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Douglas Rugh, PhD About Me

My work has not been restricted to the United States and I have earned my living for many years outside of the mental health field as a ski salesman in Colorado, technical writer, researcher, federal government administrator, and government contractor. 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.

New Orleans a day after Hurricane Katrina

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. Over the past six years, I built a psychotherapeutic practice in Washington DC.

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.

  • 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

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.

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.

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