Therapy / Editorial

The Therapeutic

Having worked as a writer, editor and educator for over two decades, I was often aware that my subjects, my students and my editorial clients sought a healing experience through language. To tell the real story is as intrinsic to therapy as it is to narrative writing.

During the last seven years, I've developed, refined, and practiced WriteLife, a flexible therapeutic modality rooted in the healing power of creativity, self-investigation (including some meditative work), empathy and deep listening. I use established Narrative Therapy techniques, Bowen Family Systems, Internal Family Systems, and trauma-informed somatic practices. Clinically, I am researching betrayal, as enacted by friends and family. I’ve also trained at OPC, in the rigorous Ontario Psychotherapy and Counselling Program.

My focus as a trauma-informed therapist is OEI, Observed Experiential Integration, a powerful neural trauma therapy developed by Audrey Cook and Dr. Rick Bradshaw of Vancouver, B.C. Similar in some ways to EMDR, OEI is a gentler, more gradual approach to healing PTSD symptoms. OEI teaches the client various techniques to safely handle and alleviate PTSD or PTSD-like symptoms. Until I am fully certified, I will continue to practice under supervision. My first concern as a therapist is your safety. OEI is contraindicated for some clients.

We heal as individuals (and as societies) in the loving presence of compassionate witness. As a therapist, I don’t pathologize people’s pain and suffering. I do not condescend to clients but treat them as equals in a profound investigation of life and the problems of living. Most of our behaviours, even destructive and self-destructive ones, are rooted in a desire to alleviate our suffering. (Most of us are trying to tell the real story, even if we are acting it out in very complicated ways.) It's possible to investigate these behaviours and talk with the destructive parts of ourselves with compassion, curiosity, and even a sense of humour.  Healthy balance is part of every natural system, including the human body-mind.

I occasionally run WriteLife Seminars that use therapeutic techniques for accessing deep emotion and transforming it into original, rich creative language.

If you are interested in any of the work above, please contact me at karen@karenconnelly.ca  

The Editorial / The Teaching

I've been editing books privately for twenty-five years. Many of those manuscripts are now books in libraries and stores across Canada.

I work in the same three genres that I write in, literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Judy Rebick's beautiful new book Heroes in My Head had its first edit from me as its brilliant author went from activist to literary memoirist under my tutelage at the Humber School for Writers. I also work with clients privately. If you are looking for a tough, responsive, compassionate editor, please get in touch with me.

http://creativearts.humber.ca/programs/school-writers/creative-writing-correspondence

I teach the MFA masters seminar in Creative Nonfiction for the University of Guelph, too, though you need to be enrolled in the MFA program to take the course. 

This fall-winter (2019/2020) I will teach several small private WriteLife Seminars. Please let me know if you are interested in joining one of them or inviting me to work with a small group in your community.

Contact me at karen@karenconnelly.ca