By New Mexico Mental Health Counselors Association Member Paul Fornell
Dr. Krieger, a past president of the New Mexico Counseling Association, the New Mexico Clinical Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association, passed away on February 10, 2017 at age 78 after a long and valiant battle with cancer. He kept his humanity, humility and sense of humor till the end.
Bill was incredibly passionate about his love for life, people and the profession of counseling. In addition to being a founding member of the New Mexico Mental Health Counselors Association he was outspoken and fully committed to all professional counselors. He often said that there is no “career counselor” profession, or “school counselor” profession, or “clinical mental health counselor” profession – there is only the counseling profession (and, then we may decide to specialize in a specific area – similar to doctors and other professionals.)
Bill was an advocate for professional counselors to be caring, competent and committed! He felt that too often professional counselors maybe relied on just 1 or 2 of these “C’s”, but that real professional counselors demonstrated on a consistent basis all 3. He also spoke often of his mentor and the founding father of professional counseling in New Mexico, Dr. George Keppers. One thing about Dr. Keppers that Bill liked to refer to frequently was a plaque that George had on his desk at UNM that read; “neither to condemn nor condone.” So, lots of powerful “C’s” from Bill and George and all of them vital to our identity as professional counselors.
Dr. Krieger was one of the first clinical mental health counselors in New Mexico to open a private practice and faced aggressive push-back from other mental health professionals who would publically tell counselors that they could not, should not, and never will be able to have an independent license to practice. The passage of the Counseling and Therapy Practice Act in 1993 was in large part the culmination of the battle that Bill and other pioneering professional counselors had waged through the ‘70’s and 80’s.
In addition to his helping found the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the New Mexico Mental Health Counselors Association, Bill was also instrumental in developing the National Academy for Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors – he held certificate # 1
. The exam used today nationally (the NCMHCE exam) was originally the Academy exam.
Dr. Krieger was the founder of The Enhancement Model which was an early and significant contribution to the theoretical foundation of professional counseling. He believed that all people who helped others were “Enhancers” and that these skilled helpers assisted the people they worked with to become even more effective than they already were. He often said that people weren’t ineffective, but rather they sometimes did ineffective things. If you are interested in learning more about The Enhancement Model you find information about it at: http://www.enhancenet.org/index.html
Dr. Krieger, we thank you for your passion and guidance to the hundreds of professional counselors in New Mexico and across the country who you touched. If you would like to honor Dr. Krieger’s memory and legacy, continue to serve others with caring, competence and commitment – Bill would be most pleased.