This week’s Gustie of the Week is Gustavus’ Mental Health Therapist, Aaron Geringer.
Geringer, originally from Wheatland, Wyoming, interned at Gustavus from Fall of 2016 to Spring of 2017 while in graduate school, and eventually made his way back to campus for a permanent position.
“I graduated and ended up moving to Lincoln, [Nebraska] to practice at a community mental health center. There [opened] a position on the staff at the Gustavus Counseling Center about a year later. I loved my experience working at Gustavus so much that I applied and ended up coming back,” Geringer said.
Geringer began studying at Casper College, a community college in his home state of Wyoming. Eventually, he transferred and found a love for a small school setting, similar to Gustavus.
“I…transferred to a college very similar to Gustavus called Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. This is part of why I enjoy Gustavus; I enjoyed attending a small liberal arts school, and being at Gustavus felt like I was back at home. I ended up attending graduate school in Mankato, Minnesota at Minnesota State University, Mankato,” Geringer said.
Geringer has enjoyed the combination of logical reasoning as well as the emotional side that being a therapist can allow as a career path.
“I think being a therapist uses the right parts of my mind that I enjoy using. I get to use the logical, problem solving side of my thinking as well as the emotional, relational aspect of my mind,” Geringer said. He also has enjoyed the growth and difficulty that people can overcome. “It is incredibly rewarding to be able to witness growth and see how humans are capable of overcoming adversity. I also appreciate that I can have an impact on helping the overall issues of mental health that our world continues to struggle with,” Geringer said.
Geringer also touched on the idea of working with students at the college level as a crucial time in their lives.
“I think that the college ages are the most interesting developmental periods in a person’s life. I enjoy being able to witness how a person navigates these as they are separating from their family systems. And seeing students pursue their passions is inspiring. I also work with an incredible staff at the Counseling Center and they make this job so much more rewarding,” Geringer said.
Geringer is a beloved coworker and is admired by his colleagues in the Counseling Center.
“Aaron is the epitome of calm and care. As a therapist and friend he approaches people from a genuine place of non-judgment and authentic kindness. He works hard daily for this community, often volunteering to add additional people and/or tasks to his day to be of service. He is currently working with a number of really important and impactful programs on campus including Reconciliation and Interfaith groups. He leads the Queer and Questioning Support Group and meditation Wednesdays in the Multifaith Space,” Director in the Counseling Center Hannah Godbout said.
He also is admired for the help that he provides students.
“Aaron works tirelessly to not only help students manage the rigors of college and personal life, but to grow and thrive. He has incredible empathy and care for our campus and is always pushing himself to grow as a clinician,” Staff psychologist in the Counseling Center Jennifer Ehalt said.
According to his co-workers, Geringer is humorous, generous and is a joy to work with.
“He has a beautifully dry and witty sense of humor, is a lover of nature and animals, and has the best quotes in his office. He is such a solid dependable person, and has an immense amount of wisdom. Plus he bakes delicious breakfast treats,” Godbout said.
Another co-worker of his, Mental Health Therapist in the Counseling Center Alyssa Baker said that Geringer puts his all into work, even outside of the Counseling Center.
“Aaron consistently goes beyond what is expected to ensure his co-workers, clients, and our student workers are well supported and he does an amazing job of infusing laughter and fun into everyone’s day. He is actively involved outside of the Counseling Center in groups he is passionate about such as the Reconciliation committee, Student Life committees, he leads guided meditations twice a month, and facilitates the support group Queer and Questioning every week,” Baker said.