Yvonne Unrau

Photo of Yvonne Unrau
Yvonne Unrau
Professor and Director, Center for Fostering Success
(269) 387-3185
4420 Health and Human Services Building, Mail Stop 5354
Mailing address: 
College of Health and Human Services
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5354 USA
  • Ph.D., University of Utah
  • M.S.W., University of Calgary
  • B.S.W., University of Calgary
  • B.A., University of Lethbridge

Dr. Unrau joined the School of Social Work faculty in 2004. Her interest and specialization are in the areas of mindfulness and somatic approaches to well-being. Dr. Unrau’s specialty is working with youth and emerging adults, helping professionals and higher education professionals who are living with active traumatic stressors. Dr. Unrau has advanced training in complementary alternative interventions for treating trauma, including meditation, mindfulness, biofeedback and somatic methods to the practice of social work. She is the founding Director of WMU’s program to support undergraduates who have aged out of foster care (i.e., Seita Scholars Program), and currently serves as director of WMU’s Center for Fostering Success.

Dr. Unrau is a licensed social worker (clinical and macro) who brings a “coach approach” to her classes and workshops. The coach approach is founded on adult-learning principles. It emphasizes focused discussion and prioritizes the integration of learning. Dr. Unrau’s brings her clinical training and experience to learners by first building presence, attunement and well-being. Learners become adept at differentiating between cognitive, emotional and somatic processes, and then linking these unique learning processes in ways that optimize personal and professional growth. Dr. Unrau has a passion for excellence in the fields of social work and higher education, and she is committed to building competence in the areas of trauma-specific interventions especially for complexities such as developmental trauma (e.g., abuse, neglect) and systematized trauma (e.g., oppression, workplace harassment). She has received numerous grants, especially to support research and programming efforts related to services for youth aging out of the foster care system and enrolling in post-secondary education programs.