Personal Philosophy of Therapy
First and foremost, I enjoy my profession and practice. Having good assessment skills, collaborative understanding, and clear interventions are all critical to my successful practice of twenty five years.
Power struggles and/or a sense of betrayal are usually at the heart of couples in conflict and it takes on many forms. It is my job to assess these unhealthy underlying patterns in a marriage. Differences in a relationship are a good thing as long as one person does not insist that their spouse see and do things their way (power struggle). A good therapist is one who does not form an alignment with one member of the couple or family over another, everyone should feel equally understood. I use the couples’ presenting conflict or crisis as a launching point to create healthy changes that are meaningful and lasting. Sometimes one person needs to sort through their thoughts and feelings in order to make a new commitment to the marriage; this may mean individual counseling is needed before marriage counseling. This is determined during the initial interview. Compassion, respect, and a non-judgmental attitude are important ingredients of good counseling.
I believe that renegotiating a relationship every few years is a healthy way of life and couples are happier when they do this. Sometimes marriage counseling means that FOO (family or origin) issues have to be addressed if they are getting in the way of the satisfaction of the current relationship. Everyone has FOO imprints; we just need to understand what they are and how they affect us. We all bring different perspectives into relationships.
Karen specializes in communication and conflict resolution in couples/families as well as providing individual counseling to both men and women. She has a doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of Florida. Her doctorate degree includes a specialty in men/women studies and gender (behavior) research from the University of Florida. This is an interdisciplinary program that combined studies from the College of Sociology, Linguistics, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Psychology.
She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been practicing for 25 years in the profession. Additionally, she has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from U. F. and is a Registered Nurse. Her nursing experience focus was primarily at Shands Teaching Hospital (Gainesville) in pediatrics/adolescents, North Florida Regional Hospital (Gainesville) in cardiovascular nursing. She is C.A.P. (Certified Addictions Professional) in the state of Florida and recognizes addictions and treatment needs. Karen’s master degree is from Stetson University located in Deland, Florida. She is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
Karen is a true native Floridian and grew up in Ocala. She was raised with her two older brothers, Dana and Denver. Karen is a “Gator” and attended the University of Florida for her Bachelor of Nursing degree and her Doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. However she will work with FSU and Miami fans, if they don’t talk about it. She enjoys most outdoor activities and sports. Currently she is a lap swimmer and is a beginner in pickleball. She was a competitive athlete in the past: short course triathlons, racquet ball, and swimming. Exercising, praying, spending time in nature, and listening to good music are essential to her seeking balance in life.
Karen has a daughter who graduated from the University of Florida with a BS degree in Plant Science. Her friends describe her as warm and engaging, compassionate, intuitive, with a great sense of humor. She is committed to helping individuals become emotionally healthier and helping couples endure struggles so that they become more connected.
Description of Degrees/Licenses
PH.D. = Doctorate of Philosophy (UF). December 2005.
MS = Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (Stetson University). December 1988.
BSN = Bachelor of Science in Nursing (UF). August 1981.
LMFT = Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Florida (since 1991).
RN = Registered Nurse Florida (since 1982).
CAP = Certified Addictions Professional Florida (since 1990).
WSGR = Women/Men Studies in Gender Research (UF). December 2005.
After many degrees and licenses and 25 years of experience, I am confident to assess and treat most issues and refer appropriately when needed. Most frequent presentations of clients are:
- Relationship struggles
- Relationship Check-Ups
- Family stress/problems
- Blended Family adjustments
- Co-parenting issues
- Family Check-Ups
- In-Law Issues
- “Try to have a peaceful divorce” issues
- Family of Origin issues (maladaptive imprints from the family we grew up in as children)
- Self Esteem issues
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Alcohol overuse/abuse
- Co-dependency Issues
- Disordered eating
- Individual Counseling
- Adolescent issues
- Adolescent Check-Ups
- Mother/daughter dyad
- Father/son dyad