Kara began working with children in the mid-1990’s through the public education system. She completed Bachelor’s degrees in Developmental Psychology and Elementary Education, and has been a K-12 Certified Public School teacher in the state of Washington. Along the way to her teaching credentials, she spent time working with Children in outdoor recreation, camp settings and later received additional therapeutic training and experience working for a Children’s Long Term Inpatient Program (CLIP) in Western Washington. Having experienced CLIP to be one of her most rewarding and energizing work experiences, Kara went on to get a Masters of Arts in Existential-Phenomenological Psychology from Seattle University, interned in a Child and Family Therapy program, and became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington.
Kara has attended numerous workshops and training events on topics related to parenting and building positive alliances with young people. Her work with children and parents is most heavily influenced by the philosophy of Alfred Adler and her training in Children Focusing, a gentle, open approach to engaging with young people that provides respect, creative reflection, and voice to wordless places. Kara began learning Children Focusing in 2015 when introduced to her mentor and friend René Veugelers of Focusing Centre Zeeland at an international conference. She continues to enjoy and grow from ongoing work with him today. Kara is also a Certified Positive Discipline Educator. Positive Discipline is a parenting approach based on the work of Dr. Alfred Adler. Paramount to Adler’s approach are the need for mutual respect in our interactions, and the universal human needs of belonging with others and having a sense of significance in the world.
One of the potential challenges in working with young people is the need for bridging between words and experience. Often children know something, but struggle to convey what is felt inside to another person or even concretize it within the self. Children Focusing helps the therapist (and parent/educator) connect with and deeply understand the child’s experience while simultaneously helping the child feel grounded, safe, and understood. This deep trust and connecting creates a healing interaction through which the child’s stuck feelings are able to release and their inner process to move forward.
“Being able to tell or show our story always helps us to re-connect freshly, if we can keep listening/watching while we share it.” ~René Veugelers