ELLEN RONKA, LCMHC
ELLEN RONKA, LCMHC
Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve found your way here. I am a holistically-minded psychotherapist in private practice in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire and I’m passionate about facilitating growth in my clients. I invite you to come join me on a journey toward fuller health and balance, greater connectedness and peace, deeper trust and joy… in other words, wholeness.
Compassion and safety, metaphors and stories, humor and creativity, education and movement are some of the tools I combine to help my clients feel understood, heal, and then grow. I adjust my style to what I sense a client needs as a whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
I work with a variety of issues, including all forms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and nightmares, food addiction, relationship problems, traumatic experiences, and a history of childhood abuse. I also specialize in helping people with the psychological components of chronic pain, illness and fatigue (including Lyme Disease and other tick-borne infections).
I have a rich background with Christian faith and practice which can be helpful for those with faith and for those who have been hurt by the church. In addition to talk therapy, I use a variety of alternative therapy approaches, including EMDR and energy-based techniques that expedite healing. Mindfulness practice and principles infuse all of my work – whether with individuals, couples, or groups. Whatever the issue, I focus on helping clients heal from the roots up.
My lilac was so sorry-looking, it wasn’t until my second summer in my new home that I even noticed her. I blamed her scraggly shape and lack of blooms on her fully shaded location and decided she had to be moved if she were going to live out her full lilac-glory.
Transplanting her was not only hard work, it revealed the other reason for her lack of thriving. Her roots were boxed in by a much older tree and the concrete underground support for a fence post! As I dug her out, I salvaged only one stubby chunk of a root. There were no guarantees she would survive such a trauma, but there was no turning back at that point.
Throughout the summer, my lilac was the topic of many conversations with my neighbors. We studied her for signs of death while I watered her religiously. She looked pitiful. The edges of her leaves turned brown, but didn’t fall off. That was a good sign, but my tree didn’t grow or change one bit – no kidding, not a single new leaf grew. And that’s just my point.
How many of you have thought the same as you’ve counted the weeks and months you or a loved one has been in therapy with no apparent progress? To all those in the peanut gallery, it can seem as if therapy, like transplanting, doesn’t help or even makes matters worse.
I’ve seen it time and again – just when even I, the therapist who should trust the counseling process, am starting to doubt if I’m helping certain clients, they seem to come alive. They start changing bad habits, thinking differently about themselves and others, feeling less anxious, and making plans to follow their dreams. It’s exhilarating to watch.
And that’s just what happened to my sad lilac tree. Come the following spring, she filled out – new leaves, new branches, and yes, even blooms!!! And surprise of surprises, my “lilac” was really a mock orange tree. Her unique little blooms were lovely and fragrant, and she was the only one of her kind in the neighborhood.
In truth, my tree didn’t just “come alive” – she had been alive all along, but the growth was happening where we could not see. So next time you’re doubting your therapy process, stop and consider: you may just be setting down your roots – roots that will support a new season of healthy expansion. You may even be surprised by what blooms you produce if you are patient enough to hang in there and keep watering.