Susan Kraus, M.S.W., L.S.C.S.W.

"Most people are a lot stronger and more capable than they can imagine." ~SK

A therapist for over three decades, a mediator for two...
and a writer since she first held a pencil.


Susan has written advice columns for women, too many self-help features to count, and published in Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Family Fun and other magazines for women and families. She published dozens of book reviews in the Kansas City Star, Women's Review of Books, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy and the Journal of Social Work.


Her travel writing has appeared in Hemisphere's (United Airlines In-Flight), My Midwest (Midwest Airlines), Kaleidescope (Tokyo), Family Fun, Kansas!, San Franciso Chronicle, K.C. Star, Topeka Magazine, Lawrence Magazine, Sunflower Journeys... and more. She received the top writing award from Society of American Travel Writers (Central States) in both 2008 and 2009.


Susan has graduate degrees in both English (California State University at Chico) and Social Work (University of Texas at Austin), and taught at both universities. She did post-graduate training in marriage and family therapy at the Menninger Clinic. She was a co-founder of The Family Center for Childbirth and Family Life Education, and taught numerous workshops for couples and families. She taught at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare (adjunct/graduate level) for 13 years.


Susan has a private practice with a focus on relationship/marital/divorce issues, autism spectrum disorders, and "what do I do with the rest of my life" conundrums. She mediates divorce, custody, small business, multi-generational and inheritance issues and has taught mediation skills. For the past six years, Susan has also worked as a counselor with military members, couples and families on Army and Air Force bases in Germany, the Azores, Hawaii, Alaska, Kansas and Missouri. Susan has been married for 35 years, with a young adult daughter and son.

Writing Awards

  • 1st Place: SATW Central States How-to/Consumer Reporting (2017) "Reconsidering the Expat Life "
  • 2nd Place: SATW Central States Magazine Article on International Destination (2017) "Five Trinidad Scenes"
  • 1st Place: Best Newspaper Article on Foreign Travel (2009) "Touched By Time"
  • 1st Place: Best Magazine Article on Past Three Meeting Sites (2009) "Black Hills to Badlands… It's All Good" 
  • 1st Place: Best Travel Commentary (2010) 
  • 1st Place: Best Magazine Article on U.S. or Canada – On Montreal (2008)  "Paris Without the Jet Lag Steals Her Heart." 

  • Society of American Travel Writers  (SATW) Awards (Central States)
    The Henry and Vera Bradshaw Memorial Award (2009) Top Writing Award. "Touched By Time."
    The Henry and Vera Bradshaw Memorial Award (2008) Top Writing Award. "Paris Without the Jet-Lag Steals Her Heart."
    (Winners of the top award for two consequtive years are not considered for the next five years...  SATW  rules. Susan will be eligible to compete again in 2014.) 
  • 2nd Place: Best Magazine Article on Foreign Travel (2009)  "Luxuries of a Little Luxembourg" (2009)
  • 2nd Place: Best Travel "How To" or Consumer Reporting- Newspaper, Magazine or Website (2011) 
  • 2nd Place: Best Travel Commentary, Newspaper, Magazine or Website (2008)  "Getting Naked With Strangers"
  • 3rd Place: Best Magazine Article on Foreign Travel (2008)  "Lowdown on that Long and Narrow Country.
  • 3rd Place: Best Magazine Article on Foreign Travel (2009)  "Britain on a Budget"
  • 3rd Place: Best Self-Illustrated Article (2012)  "Bula For Fiji
  • 3rd Place: Best Article on Ecology, Conservation or Preservation (2012) "Birds of a Feather"
  • Honorable Mention: Best Marine Travel Article (2009)  "Steiner Who?
  • Honorable Mention: Best Article on Past Three Meeting Sites (2010) "Mexican Memory Upgrade" 
  • Honorable Mention: Best Travel Article Featuring Past Meeting Sites (2012)  "Acadian Holiday"
  • Fiction:
    1st Place: Kansas Voices Short Story Writing Competition (1999)  "Isaac is Autistic"

After decades in landlocked Kansas...


In the last few years she has tracked penguins off the Chilean coast, zip-lined down a remote volcano (never again), danced in the streets of Ghent during their Flikken Festival and got carried away by a Fasching parade in Schweinfurt, Germany. She spent two weeks "In Search of the Perfect Waffle" in Belgium, swam with wild dolphins off Oahu, explored the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and got naked with strangers in Baden-Baden. She did language school in Tlaquepaque... and then there was that incident with the bear in Denali. And if you've never heard of the Praia-fest on Terceira, a volcanic island in the Azores, where locals taunt bulls in village streets with umbrellas for summer entertainment... well, she has a few stories you might enjoy.

"Travel opens emotional doors, provides perspective, and is a better value than therapy." ~SK


as a na├»ve 16 year old exchange student in El Salvador, followed by a stint as an au pair in Paris, and a summer trekking Europe alone with a backpack and rail pass. Then "real life" intervened: graduate school, her work as a therapist and mediator, marriage, kids, teaching at a university, developing a clinical private practice … yet always finding any excuse for a road trip. A book reviewer for many years, she started travel writing 19 years ago with a focus on family travel, as well as turning out a weekly regional travel column for three years for the Sunday edition of the K.C. Star. Her book, "A Game Day Guide to Towns of the Big 12," was the first guidebook organized around the cities of a major university athletic conference, a result of her affection for college towns. She was an on-line columnist for, while expanding her writing to include international travel. She is particularly interested in the psychology of travel, solo travel for women, and making the most of travel after 60. Susan is a dynamic and engaging speaker in small workshop formats as well as regional and national conferences.

Presentations & Workshops

Susan conducts workshops and presentations that can be scheduled for between 1 to 3 hours. The amount of content can fit the allotted time. They can also be presented in a single block or over 2 to 3 days in hour-long increments. If you are interested in booking a presentation or workshop, email with the dates and requirements of your event. As an experienced university instructor, Susan balances facts with a narrative element making the event more real and memorable. Her style is engaging and interative, using humor and anecdotes.