I Emphasize Increasing Wellness and Wholeness Douglas Rugh

Psychotherapy is About How You Think about Yourself in the World

  • How you live with your emotions
  • Perspectives you bring to relating with the people who matter to you
  • What you aspire to in your life and how you may unwittingly make it harder for yourself to reach those goals
  • Being helped to see that the change you seek is already within you
  • Coming to recognize and appreciate the spark of something eternal that is your core
  • How you live with yourself right now

I am licensed psychotherapist based in Washington DC., and I believe that through psychotherapy, your untapped strengths and capacities can emerge. The work is about being more alive.

My work has not been restricted to the United States and I have earned my living for many years in a variety of fields that enriched people's lives teaching, academic research, and health program director for state and federal government. My internships have included stints in social agencies, psychiatric hospitals where I had frequent contact with a range of major psychopathologies, a general medical hospital, and a number of high schools. These internships and residencies nurtured my development of sensitivities, skills, and personal innovation. I have exposed myself to a selective and balanced study of the basics of human psychology, medical perspectives, social influences, and professional ethics and responsibility, and I have extensively read both fiction and nonfiction portrayals of a wide range of human experiences and the great existential and philosophic issues of life.

I have lived in Europe, Asia, and Africa, which has given me consulting opportunities in a range of settings, including universities, government bureaucracies, international organizations, embassies, World Bank, international schools, and UN. Many of the people I counseled came from active duty and hardship posts in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have seen first-hand tremendous changes in lives and relationships, and this experience gives me hope in individual transformation.

My office is in a contemplative space in Washington DC

In the United States, I worked my way up from individual and group therapist at St. Luke’s in Miami to clinical director over a five year period, and my background includes clinical experiences you might not expect. For example, I was on a government task force after Hurricane Katrina, and as a trauma specialist, I am called to plane crashes, hostage situations, and shootings where I see people respond to crises and who have lost important parts of their lives.

My goal is to maintain a deep sense of humility and responsibility in undertaking this kind of deep engagement with people and continue to develop a broad perspective on the human condition, on the possibilities and limitations of individuals, and on the urgencies of the wider community.

I believe in life-long learning, self exploration, and experiential training throughout different stages of my life.

Mentors and teachers throughout my career have encouraged me to reflect on my experiences and grapple with them in ways which vary from fantasy to active planning and execution.

After I received my doctorate in 2005, I was hired by NIH and I found myself working and socializing with researchers and scientists, with people I didn’t fully relate with. So I returned to bodywork for my third round of intensive yoga with a Russian teacher who I practice with for about two 2 1/2 years, I also took voice lessons for 2 years, and I joined the Royal Shakespeare Society and a physical comedy troupe where I had a lot of fun and I worked with great artists. In hindsight, all of these efforts were to get me out of my head and back into my body and I find that in my life after I really push myself on a cognitive project or an academic degree, I need to balance myself needing a regular physical practice of movement.

  • 750-hour, five-times-a-week mindfulness and meditation training during Naropa's residency program in Nepal and India
  • One and half years of analysis with Fred Fleischer, a Jungian analyst
  • Four-year supervisory mentorship with Dr. Andrew Cherry (cognitive behaviorist)
  • Three years of Ashtonga yoga with Richard Freeman
  • Four years of academic research with Drs. Chris Rice and Fred Newman
  • Two years with Mary Naden studying the Alexander technique
  • Two years of classical acting at the Shakespeare theater
  • One year specialized training within the federal government
  • Extensive and intensive personal therapy and supervision experiences with therapists of both sexes and including group therapy
The difference between Knowledge and Experience.

I have participated in numerous briefer stints with therapists from a variety of disciplines, including behavioral therapy, coaching, marital-couples work, an ongoing leaderless mindfulness group, including a marathon weekend wearing a theatrical mask. These experiences have given me a deep understanding that different people respond to different forms of therapy at different times in the lives.

Please click on the following link for the books that have inspired me over the years. They will give you insight into the people I appreciate and whose work I model my own approach after.

Two aspects of my experience

First, the diversity of approaches incorporating both the mind and the body. It is important for me to avoid sectarianism and to gain an appreciation of the strengths of all the varying therapeutic approaches. I believe that there is no better way to learn than with experiential training. Hence, I have considered a period of discomfort in my life as an educational opportunity to explore what various techniques offer. Second, I have participated in experiential training at many different stages of my life. I have had a series of mentors and I continue participating in professional supervision and my own personal therapy.

I volunteer time on non-profit boards related to health and educational initiatives, and assists academic journals and other publications with writing and review. I believe it's important to capture lessons-learned for recognizing the needed components for a high probability of success.

Psychotherapy can help re-shape the habits that limit your ability to enjoy your life to its full potential. Using an approach that is focused, flexible and creative, these are guiding principles in the work that I do. If this sounds like an approach that appeals to you, I encourage you to email or call to set up a time to meet. I look forward to hearing from you.

I encourage you to email or call me so that we can meet. I look forward to hearing from you.