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Carolyn Ruschak

Carolyn Ruschak

Carolyn’s background in mental health and passion for helping people started as a teenager, when she began to struggle with her own anxiety and depression. Finding support and comfort with a school counselor, she began to look for answers to her questions by researching mental illness and trauma. Then, after experiencing a bout with depression during her undergraduate studies, severe anxiety while serving in the Army Reserves during Desert Storm, postpartum depression following the birth of her second child (1998), and another depressive episode in 2004, she felt compelled to use her own experiences, along with education and training, to make a difference in the lives of others, and obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling. Having fought her own battles, she felt well equipped to help, as well as empathize, with those who have endured similar struggles.

For many years, Carolyn helplessly watched her brother struggle with alcoholism and depression. His refusal for help, and failure to heed the warnings of his doctors, led to his brutally slow and painful death due to cirrhosis of the liver in 2011. In 2016, her youngest son and his friends lost one of their own to suicide, at age 16. Watching these young men struggle, and fearing the worst, Carolyn saw a clear need for support for survivors of suicide – especially within the schools – and an even clearer purpose for her own life experiences and education. Having experienced similar struggles and finding support through Alcoholics Anonymous, she understands the absolute necessity for a supportive environment when dealing with intense and chronic suffering.

November 2018 marked a turning point in her life spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally, when she launched her own recovery onto an entirely new path. Carolyn whole-heartedly believes – both personally and professionally – in a comprehensive, holistic approach to treatment and support for mental illness, addictions, and trauma. As she sees it, ”surrounding ourselves with compassion, moving our bodies out of the pain with walking, yoga and expressive arts… nourishing our bodies and minds with nutritious foods and thoughts, healing our spirit with prayer, journaling, and talk therapy are all parts of the same solution. Most important is peer support.” As an advocate, Carolyn champions the idea of survivors supporting survivors who understand each other’s pain. “In Alcoholics Anonymous, this is where the true healing begins, where we in recovery can give to others what has been so freely given to us” Carolyn asserts. “Like survivors of a shipwreck, we have a bond that others simply cannot replicate.”
Carolyn is a graduate of Malone University, and has been an actively licensed mental health counselor in the state of Ohio since 2010. The proud mother of three beautiful children, she has dedicated more than 15 years to the full-time duties of raising her family. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, following the diagnosis and treatment of a dear friend’s illness, Carolyn raised awareness for breast cancer research via the Susan G Komen 3-Day 60-mile Walk for the Cure, dedicating many months to training, fundraising, and education.

Today, she volunteers at Canton Area Intergroup Office; the local outreach for those who suffer from alcoholism. She’s an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and supports women in recovery.

Professionally, she is pursuing EMDR certification, a therapy modality specific to reprocessing trauma, and private practice with those who struggle with addictions, trauma, and suicide loss. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and anything outdoors! She and her dog Chico, and cat Hope, reside in Perry Township.

Affiliations:
Office Manager, Reese Audiology
Licensed Professional Counselor, Ohio CSWMFT Board
Alcoholics Anonymous, Member and Volunteer
Canton Area Intergroup Volunteer

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