Dr. Karen Ruskin, PsyD., LMFT http://www.drkarenruskin.com Relationship Expert Sun, 10 Dec 2017 21:12:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Mexico School Shooting – How To Help Children http://www.drkarenruskin.com/new-mexico-school-shooting-how-to-help-children/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/new-mexico-school-shooting-how-to-help-children/#respond Fri, 08 Dec 2017 15:08:49 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8699

The tragedy in New Mexico has left many wondering about the different types of responses children may have to trauma, as well as how to help one’s children as the story unfolds. During my interview on NBC News Boston last night where I discussed the New Mexico school shooting, I addressed these two topics as summarized in my blog article below. 

Children’s Response To Tragedy

There are different personality styles and ways in which children respond to trauma and tragedy. A few specific reaction response styles include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety/worry
  • Anger
  • Action oriented- wanting to do something about it
  • Compartmentalization/disconnection as though it did not happen

How To Help Children Through Tragedy

An additional question asked of me during this interview included: how can parents help children who are hearing about this tragedy? I explained the importance of parents implementing the following:

  • Be supportive
  • Validate your children’s feelings and thoughts
  • Age appropriate discussions
  • Let your children know you are there for them and they can talk about anything with you
  • Answer their questions. If you do not know the answer be honest and research with them the answer.

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Sexual Abuse – Anthony Edwards Opens Door For Other Men http://www.drkarenruskin.com/sexual-abuse-anthony-edwards-opens-door-for-other-men/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/sexual-abuse-anthony-edwards-opens-door-for-other-men/#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 23:50:07 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8684

Sexual abuse – for any parent a frightening notion to even consider could happen to their children. With well known actor Anthony Edwards sharing his personal trauma with the public, specifically alleging that he was molested by producer Gary Goddard when Anthony was a teenager, Dr. Oz provided a venue in which Anthony’s friends Bret Douglas Nighman and Mark Driscoll came out both in support of their friend, and to share their moving stories. I appeared briefly on this segment which will be airing tomorrow 12/7/17.

Dr. Karen Ruskin, Dr. Oz, Bret Nighman, Mark Driscoll

Having the opportunity to speak with Dr. Oz, and these brave men pre and post the segment behind the scenes, it was significant to me that I was asked various questions directed to me by Dr. Oz and the producer. As a mental health professional, I am mindful that this is a very important topic, and important that as a people we are talking about it! It was meaningful to me that I had the opportunity to get to know Bret and Mark, hear their stories of pain and triumph and discuss various topics with them. Therefore, following filming, I decided to take some time today to put together in a Q&A format 5 top questions answered – that the public may wish to know about sexual abuse and pedophilia, based upon the topics explored behind the scenes between myself, Dr. Oz, the producer, and Bret and Mark. I hope you find this information helpful. The 5 topics in today’s blog article includes: 1) grooming the child victim, 2) how child molesters are able to get away with it for so long, 3) pedophilia profile, 4) why some victims maintain a relationship with their abuser, 5) what parents need to know to protect their children from child molesters. 

How important is grooming the victim for pedophiles?

Grooming is the process the molester undertakes to gain a child’s trust and sometimes the parents trust as well. Over the course of months or even years the child molester increasingly becomes a trusted friend (e.g., takes child shopping or on trips, offers to spend time in other ways).  GROOMING is the KEY, it is very important as it is the process in which the thoughts/desires pedophiles have shift from thoughts to actual action. Not all pedophiles are child molesters. Many pedophiles won’t begin abusing a child until trust has been gained- and that is when thoughts shift to actions.

How are child molesters able to get away with it for so long?

  • Confused: Often this person has become such an important person in the child’s life, so trusted that the child feels confused about what is happening. It is hard enough to understand it themselves, let alone communicate it to someone else. Especially in cases of grooming – the child has been groomed and thus the connection, the closeness, the bond, the trust is already there that runs so deep, before the molestation begins.
  • Fear: Fear that if they share the information they won’t be believed since this person is often so trusted and liked by adults. Fear that if they do say something and they are believed fear of the consequences (e.g., how others will view them, what bad things will happen to this person that was their friend, fear that the benefits of what they have from the relationship will end and thus the child fears: where will that leave them?).
  • Shame/blame: Feeling ashamed, that this is only happening to you and blaming yourself for it. 

