Dr. Heidi Kraft: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Dr. Heidi Kraft

Clinical Psychologist & Military Combat Stress Specialist

When Lieutenant Commander Heidi Kraft’s twin son and daughter were fifteen months old, she was deployed to Iraq. An active duty Navy clinical psychologist with a Marine Corps surgical company, Kraft’s job was to uncover the wounds of war that a surgeon would never see. She put away thoughts of her children back home, acclimated to the sound of incoming rockets, and learned how to listen to the most traumatic stories a war zone has to offer.

One of the toughest lessons of her deployment was perfectly articulated by the TV show M*A*S*H: “There are two rules of war. Rule number one is that young men die. Rule number two is that doctors can’t change rule number one.” Some Marines, Kraft realized, and even some of their doctors, would be damaged by war in ways she could not repair. And sometimes, people were repaired in ways she never expected.

Hailed by General Anthony Zinni as "a rare, insightful look into today’s battlefield…personal, emotional, and unique," Rule Number Two’s inspirational stories of Marines and Sailors, and those who care for them—both on the battlefield and at home—is a powerful firsthand account of providing comfort amidst the chaos of war, and of what it takes to endure.

At the podium, Kraft draws upon her unique experience as a former Navy officer, combat clinical psychologist and mother of small children to establish a profound connection with audiences. Sharing moving stories from Rule Number Two, Kraft explores personal and team resiliency, solidarity in the face of adversity, caregiver compassion fatigue and the treatment of combat trauma. Kraft also discusses the challenges individuals and families face during the healing process, including overcoming the stigma surrounding mental health rehabilitation. Audiences are left inspired by and thankful for our country’s countless unsung heroes.

Kraft received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in 1996. She joined the Navy during her internship at Duke University Medical Center, serving as both a flight and clinical psychologist. Her active duty assignments included the Naval Safety Center (clinical time at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth), the Naval Health Research Center (clinical time at Naval Medical Center San Diego), and Naval Hospital Jacksonville, FL.

Kraft left active duty after nine years in the Navy and now provides psychological treatment and care for patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She also shares, through public speaking, relevant and timely messages of growth and healing after combat trauma, a topic receiving increasing public interest.

She lives in San Diego with her husband Mike, a former Marine Corps Harrier pilot, and their twins Brian and Megan.

Interested in booking Dr. Heidi Kraft to speak at your next event?

Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau.


  • Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital

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