"Life is full of diving boards and other precipices, but, … making the leap is not about ignoring, fixing, fighting, or controlling fear – or anything else you might be expecting. Rather it’s about accepting and noticing all your emotions and thoughts, viewing even the most powerful of them with compassion and curiosity and then choosing courage over comfort in order to do whatever you’ve determined is the most important to you. Courage is not the absence of fear.  Courage is fear of walking"
-Susan David, Ph.D-


Ruth robinson-nelson, ph.d.


Path

I was not immediately drawn to mental health as a profession, though I majored in psychology in college.  I worked briefly on a campaign in an office with a difficult printer where one day I commented that it’s behavior must be because it was lonely.  At that point I figured it was time for a change in course and I began my professional journey in mental health.  Even within the mental health field my course has not been linear.  I initially began working with at-risk adolescents and started my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  When I completed my program I felt I had a good basis of providing counseling, but I wanted more depth, experience, and understanding of the clinical and psychological realm and so set out west to the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University to pursue my Ph.D. Once I completed my degree I wanted to return closer to home and my family, which has brought me here.  


Experience

My family is originally from Delaware; however, I lived a number of places over the course of growing up.  I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelors of Arts in psychology in 2002.  At that time, I took a break from school, and wasn’t entirely certain what I wanted to do with my life.  I worked on a campaign in Washington, DC, and realized it was not a good match (and anthropomorphized printers).  I returned to Minnesota and initially began my career in mental health working with at-risk adolescents in a temporary shelter in St. Paul, MN.  During that time I began working on a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas and completed a practicum at Saint John’s University Counseling Center.  

At that time I was unable to be licensed with a Masters degree in Minnesota, and so I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University in Palo Alto, CA.  While at PAU I completed training programs with the Gronowski Clinic (community mental health), the St. Helena Center for Behavioral Health (serious mental illness and psychiatric inpatient hospital), La Cheim Behavioral Health Services (intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization program), and Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (crisis intervention, elder populations, and grief therapy).  I interned at the San Mateo Medical Center where I completed rotations in palliative care (hospice), inpatient psychiatric care, and behavioral medicine.  Since completing my degree, I moved to Delaware and have been in private practice in Newark specializing in death, dying, and grief, with a subspecialty of suicide bereavement, in addition to working with individuals with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.  I recently completed the training program in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders with Postpartum Support International.


Professional Affiliations

  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Delaware Psychological Association, Membership/Diversity and State Advocacy Committees
  • Postpartum Support International, Certificate Training

Personal Philosophy

My approach to therapy is personalized to connect with my client and provide a safe, empathic environment to help facilitate understanding and growth.  It’s important to me to understand my client as a whole and not merely a sum of the parts and keep in mind a bio-, psycho-, social- conceptualization.  My ultimate goal is help the client feel less stuck and create movement and momentum towards a healthier frame of mind.

I developed this approach from my own experience, as well as my knowledge of human behavior, psychology, and the impact of relationships with friends and families.  Part of what drives our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions is the subjective nature of our relationships with others.  I feel it is imperative to use a non-judgmental, positive regard when working with clients and seek to use the client’s strengths in our work together. I integrate Humanistic, Psychodynamic, and Cognitive-Behavioral theories and techniques in my practice.