Jane Rheineck, associate professor of counseling, considered the possibility of entering the mental health field ever since she was an adolescent. However, she took some time off from completing her degree that delayed her entry into the profession.
“I got diverted,” she explained. “I dropped out of college, and worked in a variety of different places until I literally woke up one day and had an epiphany. I decided to finish my college degree. My parents, who had college degrees, inspired me.”
Rheineck then proceeded to finish her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders, but it was not until graduate school that she became interested in counselor education. “I took a class on death and dying, which was related to what I was dealing with at the time,” she said. “My father was already ill, and I was benefitting from the learning experiences and what we were talking about in class because I was facing the same issues.”
Rheineck, who was one of her father’s caretakers at the time, realized during the course that one of her passions was helping others who were dealing with death and loss and also the healthcare system. “The lack of support is what drove me to the profession. It was then I decided to become a licensed mental health counselor,” Rheineck said.
Rheineck added that she also wanted to work with the LGBT community, an underserved, highly neglected population in the mental health field.
Rheineck, who then became a licensed clinical professional counselor and a national certified counselor, started connecting the dots between the counseling and teaching. “I soon realized I wanted to teach those who would be counseling,” she explained.
In pursuit of more intellectual rigor and new leadership opportunities, Rheineck earned her Ph.D. in counselor education (CACREP) at the University of Arkansas where she immediately started working alongside faculty on the teaching part of the profession.
“I love the intellectual rigor and the challenge of being a professor, and being a leader in the counseling profession,” she said. “One of the most rewarding parts about teaching is watching the personal growth our students go through — especially the helping piece of being a professor,” Rheineck added.
Rheineck not only teaches classes in counseling ethics, clinical skills, and LGBT issues, but she also serves as the Counselor Education and Supervision program coordinator for the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education (CAHE). She holds numerous leadership positions at the national level; her most recent position is president of the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling, a division of the American Counseling Association.
In Rheineck’s free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, watching sports, and spending time with her partner, Anne.