmer, less depressed and anxious, sleeping better and gaining a greater ability to understand others and resolve conflict effectively.
About Tanya Ruckstuhl LICSW
My therapeutic philosophy is that all people have both the capacity and the need to change and grow over time. The primary task of therapy is to provide supportive witness to the therapy client as they explore their responses to current and past events, their expectations of others, and to develop a “right sized” sense of responsibility and power. All of this is done while fostering optimism towards positive change. Towards this end I use a variety of therapeutic approaches, drawing from what I feel are the best of many superb therapy models.
Originally trained in Narrative, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Family Systems therapy, I have also broadened my therapeutic influences to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy). I have chosen these therapy models because the mechanisms behind their functioning--the theories and beliefs that underlie them--are optimistic and affirming, and this makes sense to me.
Each client I work with is unique. Presenting problems, current level of functioning, life experiences, culture, gender, and religion will all influence your level of comfort seeking and making use of therapy. I believe in discussing openly and directly any concerns either of us may have in understanding one another. My goal is to have as clear a picture as possible of how you see and experience the world, and then to introduce other ways of perception and reaction that can foster a more joyful life for you.
Fees: $160 for a 50-minute individual or couples therapy session.
I maintain a limited number of reduced-fee sliding scale appointments available for low income clients who cannot otherwise afford and do not have any family support to pay for therapy.
I do not accept insurance. I provide a monthly statement that will allow you to bill your insurance for partial reimbursement.
You can contact your insurance company to find out what percentage of reimbursement they offer for out of network providers and inquire if there is a deductible that must be met first.
I work with individuals aged 16 and older. For those under sixteen, I offer parental support to increase the parent's abilities to respond effectively to their children.
Many of my clients came from traumatic childhoods and use therapy to process both what happened in the past as well as how they are responding to present events.
Some enter therapy due to major life transitions such as: the loss of a loved one, job, marriage, age-or-illness-related decline in mental and/or physical abilities.
Some enter therapy as perfectly stable-but-not-quite-satisfied persons wishing to “clean out the closet” of past experiences and to optimize their emotional well-being in order to live their lives more fully and joyfully.
I work with couples wishing to decrease conflict and increase problem-solving, connection, and communication in their relationship.
We will explore how each of your pasts may contribute to areas of stuckness and how to manage the inevitable incompatibilities that arise between any two people.
I help couples examine their attachment style and find ways to provide one another sufficient space and closeness.
This in turn heightens emotional safety and the delightful experience of being cherished.
Group therapy is an affordable and fun way to address specific issues.
I offer group therapy in the areas of anxiety management, social skills and divorce support on an occasional basis.
If you are interested in group therapy, contact me so I can put you on a wait list and let you know when the next group is starting up.
Self-Care: How To
by Tanya Ruckstuhl LICSW
When we first bought our house, I delighted in the garden the former owner had created.
Over the first year I watched crocuses spring up in February, tulips and daffodils appeared like magic in March, sprouting between rocks and brightening up the landscape.
Over the summer I beheld roses where ugly thorny bushes had been, and lovely scented lavender!
The first year I just watched, but by the next summer I wanted to actually learn how to
take care of my yard. The garden wasn’t looking as good as it had. In fact, it was
growing wild. I invited a green-thumbed friend over to tell me about my yard.
“Uh-oh,” she said right away, pointing to something--um--green.
“What? What is it?” I asked.
“That,” she said, “is an invasive weed and it’s taking over your flower bed.”
“Taking over? Is it allowed to do that?” I said.
“Are you weeding?” She asked.
“Not really. The last time I weeded I pulled out a bunch of rare poppies and so I
decided I shouldn’t risk it.”
“Your plants look droopy. Are you watering?”
“I thought the rain took care of that.” I said.
“And look” she said, plucking a brown spotted leaf, “You’re not using
fertilizer, are you?” She asked.
I didn’t know how to take care of my garden and as a result, it was suffering. It took quite a few more years and many mistakes before I understood not to plant full-sun flowers underneath a tree, or that acid-loving perennials need different soil amendments than grass.
But the results of these lessons are beautiful, and now our garden gives us a view, flowers, and outdoor spaces to enjoy.
You, like any self-respecting Northwest garden have a number of needs that may not be obvious but are just as vital for your lifelong well-being.
Fresh air, exercise, nourishing food, time spent with people you enjoy, the opportunity to learn new things and to make a contribution to the world are all as important as water and sunlight and healthy soil are for plants.
In the rush and dash of daily living, it is easy to get caught up in the “gotta do” cycle;
our waking hours consumed with work, parenting, cooking, cleaning, putting
out the trash and paying the bills, and finally falling into an exhausted heap in front of the television for a couple hours of escape before sleep.
The problem with this type of life is that it is unsatisfying, repetitive, and actually
dangerous for your sense of well-being.
Once our physical and emotional needs are met, our deepest authentic craving is for variety, beauty, growth, novelty, creative exploration, and mystery.
