Psychiatric Social Worker

Ruth Ruskin, L.C.S.W.

Ruth is a Psychiatric Social Worker at the Roundhouse Square Counseling Center and a Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.


Contact Ruth


Licensed Clinical Social Worker
ACSW Diplomate
Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

I have been part of the Roundhouse Square Counseling Center staff since 1985. Before Roundhouse, I was a therapist at the Family Therapy Institute of Rockville, where I studied under two of the pioneers of short-term, problem-solving therapy—Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Cornell University and my Masters in Social Work from Catholic University.

My family therapy training taught me that mental suffering is more than the simple byproduct of biological illness or intra-psychic conflict. I help my clients examine other factors that are part of the mix—the social and environmental stresses and supports in their lives, their family dynamics, and even their learned ways of thinking and coping. In my years of private practice, I have studied and used cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT) extensively. This approach considers how the client views events that occur in their lives. Sometimes a simple shift of perspective can be a powerful tool for change.

At Roundhouse, I specialize in life and relationship problems, anxiety disorders and depression. My particular specialty is treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. I sometimes do “in vivo” therapy with clients in the actual place or situation where their anxiety response occurs. I serve as a “life coach” for adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. I use hypnotherapy as a tool to treat stress, performance anxiety, phobias and insomnia, and to jumpstart behavior change such as stopping smoking. I see mostly adults and adolescents.

Over the years I have learned that different people respond to different forms of motivation and treatment. I get to know my client’s needs, strengths and goals first and then I think about what in my “arsenal” of treatment techniques might work best for him or her. For some, insight-oriented therapy is most appropriate and for others I use solution-focused treatment techniques designed to address the presenting problem as quickly as possible. I really enjoy what I do and consider it an intellectual challenge.

I have been married over 40 years and have two grown children, both happily married, and three grandchildren. In addition to working at Roundhouse, I am Vice President of the Board of JSSA, Washington’s oldest non-profit, private social service agency, the Managing Member of three shopping centers, and the president of a small charitable foundation. I am an avid reader, cook and gardener and a perennial student of Teaching Company courses. I love creative and artistic pursuits including writing, drawing, costume-design and flower-arranging. In my neighborhood, kids refer to me as “The Halloween Lady” because each Halloween, for the past 30 years, I’ve created a different Halloween-themed (not gory, but humorous) display in my garage. I suppose that display reflects my view of life – even when it’s ghoulish, one has to find humor in it!

Getting you back on the right track

Roundhouse Square Counseling Center

We at Roundhouse are a group of mental health professionals in Alexandria, Virginia who specialize in Anxiety, Depression, Work Stress, Relationships, Adult ADD, Adult OCD, Parenting, Fear of Public Speaking, Severe Phobias and more.  Our psychiatrist, psychiatric social workers, physician assistant and other staff members have a combined experience and expertise that spans a wide range of problems. Our team approach enables us to smoothly coordinate a variety of effective psychological and medical treatments.




111 Oronoco Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Our Name

Why is our name Roundhouse?

We moved into our first office building in Old Town, Alexandria located on a site where once existed a railroad roundhouse. That’s how we got our name, Roundhouse Square Counseling Center.  The railroad metaphor inspired our tag line: “Getting you back on the right track.”

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