Virginia Runko , PhD, CBSM

Psychologist, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist


Washington, D.C.

Ages Treated


Practice Philosophy:

Virginia Runko, PhD, CBSM is a psychologist and certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist who conducts therapy with her open and non-judgmental nature allowing her patients to feel comfortable and at ease during their work together. She uses a collaborative coaching style that helps patients achieve their goals which involves her not only being understanding but having to at times provide challenges to help nudge them in the direction they want to go. And as a full-time psychologist, wife, and mom of two young children, Dr. Runko knows all too well the importance of balance – of both pushing yourself but also giving yourself a break! When appropriate, Dr. Runko also offers education and information to her patients about diagnoses and treatment approaches because, as she strongly believes, “knowledge is power!”

Areas of Expertise:

Dr. Runko provides supportive psychotherapy, conducts Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and incorporates elements of mindfulness for a variety of conditions including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and sleeping problems in adults, including college students. She also provides treatment for those dealing with relationship or adjustment issues. Dr. Runko has a special interest in sleep and roughly half of her patients come to her for insomnia treatment. She treats these patients using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) which is recommended as the first-line treatment of insomnia – even before sleeping pills – by reputable scientific organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American College of Physicians. Besides insomnia, Dr. Runko assesses for the full spectrum of sleep disorders and, depending on this evaluation, provides her patients guidance for what other work-up or treatment might help. She also enthusiastically gives community talks and trains other clinicians who are interested in sleep disorders with the hopes that her knowledge and experience can have an impact on people outside of her therapy office, too.

Experience and Training:

Dr. Runko earned her BS in Psychology from Indiana University (GPA = 4.0), and her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Health Psychology from the University of Miami in 2011 (GPA = 4.0). Her interest for sleep quickly developed during her first time working in this field which was during her PhD training at the Miami Veterans Affairs sleep clinic. Thereafter, she aggressively sought further sleep training and completed an accredited postdoctoral behavioral sleep medicine program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she became board-certified in behavioral sleep medicine on 2012. She conducted her behavioral sleep medicine work as the only psychologist in sleep clinics before joining the Ross Center full-time in 2014 where she has been fortunate enough to not only continue her work in sleep but where she can also fulfill her passion for helping those struggling with other issues besides or in addition to sleep. Indeed, the foundation for all her professional work – sleep or otherwise – is built from working with patients presenting with varying conditions and life circumstances. Dr. Runko values and embraces the uniqueness of each person’s situation and working together to find ways to help.

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