Is there a “profile” of a pedophile or some shared general characteristics?

  • There is no one physical characteristic, appearance, profession or personality type that all child molesters have.
  • They can be any sex, race or religion.
  • Often appears charming and loving.
  • They can be and often are – in good standing with the community.
  • Most child molesters are known to the children they abuse.
  • Many sexual predators have a history of abuse in their own past (physical or sexual).
  • Many have mental illness.
  • Child molesters tend to talk about and treat children as though they are adults and refer to a child like they would an adult friend or lover.
  • They often say they love all children and feel like they are still children. A child molester often does not display as much interest in adults as they do in children.
  • They may have jobs that allow them to be around children or contrive other ways to spend time with children (coach, babysitter, neighbor trying to help). They attempt to step in as “parent figure” for the child.

Why do victims maintain relationships with their abusers?

There are several reason why this occurs. The main feature is that since the abuser, the child molester is often an important person in the victim’s life, there is a double side to this person. The side that the victim is close to, in essence the side of the abuser that has been so nice and loving to them, is the side that the victim wishes to keep in their life. Therefore, for some victims they are able to compartmentalize the abusers horrific actions from their positive side. For some victims it is because the abuser helps them (e.g., get a job/boss). For others it is because the victim is able to “make sense” of the abuser’s behavior believing that the abuser is ill, and therefore wants to help their abuser. For most victims there is a desire to heal from the trauma, thus there is a belief (albeit often subconscious) that if you continue to have a connection with the abuser, and he/she stops abusing/changes, then you can heal from the trauma and your own pain is not “for nothing” so to speak.

What should parents know to protect their children from child molesters?

  • Parents be aware and alert for signs of grooming. 
  • The main thing parents can do to protect their children is: be involved in your child’s life – that’s the best way to guard against child molesters. As they will look for a child who is vulnerable and isn’t getting attention from parents. Attend games, practices and rehearsals, chaperone filed trips, spend time getting to know the adults in your child’s life. Make it clear that you are an involved present parent. Express interest in all of their activities.
  • Take the time to talk to your child every day to have an open trusting relationship.
  • Never dismiss a child’s claims or observations.
  • Have regular discussions with your child about who he or she is communicating with online and in person.
  • Ensure your children know if someone asks them to keep a secret from you it is not because the child will get into trouble it’s because the person who asked them to keep the secret knows what they are doing is wrong.  
  • Teach your children the difference between appropriate adult behavior and unacceptable behavior. For example, sex jokes, touching is never okay.
  • Make sure your child feels emotionally supported by you.
  • Let your child know he or she can tell you anything.

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Psychologist or Psychotherapist Job – Private Practice http://www.drkarenruskin.com/psychologist-or-psychotherapist-job-private-practice/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/psychologist-or-psychotherapist-job-private-practice/#respond Sun, 26 Nov 2017 16:10:15 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8674

Private counseling practice seeking Independently Licensed Psychologist or Psychotherapist to join our group in Sharon, Massachusetts to provide individual, couple, and/or family therapy. Our practice is expanding and holding interviews now. You can have a case load within weeks (F/T or P/T). We handle your billing, referrals, and office expenses.

Applicants MUST:  

1. Thrive when working independently and value being part of a team

2. Currently Independently licensed to practice as a Psychologist or Psychotherapist (LMFT, LICSW, LMHC) in MA

3. MA or RI current residents only

This is an entrepreneurial type of position that offers both the benefits of being an individual practitioner and part of a group practice. If you are organized, reliable, energetic, skilled in providing counseling, and interested in scheduling your own appointments from the referrals given to you by Dr. Ruskin & Associates, then do respond to this advertisement. Please include cover letter and resume. Are YOU the one candidate we are looking for? Submit directly to Dr. Ruskin: drkarenruskin@msn.com

Our current team serving the clientele of Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, as pictured. To learn more about the practice, and our current Independent Contractors, check us out at: www.drkarenruskin.com 


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Why Do Sex Abuse Victims Take Many Years Before They Tell Their Trauma? http://www.drkarenruskin.com/why-do-sex-abuse-victims-take-many-years-before-they-tell-their-trauma/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/why-do-sex-abuse-victims-take-many-years-before-they-tell-their-trauma/#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:55:28 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8658

During a series of interviews on The Dr. Oz Show over the past two weeks, I, along with Dr. Oz’s panelists, discussed various topics under the overall header of: Sexual Abuse. Since those interviews aired, I have received an abundance of calls from victims of sexual abuse, now adults, sharing their story with me about their childhood trauma. The common theme is their appreciation that Dr. Oz is providing this forum of discussion. Many of them shared with me that one of the reasons they have kept their story for so long is because they did not know who would help them. If YOU or someone you know has experienced such a trauma, please seek out help. 

