Our expertise includes reinforcing treatment by using child and adult psychological assessment to inform the accurate identification, description, and treatment as well as placement of those who are struggling, accurately address unique issues of gifted children and adolescents, provide research-based interventions for high conflict and violence exposed, or injured, ill, traumatized toddlers, children, youth, and adults -- all who are experiencing the results of being conflict-exposed, symbolically exposed to toxic interpersonal interactions and engagement.
We continually refine the use of performance testing and projective testing, in particular, for clarifying the effects of direct, lived, painful and traumatic experience in vulnerable individuals, particularly the youngest children.
Our precision treatment (the right treatment at the right time for the right person) interventions are thoughtfully assessment & relationship-based, trauma-informed, sensitive & trauma responsive, and always co-created with those we serve.
This approach sets us apart and makes our services unique, and gives us opportunities for consulting and teaching, providing second opinions on difficult cases.
Dr. Livingston is highly regarded for his clinical/forensic and Psychological Assessment doctoral level instruction and testimony regarding clinical assessment indicators of Personality, Second Opinion reviews, and of MMPI2 and Rorschach integrative findings. and for his overall assessment proficiency and experience, advanced instruction, consultation and supervision of others, application of forensic and clinical and assessment expertise to the field of extreme trauma (successful evaluation and treatment of torture survivors, successful asylum applications granted for torture survivors he has treated. He has successfully assessing, treating, and providing successful Expert Testimony in support of Asylum Seekers; presenting nationally on post-conflict refugee adjustment and resettlement issues. He currently supports the needs of traumatized female prisoners in a county jail setting, continues his independent consultation, clinical and forensic assessment through Abbey, and both private practice and independent forensic evaluation, second opinion, and expert testimony.
Dr. Ruebsamen specializes in addressing severe stress, coping, and hopefulness, factors contributing to pediatric suicidality (suicidal thoughts and/or behavior), and factors contributing to wellbeing in children and families, and linking precision child psychological assessment, and, specifically, trauma assessment, to individualized, relationship-centered treatment
("the right type of assessment battery for the right issues - administered in the optimum, most knowledgeable, individualized manner for the right child.")
She is active in Family Court in four Counties:
- Private or Court Ordered Evaluations and/or Therapies:
- Parenting High Conflict/disagreements: Not infrequently, parents bring conflicting parenting philosophies and strategies into therapy - and we often spend time helping parents talk to each other and work at sorting that out. . either informally or by Court Order.
- Family court related evaluations: child or parent therapies, Child/Parent therapies, reconnection therapy, co-parent counseling, court-ordered evaluation of child, parent, etc.
- Domestic violence evaluations
- Evaluations for Dependency, Family, Juvenile and Mitigation courts
- Evaluations for Nursing schools, Occupational therapy schools, etc.
- Evaluations for learning disorders that are impeding progress in community or four-year college -- this is a continual referral - please do not hesitate to come in for a consultation.
- Asylum and hardship evaluations, expert testimony for immigration court
She currently focuses on consultation for other clinicians, social workers, attorneys and the courts, teaching and treatment, especially as it pertains to early child development, attachment issues, the early and lifelong effects of unresolved high interpersonal and inter-parental conflict and violence, the effects on children and youth of being homeless, indigent, US and global issues such as the developmental effects of forcible displacement and statelessness, post-conflict migration, immigration, asylum-seeking and transnational status and other issues unique to post-conflict and war-affected children.
She is interested in parenting issues, including issues unique to reconstituted families, acute and chronic pediatric illness and parental mental illness -- their effects on the family, with expertise and experience with children and youth at high psychosocial or psychiatric risk, often those considered "invisible, expendable children" in the family, or in the "new", combined, family, and pediatric suicidality in the youngest children: derivation, contributing and maintaining factors, contextual issues.
Dr. Ruebsamen is extremely effective working with children considered "hopeless" therapeutically, and often assists in diagnostic re-conceptualizing, addressing treatment issues by consulting on complex, complicated child/youth cases.
