Irene B. Kraegel
BA, Wheaton College, Sociology, 1995
PsyD, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Clinical Psychology, 2003
As the director of the Center for Counseling and Wellness, I have a keen interest in supporting emotional flourishing for students during their time at Calvin University. This is based on a lifetime of personal and professional growth that has led me to believe that every individual is equipped to face the challenges of life through their own unique set of strengths and resources. Nurturing these God-given resources is what we're all about at our center.
My own path toward a helping profession began early in life, when frequent moves around the United States nurtured an interest and adaptability to different cultures and experiences. As a result of these early exposures, I love to experience new things, and I embrace the beautiful diversity within the world God has created. I have spent time living in Uganda on two separate occasions – both as an undergraduate student and a graduate student – and I expected my career path after college to lead into International Development. To my surprise, I had difficulty finding a vocational fit within this field, and I became drawn to the field of psychology through an exploration of my skill set and interests that occurred three years after college graduation. This led me to attend graduate school in psychology, where I discovered a sense of counseling as a true calling.
I enjoy being in nature, drinking coffee, eating ice cream, reading, playing/singing music and spending time with my husband and son. I ride the bus or bike to work whenever I can, and I believe strongly in supporting the thriving of local communities. Keeping my carbon footprint small is important to me (so don't be alarmed if you see me working in my office with the lights off...) Also, I love my job!
During my first four years out of college, I worked with a not-for-profit organization providing microloans to women in the developing world, while also teaching violin lessons on the side. After entering graduate school in psychology, I trained in several professional settings, including as a school counselor, an assessment specialist for children, an outpatient counselor and a psychiatric inpatient counselor. I completed my doctorate degree in psychology and subsequently worked in community mental health and then in private practice. I began working at the Center for Counseling and Wellness in 2009 as a psychologist. I served as the interim director of the center during the 2014-15 academic year, and stepped into the permanent director role in 2016. I enjoy incorporating my clinical insights and experiences into an administrative role, with a focus on supporting a culture of flourishing at Calvin University. I am currently licensed as a psychologist in the state of Michigan.
I am passionate about the integration of mindfulness meditation and Christian faith, with a book on the subject (The Mindful Christian: Cultivating a Life of Intentionality, Openness, and Faith) and a blog at www.TheMindfulChristian.com. I also provide training and workshops for churches and other groups interested in strengthening understanding of mental health and mindfulness practices, and I provide supervision for clinicians working toward licensure.
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