About Ruth Fallenbaum

I am a psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, California. For about 30 years I have worked with children, adults, and couples, employing a psychodynamic, psychoanalytically oriented approach to our work together.

My belief is that we are all social creatures and that our psyches are initially formed through our relationships and attachments to parents or caregivers, whose own psychological structures develop within historical events, geography and culture. Thus we process our environments not only through our own direct experiences but also through experiences transmitted consciously and unconsciously by our families as well.

As a result of this belief, it has been important to me to provide psychodynamic treatment to people of diverse backgrounds. Out of this experience I have written a book, entitled African American Patients in Psychotherapy: Understanding the Psychological Effects of Racism and Oppression  (Routledge,  2018).

My interest in cultural and historical aspects of psychological experience also has contributed to, and been deepened by, 20 years of doing psychological evaluations for scores of refugees as part of their asylum processes.

I am a member of the Steering Committee of Psychologists for an Ethical APA /withholdapadues.com, and co-authored a referendum, passed by the members of the American Psychological Association in 2008, which bans psychologists from working at U.S. detention facilities operating outside of, or in violation of, the U.S. Constitution or international law. The APA’s failure to take action to implement this ban led to my resignation from the organization in 2011.

I received my Ph.D. in Clinical and Social Psychology from the Wright Institute, Berkeley, in 1983, and was licensed by the State of California in 1985. I have provided clinical supervision for graduate students from the Wright Institute and have taught classes in therapeutic issues related to working with immigrants and refugees, and in clinical considerations about work, class, and money.