Emily Ruiz (she/they) is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in affirming care with queer, trans and BIPOC teens and adults. Emily works with clients navigating life transitions, unraveling harmful societal and intergenerational narratives, and struggling with disordered eating and body image.
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I became a therapist because I’ve been where you are. Throughout my adolescence and young adult life I struggled with getting my needs met, finding connection, and feeling safe within myself and the world around me. I spent so much of that time hiding. Hiding my queerness, the shame I carried from my past, my insecurities, and my humanness. When I finally decided to make a commitment to myself and start my own therapy, I remember feeling afraid that it was too late. I felt so stuck in my hiding and the comfort of the narrative I had carried for so long that I wondered if I was too broken to heal. To my surprise, I wasn’t. Through my time in therapy, I have been given an opportunity to write a new narrative for myself that’s filled with hope and compassion instead of fear and shame. I won’t lie, therapy can feel scary and hard, and so I believe you deserve a therapist who helps you navigate all the ups and downs of this process without judgment — I hope I can be that therapist for you!
How have your personal experiences helped your work with your clients?
As a queer latinx therapist, my personal experiences have been essential in shaping my approach to therapy and in helping me support my clients. As someone who has navigated complex and intersecting identities, I understand the unique challenges that marginalized communities face and the impact that these challenges can have on mental health. Through my own personal experiences, I have learned the importance of creating a safe and affirming space for my clients. I know how difficult it can be to seek out support and to share vulnerable parts of oneself, especially for those who may be experiencing discrimination or oppression. I strive to create an environment where my clients feel seen, heard, and respected, regardless of their identities or backgrounds. Overall, I believe that my personal experiences have given me a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of the needs of marginalized communities. By drawing on these experiences and using them to inform my work, I am better able to support my clients in their healing and growth journeys.
How would you describe your therapeutic style?
My approach to therapy focuses on an attachment and internal family systems lens, emphasizing the humanness of experiences and growth in discovering parts of the self. In addition, I am pursuing certification as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and often incorporate interventions relating to the body in my work. At my core, I am a client-centered therapist, meaning I tailor my approach to your needs while maintaining a non-judgmental and empathetic stance. I feel honored to delve into clients’ stories and witness the vulnerability and bravery of their journeys.
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.