Ruth Tessema, NCC, LPC

  • Dev. Trauma Survivor

  • Animal Lover & Cat Mom

  • Nature Enthusiast

  • Portland Local

  • First Generation Immigrant

  • Spiritual

  • Sci-fi & Mystery fan

Ruth identifies as a cisgender Black woman with Ethiopian American ethnic background. Ruth and her family immigrated from Ethiopia and other countries to the United States when she was about four years old. She has traveled quite a bit throughout, but Oregon has always remained home. She grew up in North East Portland and acknowledges that the Port of Portland is located on lands that have been occupied and stewarded since time immemorial by people from the Cascade, Clackamas and Multnomah Bands of the Chinook Tribes. Ruth received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Portland State University. After a few years working in community health, she sought out a Master’s in Counselor Education across the country from Penn West University. Before embarking in private practice, Ruth returned to Portland and worked in Portland Public Schools as a school counselor supporting students with social, emotional, and academic needs. Now, she works towards her calling, integrating her diverse skill set operating a wellness practice treating individuals who are looking to self actualize.

Compassion, trust, and growth are paramount in Ruth’s work with clients. “I’ve been a helper for as long as I can remember – I find it rewarding helping people feel independent and worthy of taking charge of their lives.” There are multiple, if not infinite, layers and intersectionalities in ones life. Ruth’s role is to help individuals examine, reflect, and explore those layers as this is essentially part of the healing journey. Counseling is a deep therapeutic relationship with the healing and the supporter. As your supporter, Ruth aims to guide people to make realizations and choices that clients are in charge of.

As a holistic wellness practitioner, Ruth, cultivates and facilitates experiences for individuals to discover alignment within their physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. Her style of teaching is founded in her experience as a licensed mental health therapist and educator with holistic background in somatic trauma healing. Ruth founded Rising Self Wellness to address the disparities and inequities within mental health and holistic wellness for marginalized communities. She provides holistic psychotherapy, facilitates breathwork and sound healing, and offers wellness classes and workshops.

Restorative & Holistic Approach

Have you ever seen old architecture in gentle ruins? It looks like it’s been through a collection of stress. But you see its potential for even more beauty. You notice the complexities and can feel the story within each detail. Trauma often feels like it’s ruining us, destroying us, making us feel broken. Applying traditional western medicine coping mechanisms with trauma is similar to repair and maintenance work with cleaning and cosmetic fixes– making it seamless on the exterior.

The restorative healing process differs tremendously; it is similar to patiently repairing historical buildings as they enter ruins. Restoration includes getting to the root of the harm and developing a treatment plan that preserves the past and maintains the original character, and ultimately healing the whole person. Ruins are sacred for many reasons. And we humans hold sacred experiences and inner energy. Just like ruins, trauma survivorship is about treating ourselves with gentle patience and core principles for ultimate restoration and healing. Post-traumatic growth and restoration is our birthright.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” 

-Audre Lorde

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

-Rumi

What is Holistic Therapy?

As your counselor, I use specific styles and techniques to help you create a path of wellness. The foundation of my practice is holistic with a restorative approach and person centered focus. Emerging research continues to produce evidence for the mind-body connection & the benefits of an integrative model of mental health care. 

A holistic approach to mental health brings in the physical body, social elements (community, environment, cultural identity, relationships, etc) and spirituality (relationship to self, religious beliefs, values and beliefs, etc.) Treatment is grounded in identifying which pieces need attention and care, exploring what might be helpful, and collaboratively creating a plan that treats all of you. 

Integrating the physical body is a big part of our holistic approach to mental health at Rising Self Wellness. This might look like incorporating somatic exercises, nervous system education, breathwork regulation practices, use of chair yoga, meditation, imagery, sound healing, expressive arts, and parts work/ IFS. Coordination of care is also part of the holistic approach. This can look like partnering with a naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, acupuncturist, etc. I encourage clients to feel into their body to create an experience of reconnection and embodiment. This is where the restorative trauma recovery happens.

Advanced Trainings

  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Fully Trained Clinician issued by EMDRIA

  • IFS workshop 'Internal Family Systems for Mental Health Professionals' issued by Life Architect

  • Spiritual, Ethical, & Religious Counseling Certificate issued by Penn West University

  • Completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy issued by The Gottman Institute

  • Clinical Trauma Professional Certification issued by Evergreen Certifications

  • Integrative Somatic Therapy Certification issued by The Embody Lab

  • Sound Healing Level 2 Certification issued by Life Changing Energy

  • The Resilient Heart™: Trauma-Sensitive HeartMath Course and Certification issued by HeartMath

  • Breathwork Teacher Certification issued by Jon Paul Crimi, BREATHE

  • Expressive Arts Therapy: Creative Solutions for Trauma Recovery

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Tapping: Evidence-Based, Mind-Body Treatment Approach to the Anxiety Spectrum Disorders

  • Somatic Experiencing Professional Training Beginning Level Module 3 issued by Somatic Experiencing International

  • Internal Family Systems Level 1 issued by IFS Institute

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