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Daily Inspiration: Meet Grace Ripperger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Ripperger.

Hi Grace, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I was born and raised in Norman, OK, and moved to Denver, CO in 2018 for graduate school. I got my BA in Psychology and my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Currently, I am a mental health therapist working at a group practice in Lakewood, CO. I specialize in working with couples and Highly Sensitive individuals. I’ve always seen myself as a helper. – when I was five years old, I dressed up as a doctor for Halloween because I wanted to be a pediatrician when I grew up. However, I quickly realized I was too squeamish to handle blood and needles. I believe it is my purpose to teach, inspire, and guide others in their healing journeys through yoga, spirituality, breathwork, mindfulness, and experiential therapy. Throughout my life, I always felt like there was something different about me, but I couldn’t identify it. in 2021, I went to see a therapist and within the first ten minutes, she placed two books on the coffee table between us: “Awakened Empath by Luna and Sol and “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aaron, PhD. This completely transformed how I saw myself and the world – I’ve never felt as seen and accepted as I did in that moment. Instead of believing there is something wrong with me, I’m learning to embrace my difference and gifts. I hope to be that therapist for other people who felt similarly lost and confused as I did.

I’ve always been a passionate, active person. I danced ballet from the age of 4 to 18. In 2014, I completed a half marathon the day after my senior prom – that was the first and last one I will ever do. In 2016, I nationally qualified as an NPC bikini competitor. I stopped my bodybuilding journey there when I realized it was an unhealthy, toxic environment for me and my morals guided me out of it. Only recently, have I learned the value of rest and treating my body and mind kindly. I wouldn’t have the mindset I do today without these experiences because my body made sure I knew I needed to slow down. I recently found yoga again and am working on yoga teacher training. Currently, I’m embracing my feminine energy to come back into balance. I believe yoga is a lifestyle and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I want to start off by recognizing my privilege. I have been blessed with many opportunities that others are not afforded such as living in a white, upper-middle-class household and not having to work throughout the school to pay my bills. Not once have I worried about not having my basic needs yet. I do not forget the value in that and I am grateful to my family for paving the way for me to go after my goals and dreams. That being said, there have definitely been challenges along the way. For me, the biggest challenge was my lack of self-confidence and my tendency to repeat patterns that, while once were adaptive, became more harmful than not. I’ve always struggled with valuing myself and risking putting myself out there. As a kid, I was so shy that I couldn’t go into the grocery store by myself to pick up a pack of gum.

When I was in graduate school, I didn’t understand my worth and constantly held myself back by not being proactive and living up to my full potential. As a result, I accepted an internship that was not at all a good fit for me. All of my insecurities came to the surface. My biggest fears of appearing cold, irresponsible, and unstable were essentially confirmed by a supervisor I had. This led me to dig deeper into my past, family dynamics, and limiting beliefs. I cried almost every day during this time and found myself in all sorts of unhealthy relationships. I always thought I was wise and mature when really I was stuck in an adaptive child response playing a parentified role. I believe I was meant to help others, but there is a part of me that finds my self-worth through “fixing” others and acting as a caretaker. It has taken a lot of inner work to understand the difference and show up in a way that is truly helpful to my loved ones and clients.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a mental health therapist working at a group practice. I specialize in helping individuals and couples break through their limiting beliefs and old stories they tell themselves to realize their full potential. I love working with couples to normalize conflict in relationships, teach them to show up in a way that gets their needs met, and provide empathy to their partners through seeing the wounds underneath. We all just want to be seen, heard, accepted, and loved. I also specialize in helping Highly Sensitive People understand their sensitivity and the gifts that come with it. I have training in Internal Family Systems (IFS), Brainspotting, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing. I am known for my gentle, warm, and inviting energy. I wholeheartedly believe in energy transfer and do my best to ground, light sage, and stay in my self-energy to provide a calm and inviting space for clients. I believe my softness paves the way for me to have the uncomfortable conversations. Because I do show up in such a gentle way, I believe that allows me to tell the hard truths when it’s useful. My biggest strength is my intuition and I let that be my guide. Our practice is known for doing things differently and breaking out of the molds. While I always stay within the ethical guidelines and my scope of practice, I’m not afraid to go rogue and twist things up a bit. I am flexible and creative, which leads to so many cool realizations and breakthroughs.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
My advice is to be unapologetically yourself, be present, and continue to learn and grow. Learn the difference between belonging and fitting in, that vulnerability is a strength (thank you, Brene Brown). Understand what success means to you and break out of the standard American way of living. Living mindfully is the best decision I have ever made and I’ve come to understand the difference between challenging myself in a loving way and challenging myself in a way that leads to burnout, exhaustion, and unfulfillment. It’s about finding your dharma, discovering what lights you up and brings you life. Nourish your body and mind in whatever way fits. To me, that’s practicing yoga, spending time in nature, reading, eating a plant-based diet, getting adequate rest, deepening my spiritual practice, and sending out positive energy. Most of all, allow yourself to make mistakes because that’s how we grow. I wish I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be perfect and that it’s ok (and realistic) to not be liked by everyone. I’ve realized that by showing up as myself, I attract the people who appreciate and love me for me. If someone doesn’t like me, it’s not personal and that’s just a sign that I’m daring to be different.

Pricing:

  • Individual Counseling $125
  • Couples Counseling $135

Contact Info:

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