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FAQ for Caritas and Karen Olson

WHAT DOES CARITAS MEAN?

Caritas is a Latin word that refers to an altruistic love or loving-kindness.  Its Greek equivalent is agape.  Both words denote a compassionate love for all humankind.  It first came to Karen’s attention in the form of a Cat Stevens’ song called “O Caritas.”  (Sample lyric: O caritas, o caritas.  Nobis semper sit amor. Translation: “O love, o love, be with us always.”)  Further study of this word revealed a rich history that provided a perfect fit for Karen and her philosophy of healing.  Caritas represents–in one word–the underpinnings of Karen’s psychotherapy and other healing modalities offered at the healing center.  (Incidentally, there is a word in Spanish, caritas, which means “little faces.”)  For further information on the meaning of caritas and its historical use, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charity_(practice).

WHOM DOES KAREN TREAT?

Karen works with primarily adult clients.  She occasionally works with older (15+) adolescents, on a case-by-case basis.  She uses a variety of treatment formats–individual, couples and groups.  Because the healing force of safe, supportive relationships is so universally powerful, Karen does not limit her practice to particular diagnoses and works with all who want to heal their whole selves.

WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE DOES KAREN HAVE?

Karen has been practicing psychotherapy since 1992 and specifically, in Arizona since 1993.  She has a broad range of experience, with many years spent working in psychiatric treatment facilities, hospitals (including the emergency room), and community mental health agencies.  She has been a principal therapist in intensive outpatient programs for clients recovering from substance abuse and mental illness.  She has extensive experience conducting assessments and is very familiar with community resources in Tucson.  She has been in private practice since 2005.

WHERE DID SHE GO TO SCHOOL, WHAT WAS HER MAJOR and WHAT ABOUT NOW?

Karen has a B.A. from Oberlin College, where she double majored in Communications and Psychology. She earned her M.A. in counseling psychology from Lewis and Clark College in 1992.  In addition, she has regularly supplemented her education with reading, workshops, and a graduate course at University of Arizona in “Cultural Psychology” taught by Dr. Stephanie Fryberg.   In March 2009, she completed the Basic Clinical Training for Imago therapy under the tutelage of Maya Kollman, and has taken additional advanced coursework from Ms. Kollman since that time.  She is now a certified Imago therapist, having her work reviewed by Ms. Kollman and  Bonnie Brinkman through 2009.  In addition, for three decades, Karen has been studying holistic medicine–both informally and formally–and is very familiar with alternative/integrative medical techniques.

WHAT DOES LPC MEAN?

LPC is an acronym for Licensed Professional Counselor.  This indicates that Karen is licensed to practice psychotherapy in the state of Arizona.

HOW DO I PAY FOR TREATMENT?

Karen accepts reimbursement from some insurance companies, on a limited basis.   She also has contracts with several Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that include Ceridian, Military One Source, APS, and ComPsych.   For clients who are paying independently of insurance or an EAP, she offers a cash discount.   Payment methods include cash or checks.

WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL AN APOINTMENT?

If you need to cancel your appointment, Karen requests that you call within 24 hours (on business days) so that Karen can make that time available for another client.  In agreeing to receive services from Karen, you accept responsibility for adequate notification and to pay a no-show/late cancellation fee ($30 for first occurrence, $60 thereafter) if you choose not to give 24-hour cancellation notice.  You are encouraged to speak with Karen if you would like to request that the fee be waived due to extenuating circumstances.

HOW CAN I GIVE FEEDBACK?

Karen welcomes feedback and allows you to give it in a variety of ways–through a therapy evaluation form that she will give you from time to time (and that you can request at any time) and through direct communication in session.  This is an important way to ensure that you are getting the services you desire and is also an opportunity to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.  A variety of feelings can come up in the therapy process, and communicating them can often lead to important breakthroughs, as the experience of being heard and validated is often a deeply healing experience.

PHILOSOPHY

karen olson tucson arizonaThe central tenet of Karen’s treatment approach is that we all have an innate capacity to heal.  When we are currently stressed–psychologically, emotionally, physically and/or spiritually–and carrying around old baggage from childhood wounds, this healing capacity is dampened.  It is Karen’s objective to create a safe, supportive healing space that provides fertile ground for each person to tap into his or her own inner wisdom and healing ability.  This is achieved in a variety of ways, but in therapy  the focus is on using the vehicle of the therapeutic relationship–which is also used to encourage the creation of more supportive, loving relationships with your partner, friends, family members, and group members.

Another key aspect of Karen’s treatment philosophy is the primacy of each person’s uniqueness.  Hence, Karen’s approach is eclectic and each person receives a tailor-made approach.  She is familiar with a variety of treatment approaches (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, Gestalt, Imago, client-centered, hypnotherapy, and solution-focused) and strives to use those techniques that are most effective with a particular individual.

Finally, in recognition that counseling is but one slice of the “healing pie,” Karen supports each person’s efforts to find additional modes of healing.  These may include everything from creative activities (drawing, singing, or writing) to taking a Tai Chi class.  For each person, there is likely a conglomeration of different things that work, and Karen supports each person’s quest to find that which resonates the most strongly with their own internal guidance system.

WHAT KIND OF GROUPS DOES SHE DO?

Karen conducts groups around a variety of issues and topics.  She has led groups focusing on creating balance/sustaining sobriety, recovering from sexual abuse, using writing as a therapeutic tool, and more.  If you are interested in being in group therapy or in having Karen facilitate a group you are trying to form, please contact her regarding your interest.  Karen recognizes the unique value of coming together regularly as a group and enthusiastically embraces each opportunity to utilize this format.

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