Karen Simms, MA, LMHC
I am a licensed Mental Health Counselor with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology, with specialized education in Art Therapy, from Antioch University. I have experience both in community mental health and private practice in a variety of settings, and have been serving a wide range of clients for ten years. I also have a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design, and am now enjoying my second career, interweaving my love of all things creative into my practice. I enjoy serving a diverse population, and have worked with individuals, couples, families and groups with various diagnoses, including depression, loss and grief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety-related disorders.
I was born and raised in the foothills of northern California and lived in various locations around the state, including Silicone valley, southern California, and the idyllic central coast region. When I moved to the Seattle area 20 years ago, I felt like I had come home and knew this is where I would put down my roots. I worked as a graphic designer for close to 15 years and became less and less fulfilled by this profession. I increased my community outreach by volunteering for various organizations from working with kids impacted by HIV/AIDS to the Crisis Line to organizations for the blind. Eventually, I realized I needed a life change and that was the impetus to return to graduate school to become a therapist. This decision created the meaning I was looking for. Again, I found a home.
In 2008, I was able to fulfill a long dream of joining the Peace Corps. I served for just over two years in a small town in Ethiopia and was able to be involved with an organization which supported orphans and vulnerable children This was a profound experience for me and it has also given me a broader perspective of cross-cultural issues and how they can inform my work as a mental health counselor.
My therapeutic perspective includes working in a psychodynamic framework with an existential influence. To me, this means to help my clients work in-depth through their past while being present in the here and now, and helping them realize their potential to live a more authentic and meaningful life.
Along with this, my role is to help facilitate healing through the use of therapeutic tools that are appropriate and unique to the individual. My objective as a mental health counselor is to show compassion and empathy for others and the paths that have led them to where they may be in their lives. I strive to be present with care, quietness and areas of space, humor, and calmness. I aim to be critical in my thinking and understanding, especially in the face of confusion or distress; and, show a flexibility of mind, spirit, and time.
I enjoy working with individuals, couples, and families—and meeting each situation from a place of curiosity to determine the very best approach. I may interweave art into our work from time to time when it becomes evident that this will be helpful in your healing. I look forward to exploring your unique story.
For more in-depth information about my practice, please visit my website: www.karensimmstherapy.com