Meet Our Newest Provider: Rod Dunlap, M.A., IMFT

RWPS is excited to welcome Rod Dunlap, M.A., IMFT to our team. He comes to us with a wealth of experience in ministry and a passion for the Catholic faith, especially Theology of the Body. He will be seeing patients at our headquarters on the West side of Cincinnati. Rod took some time to introduce himself to our community through a little get-to-know-you Q & A.

Q:  Tell us a bit about yourself. 

My name is Rod Dunlap, and I was born and raised here in Cincinnati, OH. I graduated from Moeller High School and went on to Ohio University where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Sports Science. From there, I moved to Cleveland where I worked for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team for a season. It was during this time that I felt the Lord calling me to do something “more.” The idea of working for sports teams for a living felt like I was wasting the talents and gifts with which I had been blessed. I moved back to Cincinnati and took a job as a counselor at a group home for at-risk kids called Boys Hope, Girls Hope.

I spent almost seven years there, and it was during this time that I really encountered the Lord for the first time through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. His mercy was and continues to be so powerful to me. I told him during this time that I would spend my life serving Him and “working” for Him. Shortly after this awesome experience, I began a graduate program at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Religious Studies. After two years, I graduated with my M.A. in Religious Studies, and a week after that, I got married to my amazing wife Maria!

A year later, I got my first job in ministry as a youth minister at St. John the Baptist parish in Colerain. I spent four years there creating a junior high, high school, and young adult ministry programs. It was during my time as a youth minister that the Lord showed me so many people who were suffering and needed a path to healing. I soon began my journey to get my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. I was excited to begin this journey that would last 6 years. While working my way through clinical training, the Lord had more for in store for me in ministry and called me to work for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, first in Sports Ministry then as the Coordinator for the Anti-Pornography initiative.

I finally graduated in 2021 with my M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and shortly after became licensed in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. I began working for a private practice in Kentucky called Positive Pathways in Dec. 2021 up until I was invited to join the team here at Ruah Woods. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to allowing the Lord to use me as his hands and feet to provide healing to those in need in our community.

Maria and I have been married 11 years now, and the Lord has blessed us with 8 beautiful children, one up in Heaven, and 7 at home. Our faith is the foundation for everything we do. The Lord has been at our side through all the ups and downs, and we continue to go to Him with everything, submitting ourselves daily to His plan for our lives.

Q:  What inspired you to become a therapist?

I was inspired to become a therapist through a variety of factors. First off, people have told me throughout my adult life that I was a good listener, which is a huge requirement for an effective therapist. Secondly, for a long time I had an image of sitting in an office and people coming to me for help or guidance. I believe the Lord was putting this image on my heart. It wasn’t until my wife finally told me that it was time to start doing something about it that I took steps to make it a reality. And lastly, I know our world is full of suffering and that so many people are struggling with mental health issues and the stresses and strains of everyday life. My desire is to help remove some of these “roadblocks” as I like to call them so that they can grow in true health and have the relationship with the Lord He is calling them to.

Q:  What exactly is a “Marriage and Family Therapist”?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) are defined by the AAMFT as “mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems.” As an MFT, I am trained to look at people’s struggles through the lens of the relationships and social structures in which the person is situated and not limit my view to merely the isolated individual. Basically, MFTs believe that the problems people bring to therapy do not emanate solely from within them but are often symptoms of the relationships they have with other people.

Q:  What types of patients and difficulties do you treat?

I provide individual, marital, and family therapy. I feel quite comfortable working with children, adolescents, and adults struggling with a wide range of issues including depression and anxiety problems, trauma and abuse, childbearing loss, OCD & scrupulosity, pornography addiction, relationship issues, marital strain, parenting challenges, family of origin wounds, attachment problems, and the like.

Q:  What role does your Catholic faith play in your work?

My faith is the foundation of all that I do including my work as a therapist. Every day before work, I ask the Lord to use me as His hands and feet and to let the Holy Spirit speak through me to the patients that I see. I pray also for my patients that their hearts will be open each session so that they can be a willing participant in the healing process. I believe that healing can happen in many ways, and therapy is one of them. I am very humbled that the Lord has called on me to help others find healing and peace.

Q:  What do you like to do for fun?

I really enjoy spending time with my wife and our seven kids. Our life gets pretty hectic at times, so it is great to just hang out with them. I also enjoy swimming, hiking, camping, fishing, watching sports (live or in person), good movies, and playing golf.

To learn more or to make an appointment with Rod, please call 513-407-8878.  

“Called to Freedom: Healing Our Wounds with Theology of the Body.”

Ruah Woods Luncheon Banquet/Fundraiser this year in May was a big success! Our keynote speaker, Dr. Matthew Breuninger delivered an insightful, stirring keynote address, “Called to Freedom: Healing Our Wounds with Theology of the Body.”

