February 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | Interviewed by Kathryn R. Burke ]

Amiessa Dawn Jutten is a woman of indomitable spirit and a giving heart. Her background helps her provide compassionate counseling and psychotherapy to a diverse group of clients in our community. This year, she is expanding her practice to include group counseling, workshops, and community education on topics such as wellness, connection, balance, and growth during complicated times.

KRB. What made you go into social work?

ADJ. The social work field has been a calling for me for many years. This career path is a culmination of all my life experiences coming together to create this personal journey for bringing healing to those who are struggling, and to bring wellness and growth to those who want to deepen their lives in this world.

As a child, I grew up in an impoverished community in East Texas. I have endured the pain of bullying, the struggles and gifts of being a single parent, challenging life changes, and the grief associated with the death of loved ones. I have worked to grow from my own life challenges. In my daily life, I am continually touched by the elements of human existence. I am surrounded with questions of meaning and purpose, with the beauty of life and the pains of grief, and with a mix of future dreams, past memories, and gratitude for the present moment.

KRB. How would you describe your work?

ADJ. I view individual work in two forms: short-term counseling and individual psychotherapy. Short-term counseling includes therapeutic work toward goals related to specific incidents or situations. Individual psychotherapy provides an opportunity to explore the life situation and gain a deeper understanding of how emotions, thoughts, and behaviors interact within the life experience.

My client-centered work may look different for each individual client, depending on their interests and goals. I incorporate mindfulness, sand tray work, grief work, labyrinth exercises, therapeutic nature exercises, gratitude exercises, nutritional psychology, Dignity Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy, and more. My clients include teens, parents, families, and adults of all ages who hope to grow through challenging times and changes. I also work with people who are experiencing grief or anticipatory grief related to death or other significant loss.

KRB. You call your practice, “The Dawn Goddess.” That’s an unusual name—how and why did you choose it?

ADJ. Dawn is my middle name. Dawn is the beginning of a new day, when sunlight returns to the sky bringing warmth and renewal to the earth. The “dawn goddess” has existed throughout time in many mythologies and belief systems as a bringer of hope and light from the darkness. I bring that philosophy and energy forth in my practice to walk with people in their journeys to find inner light, hope, strength, balance, and growth in times of challenge.

KRB. Where did you study and complete your internship?

ADJ  I received my Bachelors in Psychology from Colorado Mesa University and then earned my Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Colorado State University,

participating in a part-time, distance program, in which I commuted to the Front Range monthly for three years for classes. I chose this route in order to keep raising my three children in the beautiful Montrose community that we call home. Post MSW, I obtained my licensure from the State of Colorado as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

My field placement work was through Montrose County, where I completed hours in child protective services and public health working with local families. The children truly touched my heart.

There is a special place in my heart for working with teens who are growing through that amazing human transition from child to adult. This time in life can often be complex, with experiences related to daily life, developing unique identities, gaining independence, and discovering who we authentically are as human beings.

KRB. I met you when you were working with hospice. How has that impacted your practice?

ADJ. I worked in a local hospice for several years, providing anticipatory grief work to hospice and palliative care patients who were facing death and helping their family members through times of grief and growth. I also provided individual grief counseling and group work for those who were grieving the deaths of meaningful people in their lives. Working in the hospice field not only informed my practice, but my whole life.  I have learned to live each day to the best possible extent and to more deeply appreciate the opportunities that we are given.  I bring that part of myself into each session with clients.

KRB. What do you find most satisfying about your work?

ADJ. It is an honor to walk beside people on their life journeys. I believe we each hold the answers to our own challenges deep within ourselves, and I am grateful to be able to help guide people to discover these internal strengths.

This opportunity to live as human beings on planet Earth is a beautiful gift. We are able to travel along our individual life paths, engaging in unique experiences, while still sharing many commonalities with others. The mind, body, heart, and spirit within us are connected in this human life, and they don’t always agree with each other. Challenges come along on a regular basis, often creating disruptions in our daily balance. Our resiliency and coping abilities affect how we handle these obstacles that jump out onto our life paths. We may experience changes in thought, cognitive processing, emotion, and physical health. We may even find ourselves in a place of existential questioning and inner turmoil. We may experience difficulties in relationships with others.

While these challenging disruptions can lead to significant distress in our lives, they can also provide us with great opportunities for growth. We can nurture this connection between mind, body, heart, and spirit. We can discover our own inner strength, light, harmony, and hope. And we can realize the potential of our authentic, true selves.

KRB. You recently opened a new office. Where is it and what kind of insurance do you accept?

ADJ. My office is at 1010 South Cascade, Suite E. It’s across from the Pomona School, and I’m down at the end of the long row on the northwest corner of the building. I accept private pay clients along with some insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare Part B. I am also a provider for Triad EAP. I share the space with therapist, Penny Harris, and we have room for group sessions as well as individual counseling. To learn more or make an appointment (no drop-ins please), please visit my website, or call 970-465-2714.