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Therapist Spotlight: Dr. Ryan Douglas


What do you enjoy most about working with people with anxiety disorders and OCD?

One of the things that I really enjoy about working with anxiety is the ability to be creative in designing strategies to confront anxiety based on my clients’ specific symptoms.  Anxiety is such a diverse part of the human experience that I am always encountering a new presentation of symptoms that requires some adaptation to the techniques I use.  I love that I am always learning and improving my skill set as a therapist because of this.

Is there a time in your life when you had to overcome anxiety?

One time in my life when I had to endure anxiety was around the time of my college graduation.  I experienced a great deal of uncertainty about my future, doubts about my chosen major, and worry about finding a job.  At the time I did not know much about anxiety, and in hindsight I wish that I had sought help from the counselor at my college because I suffered unnecessarily for a number of months with distorted thinking and physical symptoms of anxiety.  However, in the end I found a job in the mental health field that changed my direction, and put me on the path that resulted in my Ph.D. in psychology.  Eventually I did obtain counseling which helped me reframe my fears and move past them so that I could accomplish my goals without enduring so much fear of failure and uncertainty.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At this point in my life my primary roles outside of being a therapist are as a partner to my wife and father to my two sons.  So I spend a lot of time playing Legos, reading children’s books, playing outside, and trying to keep the house from looking like a toy store exploded in our living room.  I also enjoy music (live if possible), reading fiction, and listening to various podcasts while walking around my neighborhood.

What do you enjoy about working at the Anxiety Treatment Center of Austin?

I enjoy working with a team of like-minded clinicians, and at the same time having enough diversity of interests in our staff that I can learn more about different specialties.  While we all offer a similar type of therapy, we each have our own areas of expertise, which is useful as I encounter new forms of OCD, and anxiety disorders with my clients.  I also enjoy the balance of having a strong foundation in evidence-based psychotherapy with the ability to tailor my approach to each client.  In some clinics I have worked at in the past I was not able to tailor my approach to suit my clients needs to the degree that I can at ATCA.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

There are so many people I would love to have dinner with that I don’t think I can pick just one.  Baseball player Jackie Robinson, poet Sandra Cisneros, and novelist Kurt Vonnegut come to mind as famous people I would love to meet and get to know better.  However, right now the answer would probably be my wife because with our two young kids we hardly ever get a meal to ourselves anymore!

>> Read Dr. Douglas’ psychologist profile.