You may resonate with some specialities which our clients repeatedly find helpful:
- Dr. Marilee is a former Special Ed teacher, and also spent many years as a Psychologist directing a Clinical program proving assessment and treatment to Special Ed students in a Therapeutic School through doctoral psychology interns - students included those with severe psychological/behavioral issues and a developing therapeutic program for children and youth on the Spectrum - autistic and asperger syndrome children, one of the newest and most effective in the Bay Area.
- Child/youth direct victims of assault, threat, or exposure to violence, suicide of a parent or friend, car-jacking, rape, etc.
- Children and families dealing with acute or chronic or life limiting illness, or anticipatory grief.
- Transitions: and dealing with difficult news in the family - such as an upcoming move away, a separation or divorce, etc.
- Bereaved children and families. Dr. Ruebsamen is certified and experienced in pastoral care and hospital chaplaincy.
- "Exit and/or entrance events" especially as they relate to despondency in children and adolescents. Significant changes or losses (these actually load as potential factors for child suicide which are often overlooked or minimized by adults - - loss of a child's best friend, loss of a grandparent, loss of a pet - These are major life events for children and how they are processed and honored/memorialized prepares a child/sets the stage for coping with other such losses through out the lifetime. We can support you through this process.
- You may be a parent worried about your child's readiness for preschool, kindergarten, Jr. High, college, his or her overall wellbeing, academic or social/interpersonal functioning. Unfortunately, preschools and schools often have a difficult time with children who may not "fit in" as easily as others, who may not be quite as mature as their peers at four years old, whose temperaments may be challenging, or who are culturally/linguistically different from the majority. At three and four years old there is maximum developmental scatter (difference) in children's developmental abilities. We can help you by observing your child in the school context, carefully examining your child across various domains and listening carefully to you and others who know him/her well across domains and contexts - them sharing what we have found developmentally as it impacts placement.
- Parents come with concerns about their child's apparent maladjustment to various school, after-school, and social settings - or worried about diagnoses that their MDs or preschool staff have suggested. We can sort that out with you - and also assist you to get the educational support your child deserves from 0 - 5, etc. which parents are often unaware of.
- Quite regularly, adults self-diagnosis themselves and eventually come with high levels of anxiety to confirm or dis-confirm a diagnosis.
- Child anxiety or attentional disorders: parents may wonder whether your child is demonstrating true AD(H)D or some variation of of attentional disorder, and if so, what exact type, and have questions about whether or not to agree to medication or some other recommended treatment for your child.
- Your child's IEP may be unclear or contentious: You are involved in a worrisome, confusing or contentious IEP process and would appreciate a consultation and independent review.
- Violence, victimization; crisis: You or someone close to you may be experiencing the aftermath of violence or your children are exposed to (interpersonal, or community, etc.) violence, direct victimization, an ongoing crisis and need immediate, competent, confidential, support. Children, women or men who are DIRECT VICTIMS of assault or any kind of victimization, assault or violence require support, assistance, and help with understanding both psychological issues, assessment, treatment, referrals, and competent, clear assistance about how to avoid re-victimization.
- evaluation and treatment, referrals, for children and adults on the autism spectrum
- bullying bullying bullying - continues to be a theme -victims, bullies, and affected families and parties - see the most recent research!
- "online addiction" in its various manifestations - called by different names, viewed in extremely different ways by different educators and therapists, it is a consistent concern of parents regarding kids of every age.
- young sexual abuse and assault victims often come to attention, including very young children, college students, male and female.
- we often see young mothers or fathers in recovery who need immediate support with parenting - sometimes they are in circumstances where their children are being removed from their care. We are experienced in providing thorough evaluation and treatment.
- Psycho-education: Or, someone close to you may be in crisis and you want education around that issue to be certain how to be responsive and supportive (as in the case of a young person away at college).
- Identity Issues: You may have been hoping for confidential and informed support about identity issues, or be the family member of someone who is working through such issues.
- Gay or transgender children or youth? Children in transition? Parents of children who are coming out? Dr. Ruebsamen is experienced in LGBTQAI issues and provides support to youngest children and questioning families through older adults.
