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          My Approach & Experience
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profile on Joan Rieger

We face each other, we look each other in the eye, and there is a relationship between us that is sacred.

My personal philosophy is rooted in Gestalt, Family Systems, Emotional Development, and Transpersonal theories. My approach is relationship based and experiential; meaning healing occurs by being in relationship with all aspects of yourself, and being willing to fully experience (feel) whatever is happening. Whether I am working with individuals, couples, or families, I begin by having people move beyond the intellectual understanding of the issue and into contact with what they are feeling, both within themselves and in relationship with another, no matter what emotion is being experienced. From there, both the unfinished business and all the resources people need for healthy, harmonious relationships begins to be revealed and worked with. The goal is for people to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, while at the same time, learn to accept, value, and have compassion for themselves.

I help clients focus on personal responsibility vs. blame, choice vs. reaction, and health and wholeness versus pathology and illness. I embrace the entirety of an individuals experience; honoring the mind-body-spirit connection and helping clients remember the importance of living in balance.

As human beings, we need each other to heal and grow; to form healthy relationships and connect with each other. Many of our wounds occurred in relationship with others, usually with those closest to us; therefore, healing also needs to occur in relationship with others. I create an environment that allows for a safe emergence and expression of emotions, such as anger, grief, fear, joy, pleasure, etc., while maintaining contact and being in relationship with another. Clients are guided to become aware of thoughts, feelings, and sensations and to investigate if there is congruency with what they are thinking, feeling, and doing. Awareness of one's process plus emotional expression leads to integration and completion of a clients unfinished business. Clients are encouraged to explore the roots of behavior and to take responsibility for creating choices and change.

Experience and References

I received my B. A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of Michigan (1990), and my Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University (2001) in Boulder, Colorado. I am also a certified Gestalt therapist from the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies, and trained in EMDR.

Currently I am teaching Gestalt at Naropa University.  It is a core class in the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Masters program at Naropa

. On-line References
Psychology Today
Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies
Naropa University Counseling Center
Colorado Kids
Michigan Women's Basketball Alumni Directory of All Time Letterwinners

I have over 10 years experience working with individuals, couples, and families dealing with matters such as depression, conflict, anger, abuse, trauma, grief, loss, addictive behaviors, body image and eating disorders, anxiety, major transitions, and relationship issues. I was an administrator and family therapist for a nationally known wilderness therapy program for at-risk teenagers for about 3 years. I also have over 10 years of corporate experience in business planning and development, and I can help clients with work performance or career satisfaction issues, and consult with businesses on strategy, organizational effectiveness, and structure. I was a college athlete on the University of Michigan Women's Basketball Team, plus trained and completed the Boulder Backroads marathon in 2001. I have experience in improving athletic performance by working through psychological issues that affect performance.

©Joan Rieger. All rights reserved.