About Dr. Ruthie

I help people to feel better and reach their goals for better lives and relationships through an eclectic yet cohesive blend of therapeutic modalities. My work is strengths based and relationally oriented, and I very much believe that the problem is not the person, that people make the best choice from the options they see available, and that each of us wants to and can live according to our hearts and highest principles. When people have lost their voices and their hope, I share mine with them.

My clinical philosophy:
Employing a narrative lens, my work views the construction of meaning as a primary human activity and area for meaningful understanding and change. My modality of therapy integrates narrative, humanistic, strategic, structural, Ericksonian, solution-focused, and other models of family therapy, and it emphasizes client strengths, resilience, and hope. I see my work as increasing awareness of options so that better choices are available, people can become unstuck, and better ways of interacting can be developed. I’m highly empathetic and respectful that the client is the expert in their lives, while being strongly supportive, active, and directive.

Women, Men, Teens, and Children; Individuals, Couples, and Families

I work with people one-one-one, and I work with people together, such as couples and parent-child dyads, even whole families, depending on what is wanted and most helpful.

Issues include general concerns like depression, anxiety, stress, parenting, and couples relationships. Some problems are chronic and may have been going on for a long time. Others have to do with life transitions or crisis situations. Change can be good, but even positive changes can be difficult to integrate and make the most of.

Counseling can benefit people immensely — For example, Premarital Counseling has been shown in a great body of research that it increases marital quality, happiness, and satisfaction, that it decreases conflict, and that it leads to better, more stable marriages!

I love to help couples build strong relationships that increase the joy and enjoyment in their lives Additionally, children and teens are some of my favorite clients and I’ve found that often just a few sessions make a world of difference. In our work together, my clients find joy, meaning, healing, connection, and profound transformation!

I also have a special niche for men and women dealing with divorce or bereavement who want to heal from the incredible pain that such a loss can entail, helping them, and their children, to heal and thrive!

Therapy options include private in-office sessions, as well as diverse and creative options and mixtures, to flexibly meet your needs: these include home-based, e-mail-based, telephone-based, and “walk & talks” (a client favorite and wonderful for de-stressing).

Dr. Ruth Houston Barrett PhD, LMFT — “Dr. Ruthie”


  • Warm, non-judgmental, “a safe space” for therapy
  • Laughter & fun, while nurturing and growth-oriented
  • I have a profound love for people and a passion for helping people to achieve their goals

Life experiences bring me some special understandings of what others may be going through:

  • Breast cancer survivor
  • Divorced/solo parent for several years
  • Mid-life career change from Engineering to Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Transitions from Professional to Stay-at-Home Mom and back again
  • Stress, financial strain, bereavement, and loss
  • Life experiences also add to my strong message of resilience, joy, healing, and loving relationships
  • Happily remarried
  • Mom of two awesome teens at R.U.H.S.
  • Redondo Beach “native”
  • I’ve also lived in the South, and the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest
  • Savoring success and unexpected treasures
  • Spiritual meaning and a deep appreciation for life’s journey — Sea-Change!


  • PhD, Marital & Family Therapy, Loma Linda University, one of the few COAMFTE-accredited doctoral programs in California
  • Licensed in 2013, therapist since 2003
  • MA in Marriage & Family Therapy, Pacific Lutheran University, COAMFTE-accredited
  • MS in Electrical Engineering, USC — my first career continues to inform my thinking and my problem-solving, solutions-focused orientation
  • BS in Electrical Engineering, UCLA
  • Certifications/Advanced training in Narrative Therapy, Couples Counseling, Strategic and Structural Family Therapies, Collaborative Language Systems, Systemic Therapies, Bereavement Groups, Parenting Apart Groups (for high-conflict divorcing couples), Multifamily Groups, Supervised Visitation, Play & Art Therapy with Children
  • Research, published and ongoing, focused on biopsychosocial concerns, including diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia, depression, happiness, narrative therapy, physician families, women in medicine, professional families, and financial strain in families
  • Evidence-based approaches and state-of-the-art research inform my integrative, adaptive, collaborative therapeutic style.

See more about my work, publications, and philosophies by visting my LinkedIn profile.
My CV can be viewed here.