The Man Behind the Hug:
Dr. Stone Kraushaar

Hugging Strangers: Living A Life That Inspires You is not a typical how-to book, nor is there anything typical about its author, Dr. Stone Kraushaar. A believer that all people share a profound human connection, and there are no strangers, Dr. Kraushaar intends not only to transform the lives of individuals but also to extend that transformation to the world.

Drawing on his academic and professional experience as a psychologist and a life coach, a nurturing and supportive family, and a passion for helping people live powerful lives, Dr. Kraushaar sees relationships through the prism of hugging. To him, a hug, whether real or virtual, is a metaphor for knocking down walls and bringing people together. He has devoted his life to developing the skills, tools, and attitudes to become a world-class hugger. A warm and affectionate person, Dr, Kraushaar is perfectly comfortable hugging complete strangers and wants to share this approach to life with everyone.

Prior to launching his coaching practice, Dr. Kraushaar spent eight years as a staff psychologist with the Student Health Services at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri. Before settling in St. Louis, he worked with children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families in a group psychological practice in Northwest Arkansas.

Dr. Kraushaar graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Denver with his BS degree and earned his master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Denver. His dissertation explored how effectively a heterosexual therapist can provide therapy for male couples. His American Psychological Association (APA)-approved psychology internship was at the UCSB Student Health Services at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He completed his post-doctoral work at Yale student health services.

What People Say About the Guy

In the midst of a book coaching session for Stone’s book, we switched roles, and he became the coach. It was unexpected and casual, but that’s what made it so effective. It was just a conversation, really, but one focused on my issue, not his book. Funny, how coaches slip so naturally into their roles. The thing about emotion is that it throws your perspective all out of whack. A good coach can diffuse those feelings and help you see your situation clearly and logically. He asks probing questions; he offers options; he summarizes what he heard, and he reminds you that you always have choices. That doesn’t sound very complicated, but it isn’t something we can do for ourselves when emotion clouds our view. That’s exactly what Stone did in our spontaneous coaching session: He helped me identify the problem, see the possible ways to solve it, and choose the one that felt right for me. That is skillful coaching.
To speak openly and honestly from a place of love about the challenges (and opportunities!) that arise in relationships – familial, romantic, platonic, work-related, and especially with ourselves – that’s what Stone holds a space for with me every time we meet, and I’m so grateful for it. Whether we’re talking about sex, sexuality, race, privilege, identity, fear, desire…I could go on…it feels like Stone is willing and ready to both listen and respond with actions for potential paths forward, as well as useful insights. And that’s not to say that we always get it right -- or that "getting it right" is even necessarily our goal...what I know is that I trust Stone with the way we work together.Coming from an athletic background, I've had a lot of coaches and yet the concept of a life coach still feels new to me. There’s a realness and a flexibility that I cherish in his coaching-- and a willingness to open up about his journey, too. As we continue to grow, I’m so excited about and honored by the way we connect.
What Doctor K has gifted to me is a lens through which to view my world.
I have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Stone in multiple capacities, both during his tenure at Washington university's St. Louis' Student Health Services and as an outstanding private practitioner and life coach. His innovative, authentic approach to helping people understand and maximize their unlimited potential put him in a league of his own. Dr. Stone empowers his clients to co-create abundance and excellence in their lives, but beyond his professional role, he serves as a catalyst for growth in the lives of everyone he meets.
Thanks to Stone!After actually meeting Stone for the first time, my life has not only been infused with new possibilities and brave new approaches but has also been framed by a hug. I thought the life change I experienced from that day on was because of the extended hug he gave me. Yet, I came to realize that what he gave me was not just a literal hug in that moment in time. What he gave me was a part of the universal that stands forever waiting for us to become a part of it as we embark on each day—the hug of touching others and all that life has to offer! And, yes, it was an extended embrace! Any time spent with Stone is full of empathetic and insightful instruction that comes from a place of love of others and pure passion for his mission.