Certified Coach & Counselor
Since childhood, I have been dedicated to the alleviation of suffering- and to me, the worst kind of suffering is that which is within us.
My family members - going back several generations - are storytellers, and I heard stories of suffering and loss, of love and destiny, of addiction and recovery, and of despair and hope. I loved to hear the stories and to piece together the causes and conditions of both retribution and mercy, and to see the threads of the best and the worst of humanity as they wove through the ages, powered by circumstance and by individual initiative.
Art and animals have always held the solace and the conviction that life continually has meaning and beauty!
At Drew University I studied psychology and was soon drawn to the work of ant-Psychiatrist R.D. Laing, as well as the therapeutic community movement. I spent the summers working at Gould Farm (the first therapeutic community in the United States) and at Camphill, an intentional community including people with special needs. I then embarked on a course of self-education, living in several communities in the US and Europe, and studying Waldorf education and therapeutic education, before beginning a community that included folks with a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations and special emotional needs. This community - called the Spirit of Gheel and Gheel House - had its first location in Pennsylvania and took as its model from the town of Gheel in Belgium, an area that has been taking in individuals with special mental and emotional needs into the homes of its citizens for over eight hundred years.
Besides Gheel, I have been involved in the founding of other initiatives, such as - together with Georg Kuhlewind - the Logos Foundation (an international training for working with very young, at-risk children), Adesha Village community (a therapeutic consortium of houses serving individuals with special needs), and Partners Creating Community (a not-for-profit organization that operates a farm, a coffee business, and a bakery, working as partners with special friends).
I have completed trainings and earned certificates in the following:
Waldorf education and Waldorf therapeutic education, administration and development
The Psychosocial Foundations of Peacebuilding
International Conflict Transformation.
Trauma Studies at New York University
Creative Arts and Trauma, Columbia University
In addition to therapeutic work, I co-led the New Jersey Responds to the Crisis in Darfur Coalition (2005-2011) and the JVS Darfur Resettlement Program, in which I directed the resettlement of fifty-two refugees from Darfur between 2010 and 2013. My activism is a large part of my life and I serve on many boards and committees to affect change.
I still believe in the healing power of the arts and have done puppetry training and continue that joyful work. My most current project is Bibliotherapy, a form of artistic therapy using poetry and literature as a springboard for healing conversations and writing.
Salt water is the cure for everything: sweat, tears, and the sea.
- Karen Blixen