Introducing Dr. Nancy Garcia-Ruffin
Dr. Garcia-Ruffin is a psychologist and board-certified sex therapist. She works with all couples with a special interest in conflict-avoidance clients, adoption, infertility and multi-ethnic/BIPOC couples.
Hablo en español.
Welcoming couples to book in-person marriage retreat in
Brooklyn, New York.
Also offering an intensive marriage retreat online.
Want to attend a couples therapy retreat in NYC?
Ph.D., Fordham University, Bronx, New York, Clinical Psychology. May, 2003.
Doctoral dissertation. The measurement of fear of success and its relationship to personality, perceived parenting, study habits and academic performance. Fordham University.
M.A., Fordham University, Bronx, New York, Clinical Psychology, 1995.
B.A., Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, New York, Psychology, 1993.
State of New York #016625,
Additional Certifications & Trainings
- Certified Sex Therapist, American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, May 2009
- Family and Divorce Mediation, The Ackerman Institute for the Family, New York City, March 2018.
- The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, The Couples Institute, August 2015
I feel so fortunate to find my work incredibly fulfilling. I began college knowing that I wanted to be a therapist and stayed the course. Few high school students know what they want to do professionally and get it right!
My interest and expertise in sex and couples therapy happened organically, and I have a passion for the discipline and for learning all I can. I’ve been trained in the Developmental Model and , Gottman Models for Couples Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Divorce Mediation, and Discernment Counseling. This has enabled me to work effectively with couples in all phases of relationships.
I see myself as a co-pilot on a couple’s journey. I want couples to become experts on themselves. My job is to connect dots, identify blind spots, and teach the requisite insight and skills to help them define and shape the relationship they want to have. I particularly enjoy helping couples who struggle with expressing their feelings, needs and desires to their partners.
I’d describe my approach to couple’s work as both compassionate and direct, sweetened with humor. You may hear things you don’t want to hear, but you’ll recognize that it comes from a place of care, kindness, and respect.
I welcome all couples, including LGBTQ couples, and BIPOC/mixed-race couples. I specialize in working with those dealing with infertility and/or adoption. I am also fluent in Spanish.
I’ve been practicing psychotherapy full-time since 1998 and completed my doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2003. Earlier in my career, I worked in community mental health clinics in underserved areas of New York City. There, I supervised a team of nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers, and case managers.
Many of my clients lived in poverty and had experienced trauma associated with poverty, crime, immigration, and systemic racism. Some also lived with severe and chronic mental illness. Anyone who has worked in these settings knows the challenges of trying to practice psychotherapy when there are so many social service needs. Despite having so many disadvantages, I learned that many of these clients had incredible resilience and grit.
Community mental health is where I developed an interest in sex therapy after finding myself getting information about my clients’ sexual lives and not knowing what to do with it. This led me to pursue sex therapy training and I I became a board-certified Sex Therapist in 2009. I quickly learned that I needed to understand couple dynamics in order to be an effective sex therapist, which led me to couples therapy training.
I recently joined the Supervision Faculty at the Sex Therapy Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in NYC where I train a group of clinicians pursuing sex therapy certification.
As a child of an immigrant single mother, I and needed to navigate my own course through my academic, professional, and romantic relationship worlds. There were plenty of mistakes and lots of growth along the way, let me reassure you. These experiences have allowed me to be comfortable in many different settings and with many different groups of people.
My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and can say that we’ve had two marriages. Our “second marriage” began nine years after the first. That’s how long it took us to mature into our current relationship. Through our own work in individual and couples therapy, and my training in couples therapy, we identified our need for differentiation and our own Four Horseman (Gottman) and learned how to correct them.
Couples must identify dysfunctional dynamics that are getting in the way of growth. And it’s not easy but I can assure you that my “second marriage” has been a marvelous change from the “first.” It takes both resilience and grit to overcome tremendous obstacles. I bring this life experience to my couple’s work, as well. It has helped me be hopeful for my couples, even when they are not.
My husband and I have two young boys. As a family, we enjoy playing games together, vacationing, and socializing with friends. Being a parent has been my most joyous and my most challenging experience all at once. Children have a way of holding a mirror up to ourselves where we are forced to confront every fiber of who we are, and come closer to who we want to be.
My “chosen family” is as important in my life as my family of origin. We have a strong social network of friends that brings me so much joy. We love visiting my family in Massachusetts, but we are not able to do that as much as we’d like. Having close friends nearby gives us that sense of extended family that we value so much.
While I have no formal training, I have a passion for interior design. My husband and I have renovated and designed several apartments and our current house. Our first project was the very first apartment we purchased almost 20 years ago, and we did all the work ourselves (installing flooring, kitchen cabinets, sink/fixtures, backsplash). That took so long and was so incredibly challenging because we had to turn to the internet for every step, but it turned out beautifully and was so satisfying! We no longer have the time to take on hands-on projects, but I’m still very involved in designing our spaces.
Before the pandemic, I trained in kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I hope to return to it soon. It helped me feel more connected to my body and in touch with my inner strength. Furthermore, my years of therapy training, marriage, parenting, therapy, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have helped me learn that there is also power in yielding, humility, and vulnerability.
My office is in the beautiful, vibrant, charming DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn, NY. Known for its breathtaking views of Manhattan, cobblestone streets and world-class waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO has a rich history with flourishing art and food scenes.
I was very very excited to find this space as Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of my favorite places! My family has spent many afternoons perusing the shops, riding the famous Jane’s Carousel, playing soccer, and watching the ferries go by on the East River, not to mention pointing out the famous buildings of the Manhattan skyline.
Located in Brooklyn’s most Instagram-worthy hot spots with the Manhattan Bridge in the background it is one block from the water. In fact, part of the charm of this office is the occasional rumbling of trains going over the bridge. You can’t get more Brooklyn than this!
This office is easily accessible by car or public transportation, and there is paid parking in the building and metered parking on the street. There are many hotels and restaurants nearby.
You will find that my office is spacious with high ceilings and feels cozy at the same time. Even with the vibrancy in the street below, this is a quiet, comfortable space that will allow us to get to work.
I invite you to join me in NYC to conduct your private couples therapy retreat.