How to get help?

Contact your mental health insurance and ask for a list of names of mental health professionals in your area who specialize in trauma and/or sexual abuse. Another option is to speak with your primary care doctor and ask them for a name of a local Psychotherapist or Psychologist who they trust.

Why does it take so long for victims of sexual abuse to share their story?

One of the most recent interview segments addressed the question: why does it take some victims of sexual abuse so long to share their story? I, along with panelists Page Six Reporter Carlos Greer and Daily Mail Journalist Chris Spargo answered this question. If you missed this particular interview (as pictured above) discussing sexual abuse and pedophilia, here is a link for viewing on demand: Sharing your story of sexual abuse.

Additional Dr. Oz Interviews:

If you missed my other interviews on The Dr. Oz Show during this sexual abuse series and/or wish to learn more about this topic, I invite you to click on the links below:


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Social Media and Teen Depression – Is there a link? http://www.drkarenruskin.com/social-media-and-teen-depression-is-there-a-link/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/social-media-and-teen-depression-is-there-a-link/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:39:09 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8646

The relationship one has with their social media devices is just that, a relationship. Some have a healthy relationship with social media and some do not. I have often spoken about this very topic on TV on various news programs discussing that our phone has become an appendage. In my counseling practice, social media has become a common topic with families as a source of reported challenge. I address the importance of being present in life, specifically staying in the now vs. drawn in by the social media lure. In my most recent interview on The Ingraham Angle on FOX News, we tackled the important discussion addressing a potential link between social media and teen depression, specifically teen suicide. This is in response to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science. Today’s blog article includes: 1) the link to my interview, 2) the validity of the study, 3) my theory as to why the potential link between social media and teen depression, 4) advice for parents. 

The Study:

Experts are not in agreement as to whether one can say with validity and certainty that the rise in social media is a direct causation to the rise in teen suicides. Is there a correlation, are the two linked? Many experts agree that data presenting itself infers there is. Though please note there are other factors that go into suicide and thus one cannot reliably state: social media is the direct cause only. 

My theory as to why the rise in social media and the rise in teen depression may be linked:

  1. Too much time looking at other’s lives and not living your own. If with consistency more of the time in your day is spent on social media rather than engaging in real time activities, you are not going to feel well emotionally or physically. Symptoms of depression can indeed ensue.
  2. Feelings of exclusion (e.g., Pictures of social events, parties and activities others are doing and you are not) can lead teenagers to feel depressed.
  3. Home used to be a safe haven, a place to take a break from the bedlam of the day, of other’s moods and social interaction. Now there is no escaping from the intensity of others. Whether it is painful negative dialogue from one teen to another, or the extremism of bullying, there is no escaping this when you get home if you are attached to your social media device.

Advice for parents of teens:

  1. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to live in fear to communicate with their teen about the topic of depression, and/or suicide, fearing they will cause suicide. No! If parents don’t feel comfortable talking about it, then teens won’t feel comfortable talking about it with you. So, bring up the topic. Kids need to know you “have their back” and that they can talk to you about anything.
  2. Take words of suicidal thoughts seriously. If your teen reports any suicidal feelings don’t be afraid to get help. Parents fear their child will be locked up, or their teen will get mad at them if they get help. Rather get help then the alternative.
  3. Live with your eyes wide open (involved parenting, watch their mood/behaviors).
  4. Rules: create social media/electronic (phone, ipad, laptop), ground rules. Don’t fear being called a helicopter parent. And don’t be a permissive parent either. Either end of the spectrum does not work, you are the parent, it is your duty to protect your kids. A healthy balance of social media in your teens lives is key.

