Giegle improves lives through chemical counseling


For many kids, high school is the time for trying new things. Whether it’s trying a new sport or activity, finding different kinds of people to be friends with, trying unfamiliar classes or just trying out a new style, there are endless opportunities for young people in high school. There are many great things teenagers can try in high school, but high schoolers are introduced to many harmful things as well. One of the most harmful things exposed to high schoolers is drugs, which leads to harmful drug addiction before they even know it.

Within the hundreds of students at the school, there are many people that are fighting the battle of drug addiction. It can be an extremely tough time for kids, they can feel lost and alone and feel like they have nobody to go to. Julia Geigle has a job is to help kids in this exact situation. Geigle is the chemical counselor at the school, who helps many students each year.

Geigle’s job is to meet with students who are struggling with addiction and give them insight on what steps they should take to better themselves.

Geigle became interested in this field of work due to her love for people and the steps of walking with them and partnering with them as they figure out life.

“I just really love connecting with people,” Geigle said. “I am particularly interested in the chemical stuff because our culture demonizes it, and there’s a stigma around use and those are the bad kids that use, and that is just so far from the truth.”

Geigle loves her job and is very passionate about what she does. Helping kids struggling with abuse and being able to help them is an amazing feeling to her.

“It feels empowering. I feel hopeful when things are clicking in students. Sometimes it’s frustrating and disappointing when people are dishonest, but the overall feelings are absolutely great,” Geigle said.

Geigle gains many personal relationships with the students she works with. No matter how many different techniques are used, the personal relationship is really Geigle’s secret when it comes to chemical counseling.

“With counseling, there are many many different techniques out there, but all the research says that when change happens it’s more dependent on the relationship and the bond and that person trusting, over the actual technique. The techniques are helpful and needed, but it’s really the bond that is more important than anything,” Geigle said.

Although Geigle’s most effective technique is the bond she creates with students, there are many other techniques that are very successful as well. One technique is called motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is defined as “a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior.”

Julia is so authentic. She really cares and connects well with her students, and that’s very important.”

— Chris Otto

“Many techniques have been attempted,” Geigle said. “The scared straight approach was tried, and there was the the just say no campaign which just wasn’t getting results, so they’ve come up with motivational interviewing which has produced better results on people being happier, healthier and more connected.”

Over Geigle’s years of working as a chemical counselor, she’s figured out the best strategies that work for herself and her clients.

“Another huge strategy is really just meeting people where they’re at,” Geigle said. “My goal for them isn’t necessarily sobriety, it’s about helping them figure out who they wanna be as a person and really partnering with them to work towards that. Having someone come in and immediately telling them that they have to be sober isn’t helpful at all, it’s really partnering with them and having them reflect on where they are at and what’s important to them in life and who they want to be.”

Geigle has had a huge impact on students. Having an option for help right within the school building is huge for many kids.

“Any support that we can provide students within the school building is a particular benefit,” Assistant Principal Chris Otto said. “Sometimes it’s hard for families to access that kind of support on their own time and in the evenings, and it’s nice for people to be able to within their school day in their school building, to have that convenience of being able to access help.”

Others have recognized Geigle’s talent and respect her deeply.

“Julia is so authentic. She really cares and connects well with her students, and that’s very important,” Otto said.

With many high school students struggling with the battle of drug and alcohol addiction, it’s extremely important that they have someone to go to in order to get help and guidance. SAHS has a counselor who does just that. Geigle has made huge impacts on the students of the school and will continue to for many more years. The love and passion Geigle has for her job is definitely a huge contribution to the amazing outcomes she produces with her students.

“My favorite part of my job is when people get to like who they are; when I see people looking in the mirror and they like the person looking back at them,” Geigle said. “A lot of the kids I work with are really hurt deep down, they feel lost and alone. But when that switch turns and they realize that they are a good person and like who they are, that’s awesome. When people decide that they like who they are, that’s my favorite part.”