I was so moved by the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth that I felt I had to write my impressions of it.
Dr. Ruth paved the way for marriage and sex therapists like me to educate and help others who are struggling in the area of love and sex.
I loved the way the film depicted Dr. Ruth’s open, honest, humorous
and candid approach, to life. Her early life and development evidently influenced
how she lived both personally and professionally.
Dr. Ruth Takes Charge
The way she took charge of her feelings of loneliness in the Swiss orphanage she attended while her parents faced the horrors of Auschwitz was so heroic. Even while on the kinder transport, when she felt scared out of her wits about where she was going and what she would find on the other side she rose the occasion to be the bigger person. She sang with the other children in order to calm herself and everyone else down. https://www.jta.org/2019/05/07/culture/documentary-on-dr-ruth-delves-into-the-sex-therapists-holocaust-past
Dr. Ruth Derives Strength From Her Family
What appears to be a central theme in her life story is that she derives strength from being there for others. Although her life in the Swiss orphanage was lonely at times, she didn’t allow it to stop her from being who she was and bringing her down. Instead she clung to shreds of memories, little teachings her parents offered her that influenced her choices and coping mechanisms.
The love she received from her parents and grandmother was so
strongly embedded in her very essence, that even when she stopped receiving
weekly letters from them, she could still recall their love and hugs and know
that she was loved by the people who were most important in her world.
This early and formative feeling of security shaped Dr Ruth
in such a way that she let nothing stop her. She was able to stay so connected
to who she was that this guiding force directed her in her path towards
choosing a career, and life partners.
A Secure Attachment Goes A Long Way
For me, as an Attachment focused Marriage therapist, it was
so fitting to see how Dr. Ruth’s strong and secure attachment to her closest early
caregivers paved the way to her creating a new close-knit family. First amongst her friends and peers at the
orphanage and then with her romantic partners later in life.
As an adult, she was so tuned in to who she was that when
she felt something wasn’t working she quickly pivoted without second guessing or
doubting her decision.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer lives life in a forward movement, without regrets. She is someone who exudes such enthusiasm, genuineness and sensitivity towards other’s suffering. This guiding principal makes her so good at what she does. The ability to get to the heart of a person’s suffering and offer targeted advice to help them make the decisions they needed to move forward and heal.
Her work evolved out of her commitment and passion for
creating healthy and dynamic families. Just as she worked at planned parenthood
in efforts to educate women about how to both have a healthy sex life and
practice safe sex, she offers advice in such a genuine and candid way to the
general public on the airwaves of radio and TV.
I still recall sneaking into my parent’s bedroom when they were
out late and watching her talk show on TV.
My Personal Experience with Dr. Ruth
My own personal encounter with Dr. Ruth was incidental, and
yet so telling of who she was. While at a Broadway theater at the tender age of
10, I recall running through the auditorium to find my parents. I recall a pile
of men surrounding Dr. Ruth. I unknowingly pushed through and found little Dr
Ruth, the same height as myself at the time, answering their questions about
sex. Although I didn’t know who she was, or understand half of what they were
saying, it was clear from the way the men were hanging on to her every word
that she was a very important person.
Dr. Ruth paved the way for marriage and sex therapists like
me to educate and help others who are struggling in the area of love and sex.
While so many were against her publicly, she ignored them and focused on her
inner voice propelling her forward to do what she believed. She doesn’t allow
money to dictate her life choices. Her passion for skiing and partying and
being a good wife and mother were clearly just as central to her being as was
her career as a vibrant and educated sex therapist.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Ruth for inspiring me and thousands
of others to follow our hearts and dreams and to believe that helping other people
create a healthy home starts in our own homes.