Hi, I’m Dr. Margaret Rutherford

I have been a psychologist in private practice for over twenty years. I am just narcissistic enough to believe that I might have something fresh or funny to say about what I have learned.

Perhaps you should know a little about me.  Born and raised in southern Arkansas in the 60’s and 70’s.  My dad owned a funeral home and was a bank director.  My beautiful mother was a stay-at-home mom who was never seen without her hair and make-up done. I walked with a book on my head and took etiquette lessons from Mrs. Vashti Triplett, a widowed grande dame of the town.

If you have seen the movie “The Help”, that was my life.  Although I was surrounded by many wonderful people, I knew something was wrong.  When I was 9, I pleaded with my mother to not rehire our babysitter Mrs. Reed because she mistreated our maid Ernestine.

I loved Ernestine. I had taught her to dial a phone and write her name.  She had taught me to make hushpuppies.

Mrs. Reed was not rehired.

When I was sixteen, I was expected me to be a debutante and come out to society. My response?

“Mother, I am already out”.

My father was secretly relieved.  Mom didn’t push.

I came to Psychology in a bit of a strange way. I became a jingle singer in Dallas, Texas, singing radio and TV commercials in studios. But I also worked in nightclubs. First some really, really bad rock n’roll, where I mostly jumped up and down a lot, had big 80’s hair and gigantic shoulder pads. I switched to jazz, which was both good for my wallet and the audience.

During my off time, I volunteered at the Dallas battered women’s shelter.  I became their volunteer coordinator/trainer for a couple of years. Then I heard about a strange thing called “Music Therapy,” thanks to a bass player named Ivan.  Got a degree in that, which led me to Clinical Psychology.  I earned my Ph.D. through UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1992 and moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas the same year.

I was married and divorced twice through all that, much to my remorse and sadness.

In 1989, I met my now husband.  We had one son thru IVF, in vitro fertilization. I remember as a child hearing of Louise, the “test-tube baby”.

How ironic I should end with my own petri dish miracle.

Both of those gentlemen have brought me incredible experiences of love and lots of laughter.

My son is one of these!

We come to August of 2012.

That son left for college.  I began dealing with what others had called empty nest.  I didn’t find it a continuous feeling. It was more like a headache or a stomachache. It came and went.

Pondering how I could cope with such a monstrous transition in my life was a bit daunting.  Valium?  Not a great option… a benzodiazepine addiction is something I wanted to avoid. Long satisfying chats with my husband about the meaning of life and the complexity of intimate relationships?… highly unlikely.

I  decided to write. To blog. I called this feeling “NestAche.”

Simultaneously, I was challenged by a psychologist/friend of mine  to think about why I still was so passionate about what I do – about why I wasn’t burned out.  So I interspersed some of that writing with stories about therapy.

It was time to grow out of NestAche.com. In April of 2014, I launched Dr. Margaret Rutherford.com.

I told my son I was over missing him.

I’m the Mental Health columnist for the online magazine Midlife Boulevard, and a featured contributor to the Huffington Post, The Gottman Blog, Psych Central, The Good Men Project, BlogHer, BetterAfter50, and Arkansas Women Bloggers.  I have written an ebook, “Seven Commandments of Good Therapy,” which is about the basics anyone can expect out of a  therapist and a guide on how to select one, which is available for free with a subscription here. You can also listen in to SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford!

So, welcome. I appreciate you being here. I hope my words, either through posts or the podcast, can help you in some way. And I’d love your comments and questions through email, askdrmargaret@

We can all learn from each other’s wisdom.