- Postpartum depression: Mothers are often referred by physicians and friends for treatment of postpartum depression.
- Positive, Mindful, Compasssionate parenting: You may be interested in support with positive, compassionate, more positive, reflective parenting.
- Parents often bring in children - or grandparents bring in grandchildren they are parenting: Grandparents have come to our attention for support whom they find themselves parenting --- the children of their own children -- when their grown children are unable to to parent subsequent to alcohol/drug abuse, incarceration, or parental neglect. We are skilled and experienced in providing assessment and ongoing support for both these grandparents-turned-parents-again, and the children newly placed in the home, as well as the family as a whole - a new unit in these situations. We are especially experienced at interpreting the responses and reactions of these vulnerable children to educational personnel and classroom teachers.
- Enduring mental health issues: you or your child, adult child or partner may be struggling with a significant anxiety, mood, attentional or behavioral disorder and you are looking for confirmatory psychological assessment, diagnosis; treatment; Second Opinion; Consultation.
- Severe mental illness/ seeking therapy: You or a relative may have a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, another psychotic disorder, a severe mood disorder -- and you have lost your longtime treating psychotherapist and would like to consider a new provider.
- Relationships: You may be shattered at the breakup of a relationship, and feel the need for sorting out and clarifying what remains of yourself remains intact, and believe you would make good use of connection, emotional support. and would like to focus on healing and recovery.
- Work on longstanding issue: An issue or concern may have been gnawing at you for a long time, perhaps years, and for some reason, you feel ready to explore and work on it. Timing is often a mysterious but critical component of seeking psychotherapy, and motivation is a great factor for working well in treatment.
- Cognitive confusion or behavioral changes: you have increasing concerns about you or your partner's being forgetful and confused or and are looking for diagnostic clarity through interview, testing, developing adaptive planning..
- ADHD/PTSD differential: child attentional, learning, vs. PTSD issues, coping, bullying, parental conflict, divorce, reconstituted family, transition to college: You may be unclear as to the the interaction of attentional vs. PTSD symptoms vs. a mood disorder such as Bipolar II - all complicating your child's ability to cope in situations involving harassment, bullying, parental conflict, divorce, reconstituted families, transitioning to college.
- Loss: child withdrawn, recent losses: Your child may be withdrawn, experiencing recent losses, relationships that have ended, deaths of significant pets, friends, relatives. . .
- Anxiety: young child anxieties/acting out: You may have a fairly young child who is anxious, depressed, acting out, having difficulties at preschool school and at home.
- Suicide Potential: child/pediatric suicidality: You may have a child (of any age) who is clearly expressing suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
- Chronic illness/coping: You may be experiencing complex chronic health issues and desire support with coping.
- Situational stress/business: You may be a Silicon Valley Executive who would appreciate confidential support for a specific, situational, stressful situation.
- Psychological testing: You may be requesting a specific type of psychological assessment for your child: psychoeducational, giftedness, adhd, school readiness, etc.
- Restless for change: You may feel restless and desire change, but cannot identify the source of the discomfort, and would like help clarifying your thoughts; feelings.
- New therapy experience: You find yourself discouraged and disillusioned with past experiences in therapy and looking for a new therapeutic experience and more fruitful, or more collaborative.experience.
- Second opinion consult: You may feel you have never been correctly diagnosed, believe you have been mis-diagnosed, over-diagnosed, etc., and would appreciate a second opinion consultation.
- Lonely and in pain, seeking therapy: You may be motivated by sheer loneliness or what is referred to as "the trauma of everyday life", to seek the empathic listening therapy can provide.
- End-of-life issues: You may want assistance with later life and end-of-life issues, support with anticipatory grief, approaches to palliative care, bereavement, grief and mourning.
- Refugee post-settlement issues: You may be need help with refugee resettlement issues or need a VAWA or an asylum evaluation.
- Emotional difficulties of caregivers: Caregivers of others, including Nannies, frequently request support with feelings of isolation. depression, inadequacy, loneliness.