When it comes to being a Black woman, girl, or being gender non-conforming, in addition to typical life hardships, there is the added stress of navigating what it is like to live in a society that often communicates messages about your worth that can leave you feeling unseen, unheard, and undervalued. Although the idea of being a “strong Black woman” can offer feelings of encouragement and pride, this mentality can also prevent Black women from feeling as though they have the right to feel vulnerability, emotional pain, or acknowledge feelings of defeat. The more that Black women feel that they must have it all together, the greater we are at risk for experiencing anxiety, depression, and other difficulties with our mental health.
My name is Dr. Ruth K. Smith, a clinical psychologist at Bledman Psychological Services specializing in the mental well-being of Black women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals. Throughout my 10+ years of clinical work, I have learned that a person’s greatest pain can also be their greatest source of strength. My role is to help you take the pain or difficulties you have experienced in life and help you transform it into power to create a life that you will love. I believe that within each of us lies the tools for complete transformation. I look forward to helping you to access those tools within yourself and supporting you on the journey from where you are to where you want to be!
Dr. Smith received her PhD in clinical psychology from the #2 clinical psychology doctoral program in the nation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she completed her pre-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. Smith has been specially trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), an extremely effective treatment for creating cognitive, behavioral, and emotional changes in individuals seeking for more balance in their lives. DBT incorporates a balance of acceptance and change strategies to help people create lives that they truly enjoy living. Accepting reality rests on our ability to be self-aware and other-aware (mindful), which then gives us the ability to assess what needs to change, and then make those changes. This treatment was created by world-renowned researcher and clinician Dr. Marsha Linehan, and Dr. Smith received her DBT training through the Linehan Behavioral-Tech Institute.
While at UNC and Columbia, Dr. Smith received clinical training in cutting-edge evidence-based clinical interventions from world renowned clinicians and researchers. Specifically, Dr. Smith has expertise in DBT with adolescents and adults, as well as in the combined DBT + Prolonged Exposure protocol (DBT-PE) for individuals with significant emotion regulation difficulties and PTSD. Dr. Smith’s other training includes Motivational Interviewing, Family Therapy, Behavioral Parent Training, and Behavioral Activation (BA). Finally, Dr. Smith has been expertly trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure with Response Prevention by Dr. Jon Abramowitz, an internationally renowned expert in research and treatment for OCD.
In her clinical practice, Dr. Smith specializes in treating mood disturbance (including major depression and bipolar disorder), anxiety and stress, traumatic experiences, behavioral impulsivity, and race-related traumatic stress. Dr. Smith also treats stress stemming from life changes, including relationship changes, grief, job loss or difficulties at work, and other life transitions such as supporting parents and teens navigating the many changes surrounding the teenage years. Lastly, Dr. Smith also specializes in treating Black women who have been involved in emotionally abusive relationships or who have experienced domestic violence.
Note: I do not contract with insurance companies but provide all necessary documentation for clients to submit for reimbursement!