Dr. Matthew Breuninger is an associate professor of psychology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He earned an MA in Theology from Ave Maria University and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Baylor University. Dr. Breuninger is a licensed clinical psychologist. He is the owner of Wellspring Counseling and Coaching–a group therapy practice in Steubenville, Ohio. His clinical interests include anxiety, depression, trauma, and substance abuse. His academic interests lie at the intersection of faith and psychology and include God attachment, the theology of healing, and virtue formation. Dr. Breuninger’s first popular book, Finding Freedom in Christ: Healing Life’s Hurts will be coming out this summer with Emmaus Press. When not teaching Dr. Breuninger can be found spending time camping, fishing, or watching movies with his wife and six children.

You may view his entire 48-minute keynote here:

Damon Owens Keynote

We were incredibly blessed to have Damon Owens as our keynote speaker for our annual banquet (Fr. Riccardo was unable to attend due to sickness). He gave a brilliant address about the importance of living out Theology of the Body in our families and promoting it to the world.

RWPS Expands Northward

You spoke, and we listened.  For 10 years, Ruah Woods Psychological Services has served the greater Cincinnati-area, providing high quality psychological services deeply informed by our Catholic faith.  Almost from the start, calls have come in from individuals and families residing in the northern parts of our archdiocese such as Sidney, Dayton, Springfield, and so on, seeking our services or a referral to similar providers in those areas.  After listening to their needs and experiencing firsthand the difficulty of finding Catholic faith-informed mental healthcare, RWPS discerned a call to expand its practice to two locations so as to serve not only the Cincinnati-area but also the greater Dayton-area and the northern parts of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Beginning in July 2021, RWPS is partnering with the Transfiguration Center for Spiritual Renewal to open a satellite office on their campus located just northwest of Dayton.  According to director Ron Mills, “The mission of the Transfiguration Center is to help people encounter the living God through the beauty of nature, the peace of prayer and the richness of the Catholic spiritual tradition.” 

As Mills explained, “Our staff and board recognize a need in the local community and society in general for sound mental health services with an appreciation for an individual’s sense of faith. We believe this can serve the development of the whole person from not only a spiritual aspect but also from a mental health perspective, which is necessary, complementary and extremely important.”

The initiative to partner with RWPS was especially spurred by Fr. Eric Bowman, pastor of the Church of the Transfiguration in West Milton, who regularly encounters the need for faithfully Catholic mental health providers in his priestly ministry.  “We were inspired to partner with Ruah Woods because of the great need in our surrounding area for a strong Catholic counseling service and the successful program at Ruah Woods,” he affirmed.

RWPS is excited to collaborate with the Transfiguration Center to meet these needs.  Our newest provider, Alex Wallace, will be championing this project.  He is a licensed clinical counselor and ardent Catholic.  When asked what inspired him to join the RWPS team, Wallace shared, “I have long desired to be a resource for the Church and I greatly value what has been accomplished by Ruah Woods in that regard. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I discerned that it would be more effective to bring my talents, education, training, and passion alongside those who are already doing the work I feel called to do.”   

Based at the Transfiguration Center, Wallace will serve the mental health needs of the greater Dayton area full-time.  “I am extremely excited about this opportunity to bring counseling services to the area so that I can help people on their journey while upholding what is true, good, and beautiful,”  Wallace said. 

According to Fr. Bowman, “The Transfiguration Center is a wonderful place for Catholic faith informed mental health services for several reasons.  The first is location.  The Transfiguration center is located just 35 minutes from downtown Dayton, 40 minutes from Springfield, 30 minutes from Sidney.  The second reason is the grounds of our facility.”  As Mills explained, the Center is situated “on 173 acres of beautiful Ohio countryside” replete with “beautiful gardens, a goldfish pond, a reflection pond, and miles of walking trails near the scenic Stillwater River.”  “There is an immediate sense of peace…  That has always been one of the things people frequently comment about, so it is a wonderful refuge for anyone seeking a calm and quiet atmosphere to unplug and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life,” he added.

Everyone at RWPS is overjoyed to announce this collaboration and the opening of the Dayton-area satellite office led by Mr. Wallace. Now with two locations, RWPS is poised to serve the needs of the entire Archdiocese, from Cincinnati to Dayton and beyond. Please join with the staff and board of RWPS and of the Transfiguration Center in welcoming Mr. Wallace, spreading the word, and praying for all involved as we endeavor to empower men and women to more fully embrace and live out their vocation to love according to God’s plan.

For more information or to make an appointment at either of location, call 513-407-8878.

Meet Alex Wallace, M.A., LPCC