Marla K. Ruhana, Psychotherapist

Women's Renewal Retreats

5 QUESTIONS WITH ...

St. Clair Shores therapist organizes retreats
Women gather to bond, recharge

May 6, 2007

BY KIM NORTH SHINE
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Too often -- Marla Ruhana says -- women move through marriage, children, careers and milestones and let relationships with other women slip from their priorities.

If only they knew that nurturing relationships with friends, mothers and other female role models can improve all of life's endeavors, says Ruhana, 40, a St. Clair Shores psychotherapist.

With that in mind, Ruhana has designed retreats, where experts speak and women are pampered between bonding and cleansing exercises such as native drumming, a burning of negative feelings, beach walking, meditation and more.

Last weekend, a group of about 20 women, ages 18 to 68, attended Ruhana's second retreat in two years. The mother-daughter retreat was an early Mother's Day gift for many, says Ruhana.

They gathered at a 3,600-square-foot luxury log home in Lexington on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron.

Ruhana's next retreat is Oct. 5-7 at the same place. The theme for the retreat will be "Women and Friendship ... A Healing Experience." The cost is the same, $475.

"I really want to spread the word about this," she says. "We have nothing like this in this area, and women really need it."

QUESTION: Where did you come up with the idea for retreats?

ANSWER: Last year, my family spent a weekend at the retreat house, and it was just amazing. A few days later, a new patient who had moved to Grosse Pointe from New York City was crying and struggling to make friends. She said 'Where do women in Detroit go for community, to bond?' I thought this house would be the perfect place to bring women together ...where they could replenish and rejuvenate.

Q: Why is that important?

A: Women should engage in better self-care so they can care for their families. ... How can we care for our families if we're not taking good care of ourselves?

Q: Did it get pretty emotional?

A: Oh yeah. At first people are sort of guarded ... The emotions sort of vacillate ... Some women were just sobbing, bawling. ... Other times they're laughing, making friends. My goal is to create a safe space that's accepting, non-judgmental and cohesive so that everyone can relate to one another all weekend.

Q: Did you get something out of the retreat too?

A: Absolutely. I mean it just reinforces my passion even more so and reminds me that this is God's calling for me ... I would really like to facilitate retreats monthly.

Q: Not to stereotype, but do you think you could interest men in this touchy-feely sort of thing?

A: It is definitely a goal of mine because through my work I see that men have been taught not to express emotion. ... It's my hope to get them to do that more.

For more information, go to www.marlaruhana.com or call 586-801-4701