The Interview – Dr. Ruskin on The Ingraham Angle

If you missed this informative interview live on air, it is available for on demand viewing: Is there a link between the rise of social media and the rise of teen suicide?

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Why Are So Many Victims Of Sex Abuse Speaking Out Now? http://www.drkarenruskin.com/why-are-so-many-victims-of-sex-abuse-speaking-out/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/why-are-so-many-victims-of-sex-abuse-speaking-out/#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 16:55:37 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8629

Dr. Oz and Dr. Karen Ruskin

Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Todd Bridges – these are just but a few names that are familiar to the public mostly as child actors, and as of late have become much talked about under the topic header: Sexual Abuse Allegations. On The Dr. Oz Show, in the past week alone Dr. Oz has provided his viewers with important information about sexual abuse, airing several different episodes addressing the topic of sexual abuse. I had the opportunity to participate in several of these segments on his show, to help the public understand more about this devastating trauma through my lens as a Psychotherapist. I invite you to learn more about sex abuse and check out my appearances on The Dr. Oz Show: Hollywood’s Sex Scandal & Sex Crimes. Corey Feldman speaking out has played a role in opening the door for others to speak out. As I stated on air during my interview as listed above: Hollywood’s Sex Scandal, there is a feeling of empowerment and courage in numbers. This fact plays a role in why so many victims of sex abuse are speaking out now. Once the door opens, others feel safe to share their story too. The trauma of sexual abuse is not a Hollywood thing, only and specifically. This tragedy occurs for far too many children in all walks of life.

This upcoming week on Monday 11/13 and Friday 11/17 I have the opportunity to provide further insight to the public answering Dr. Oz’s pointed and important questions, a few of which includes: 

  • Why do many who experienced sexual abuse as a child wait till they are older to speak out?
  • How can parents start the conversation with their children about the topic of sexual abuse, and what should they say?
  • Are there certain types of children that are targeted to be sexually abused? 


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Teachers Having Sex With Their Students http://www.drkarenruskin.com/teachers-having-sex-with-their-students/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/teachers-having-sex-with-their-students/#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 16:18:30 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8622

Sex – Crazed Teachers, this is the subject that The Dr. Oz Show tackled and asked for my expertise as a psychotherapist, along with fellow panelists TV host Ashleigh Banfield and Attorney Elura Nanos. When it comes to teachers having sex with their students, adults having sex with children whether a teacher or not a teacher, I say: this is NOT ok! This is a sex crime! It is my strong opinion as a mental health professional, that when there is a power and age differential, that alone is a black and white clear cut, there is no grey area. Teachers absolutely should NOT be having ANY TYPE of sexual relationship with their students. The teacher-student relationship should be a sacred relationship. The adult-child power differential exists, it is real. 

Dr. Oz with TV host Ashleigh Banfield, Psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin, Prosecutor Elura Nanos

The teacher is an educator, the student is the student. They are not friends, lovers or partners. This is a clear-cut distinction, yet painfully there are so many cases in the news reported as of late of teachers, male and female, having inappropriate sexual relations with their students. Through the years I have heard statements referring to the child as “an old-soul”. Statements made by teachers such as: “we are meant to be, age is just a number”. These are rationalizations to justify unacceptable behavior. Let’s keep our children’s emotional mental wellness safe!

If you are an adult having desire for a child, whether you are in the role as a teacher or any other role in your interactions with a child/children, please get help. It is not acceptable under any circumstances for you to engage in a sexual interaction with your student, with a child!

If you are a child that has been approached by a teacher, if you feel the relationship is crossing over the line of teacher-student relationship, please talk to your parents. Or in any other adult-child relationship, it is NOT healthy nor acceptable for an adult to have a sexual relationship with a child. Do not keep this secret to yourself. 

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Mental Health Care System Problems – Texas Shooting http://www.drkarenruskin.com/mental-health-care-system-problems-texas-shooting/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/mental-health-care-system-problems-texas-shooting/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 21:00:33 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8618

With the latest tragedy of the Texas church shooting, this has left us as a public wondering; is there a problem with the mental health care system in America? Specifically mental health facilities that are eligible to treat severe mental illness? Through my lens as a Psychotherapist, I appear on FOX News discussing my concerns with Neil Cavuto. If you missed this interview live, I invite you to view it on demand: Doctor speaks out about mental health care system problems.

