November 2018 Member Spotlight – Julie Kraus, CMHC

Utah State University (USU) in Logan, Utah is where Julie obtained her undergraduate degrees, graduating with a dual major in Psychology and Social Work. The first time at USU was in the Fall, the same year she graduated from Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah. The original intention was to major in Early Childhood Education. After a year at USU, Julie married her high school sweetheart, Glen.  After having two children, Stefanie and Brian, she returned to collage at the age of 35 when the children were in middle school and high school. While doing volunteer work and facilitating a support group for women, she decided to return to college to major in psychology and social work to be able to help women even more. Julie has worked as a social worker in the hospital setting and in the Behavioral Health Unit, but the first real counseling opportunity came through working with clients with substance use and abuse disorders. She was employed as a counselor in Salt Lake City, Utah and had many interesting experiences in that capacity. Julie continued working in the area of substance use disorders at different agencies in Ogden and Logan, gaining much insight into how substances influence a person physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. A desire to treat clients with a dual diagnosis led to obtaining a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from The University of Phoenix in 2009.

Armed with the mental health degree in hand, it was time to apply the love of counseling to clients of all age groups, having a variety of diagnoses. The working of the mind was always fascinating to her and Julie wanted to learn more about it, as well as how the brain functioned. A growing curiosity and a thirst for learning more was her driving force. Having been introduced to play therapy at an agency in Ogden, Utah and learning about the Utah Play Therapy Association, toys became the new weapon of choice in her arsenal to fight for little children who were not empowered to speak and act for themselves. Play therapy is one of the loves of her life. The opportunity to help women, which was a goal for many years, also became a reality. Many traumatized women came into her offices at the various agencies she worked. Julie found innovative ways to empower women, helping them thrive, not just survive.  Julie worked as a counselor to families in crises. She worked advocating for children in Southeastern Idaho for several years.  Julie is now self-employed and is looking forward to assisting parents with their children in Cache County, Utah.