While a good movie or television show might offer some of these things, the danger of television is that it is used over and over again, like a drug, for escape from the drudgery of day to day living, instead of being used once in a while as a planned experience, like having a friend to dinner or going out dancing.
Television watching becomes the default evening activity of many depressed people, and like a time-vacuum, it sucks up hours that could be used doing a variety of much more interesting things; time that would be spent interacting with real people as opposed to observing imaginary people pretending to do important things.
“But I like watching television! I don’t want to give up what I like!”
You don’t have to give it up entirely, but if you would like to increase your sense of
well-being, decrease your television time.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without my television for company.”
You can start by making a plan: List three enjoyable activities you would like to learn
how to do, or simply do more often.
Next look around for the supplies, instruction, or support you need. Join a class or group on your own, or if you are shy ask a friend to join you.
In any given metropolitan area there are groups meeting each night of the week
devoted to just about anything you can imagine: knitting, bowling, computer gaming, tattooing, playing musical instruments, juggling, astronomy, drawing, fencing, etc…
Share your gifts. Whatever you are good at, be it a learned skill (such as carpentry) or an
inherent one (such as a good sense of humor) find a way to share it with others.
Do volunteer work, or just look around your neighborhood for someone whom you can help.
Is there a single mother who could use an occasional babysitter? Is there a lonely dog you could offer to walk? Do you know a teenager in need of encouragement? Or a parent of a teenager who could use some reassurance that they will get through this time as well?
Notice how uplifting kindness is to you as well as to the recipient of your kindness.
Develop an appetite for being of service.
Develop your intuition. Listen to that part of you that knows without knowing how it
knows. Deepak Chopra says “Your gut is just as smart as your head, only it doesn’t
second guess itself.”
PS: that voice of intuition is easiest to hear in silence.
Pay attention to the company you keep. When you are feeling stressed or unhappy, avoid people who bring you further down. Seek friends who are generally content, happily married or happily single, emotionally secure and do not constantly use their time with you to complain.
Of course, we all occasionally need to vent, but limit your time with people who continually vent and do not engage in change.
Don’t take my word for it! Try these suggestions out for yourself. Give them a thirty day trial period and see what happens.
If you would like more support, my number is 206 375-7690
Anxiety and Phobias
“If Your Own Mind is Lying to You, You Need Another Opinion”
by Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti
What is the difference between occasionally feeling anxious and an anxiety disorder or phobia?
We all get anxious once a while: public speaking, going on a first date,
interviewing for a job, taking a test; all of these things are common anxiety producing events.
The difference between normal and abnormal or clinical anxiety is threefold:
1. Frequency and duration: typical anxiety is occasional, not frequent. It normally
occurs around “first times” when engaging in new behaviors, such as the ones
listed above. It does not last beyond the initial experience and is not relived in
anxiety-producing memories. For typical anxiety, when the “first time”
experience is over, the feeling of anxiety is over.
2. Causally Connected: Normal anxiety has some logical basis to it, as in “I am
afraid of failing this test and if I fail, I can’t get the job I want.” Normal
anxiety responds—and decreases—in response to thinking through the
alternatives and ways to alleviate the feared outcome, as in “if I fail the test I will
need to study harder and take it again in three months. It will be a disappointment
and inconvenient, but it will not be the end of the world.”
3. Life-Interference level: normal anxiety may give a person pause and the
occasional pounding heart, but it does not prevent them from pursuing their goals.
Abnormal or clinical anxiety is a bully: it blocks opportunities such as work,
leisure, romance, travel, and well-being of the sufferer. Abnormal anxiety lies,
making the sufferer believe “I can’t” instead of “this is tough and it will take
some work to get through.”
This definition applies to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), agoraphobia (fear of leaving a specific and familiar area such as home or neighborhood), as well as to
specific phobias such as fear of flying, social anxiety, or driving.
Vital and life-preserving fears, such as the fear of walking into the street without looking both ways, or the fear of breaking the law due to the possibility of getting caught, may or may not qualify as anxieties, depending on how frequently they are thought about.
What treatment options exist?
There are many treatment options available to the anxiety sufferer. Therapy, including
EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), cognitive behavioral, exposure and systematic desensitization are all beneficial. Medication may be extremely helpful as well.
Helpful things you can do for yourself:
1. Make an appointment with a licensed and experienced therapist. Having
professional support that you can trust is vital for overcoming anxiety. If your
own mind is lying to you, you need another opinion. My number is 206 375-7690
2. Think of the anxiety as separate and distinct from yourself. You are not your
anxiety, any more than you are the flu when you are sick.
3. Talk back to the anxiety. Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that could
happen?” “What is the likelihood of that happening?” “What can I do if that
4. Deliberately expose yourself to the very thing you are afraid of. It is very hard
for your anxiety to convince you that you cannot do something when you
have just done it.
Anxiety can be an extremely painful, debilitating condition. Left untreated it becomes increasingly consuming.
But help is available and an appointment for help is a phone call away.
Mental health means living a life of choice, free from the compulsions and fears of