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Hollywood’s Sex Scandal – Sexual Abuse – Steps To Heal http://www.drkarenruskin.com/hollywoods-sex-scandal-sexual-abuse-steps-to-heal/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/hollywoods-sex-scandal-sexual-abuse-steps-to-heal/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 19:51:15 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8594

Hollywood’s Sex Scandals is a leading topic in the news as of late. Specifically focusing on the influx of allegations of sexual abuse, including Corey Feldman sharing his story, The Dr. Oz Show hosted a panel of guest experts to discuss. This panel included myself: Psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin, Legal Analyst Michelle Suskauer, and Page Six Reporter Carlos Greer. On that note, I wish to take a moment in today’s blog to share a few steps in which how to begin the healing process if you have experienced sexual abuse, as well as provide my readers with a direct link to the interview if you missed it live on air.  

Steps To Heal From Sexual Abuse

One of the first steps that helps the healing process to begin, if you have experienced sexual abuse, is to confront this very truth with yourself. Sometimes a person wants to lock away their secret as it is too painful to admit even to themselves. It is the lies we tell ourselves that corrode our emotional spirit and damage our mental health and wellness.

An additional next important step is to share this pain, this truth, with someone you trust and who cares about you. Most commonly this is not enough to help someone to heal from their pain and move forward in their life, though a very important next step and significant part of moving forward. Secrets are quite damaging to one’s emotional and physical health, it grows like a cancer. It must be released. Opening the box of pain by sharing one’s story, plays a role in freeing one’s self from the secret that is damaging one’s mind and body. In my work as a therapist, the release that I see when a child or adult shares their story with someone who cares, is extremely deep and plays a significant part in their journey of moving forward.

The next step is not to remain stuck in one’s ‘pain-mind/body’. Therefore one must discover who one is. In my work with those of whom have experienced sexual abuse, it is not uncommon for them to define themselves, view themselves as a victim and that becomes their sole identity. They have lost the parts of themselves they were prior to the trauma, and do not know who they can be separate from the trauma post the trauma of sexual abuse. Specifically if you define yourself as this pained event, you will live in pain and be that pain no matter how many years have passed since the actual event. The identity of self is what affects how we feel emotionally, the decisions one makes each day, and the relationships we have.

 If one views one’s self, one’s identity, through the lens of pain, shame, blame, and feels damaged, then one feels emotionally and thus physically ill. For the mind and body are linked. If rather one views one’s self as smart, strong, beautiful inside and out and believes that the action the abuser took is their demon, is the abusers shame to own, is the abuser’s sickness… then, and only then can one free one’s self from self blame.

  • To relieve one’s self from thinking that they did something wrong is a significant next step entering into the next phase of healing.
  • To discover one’s beautiful identity of self is an important next step in healing. 
  • To make the choice that the trauma need not be their identity of self is a tremendous part of the healing process.

Dr. Karen Ruskin on The Dr. Oz Show

If you missed this interview live, you are invited to watch it on demand: Why are more and more sexual abuse victims speaking out and sharing their stories?

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, please seek out help. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of abusing another person, or has abused another person, please seek out help.

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Porn Crisis – Effecting our Children’s Future http://www.drkarenruskin.com/porn-crisis-effecting-our-childrens-future/ http://www.drkarenruskin.com/porn-crisis-effecting-our-childrens-future/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 19:18:39 +0000 http://www.drkarenruskin.com/?p=8591

The Pornification of the American culture – this is the topic of discussion I participated in as a Psychotherapist/Marriage and Family Therapist Guest Expert on FOX News Channel’s The Ingraham Angle.

If you missed this informative discussion between myself, host Laura Ingraham, and Sociologist Guest Expert Dr. Gail Dines, I invite you to watch on demand: How a pornified culture can be effecting our children’s future.

In my work with the youth population and adults, it has become clear that behaviors that used to be considered deviant is now considered acceptable. There is no longer right vs. wrong, black and white. Rather the unacceptable has become acceptable and all is grey. The ‘I want what I want when I want it and I am entitled to have it’ attitude has gone too far. From my observational perspective: these ingredients in and of itself by it’s very nature is dangerous messaging for children and adults and is transforming our culture.

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