Dr. Rivas struggled in his early education in the United States (attended 8 elementary schools), and failing out in his first year at Laney Community College. He eventually found success and earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Hayward, his Master’s degree in Counseling from San Francisco State University and his Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Development Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
As a professional, Dr. Rivas has been a counselor, Psychology and Counseling instructor, and administrator in the community college, state university and university systems. He has also served as an organizational consultant to many student and college groups across the nation. Dr. Rivas has done extensive training in Gestalt personal development counseling at the Gestalt Institute in San Francisco.
Mario’s joy and passion is speaking with groups about the importance of individuals learning to focus on being aware of their uniqueness and potential for living a gracious, loving, respectful and joyful life with self and others. In this regard, Dr. Rivas especially enjoys assisting individuals and groups, especially ethnic minority groups, to grow beyond self-limiting personal boundaries that are learned through negative societal and/or family experiences. Dr. Rivas has had extensive training and lectures and gives demonstrations on Gestalt personal development work. He has recently published a chapter entitled Gestalt Educational Counseling, wherein he describes his method of educating students and community members about Gestalt Personal Development Work which is an offshoot of Gestalt Therapy.