Dolores (Dee) Krieger (1921-2019)

Guardian of the Discipline

Dolores (Dee) Krieger, RN, PhD, was a professor emeritus in what was the Division of Nursing at New York University (NYU) in New York City, when she retired.

Dee was born in Paterson, New Jersey, not far from New York City. She earned a diploma in nursing at the Westchester School of Nursing at Grasslands Hospital in Westchester, NY, and baccalaureate, master’s and PhD degrees in nursing at NYU. She was residing near Columbia Falls, Montana, at the time of her death.

Dee taught at NYU for many years, where “she developed innovative curricula. Her graduate course, Frontiers in Nursing, became a model for many other groundbreaking classes in the field of healing” (Therapeutic Touch International Association [TTIA], 2019).

Dee clearly lived the life of a Guardian of the Discipline, especially with her commitment to advancing the innovative non-invasive modality of Therapeutic Touch (TT). Indeed, Dee is best known for her co-founding, with Dora Van Gelder Kunz, of TT, which she taught and gave workshops in at NYU for many years. “In 2010, [Dee] extended the concept of Therapeutic Touch to include the idea of Therapeutic Touch Dialogues which [were designed to explore] in depth the future consciousness of the TT process, research and theory. . . . In 1979, [Dee] established Nurse Healers Professional Associates (NHPA) which eventually became known as Therapeutic Touch International Association” (TTIA, 2019).

Dee “traveled internationally as a teacher and speaker and her many books have been translated into at least nine languages. Thousands of people spread around the world have learned to practice and teach Therapeutic Touch . . . to bring this compassionate work to those in need. Her work is carried on by a cadre of professionals who will extend Therapeutic Touch into the future both theoretically and in everyday healing interactions” (TTIA, 2019). Barrett (2003) pointed out that Dee had taught TT to “48,000 professionals and numerous laypersons.” Barrett (2003) added, “Aside from Florence Nightingale, probably more people recognize the name Dolores Krieger than that of any other nurse throughout history. Her first book on TT is in its 37th printing, and she has written 4 more books on TT.

Dee received many awards for her teaching and TT work, including a Distinguished Alumni Award from NYU (1982) “and the Alice and Elmer Green Award for Excellence from the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine in 1997” (TTIA, 2019). Another award, for holistic healing, was bestowed in 2003 by the Open Center. On that occasion, Barrett (2003) commented  that Dee’s “pioneering work in [TT] has had a profound impact on the practice of healthcare worldwide. Through her lectures, workshops, and writing over the past [2.5] decades, she has helped to bring holistic healing into the mainstream.” The Open Center award is especially noteworthy, as it was “the first award [given] to a nurse and [the Open Center’s] first award in holistic healing” (Barrett, 2003).

However, being an innovator rarely is without challenges from the mainstream. Indeed, as Barrett (2003) indicated, Dee had “withstood political slings and arrows with courageous perseverance. She recently reminded me that she simply responds to misinformation, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding about [TT] with that powerful ally the truth.”

Despite the challenges, Dee’s work has had a substantial impact on healthcare in general and nursology in particular. That impact is evident in the results of a recent search of the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), which revealed the vast reach of Dee’s work (see Table).


References

Barrett, E. A. M. (2003, April 6). Introduction of Dolores Krieger on the occasion of receipt of an award for holistic healing from the Open Center. (Personal communication to J. Fawcett, August 3, 2019.)

Therapeutic Touch International Association. (2019). Dr. Dolores “Dee” Krieger: Obituary. Retrieved from http://therapeutictouch.org/

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