Karen Stewart - Clarity of Self Counselling & Psychotherapy

Karen Stewart
0438 588 510
Karen is a psychotherapist who works from a humanist perspective in a somatic psychodynamic way.

Welcome to my Canberra based clinical psychotherapy practice, 'Clarity of Self' which offers:

  • Face to face, individual psychodynamic psychotherapy.
  • Skype sessions of individual psychodynamic psychotherapy.

I will work collaboratively with you to understand your patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving, bringing out your strengths and helping to create a more hopeful present and future.

My approach to doing therapy links to the ideas within Humanistic Psychology which affirms “the inherent value and dignity of human beings” and advocates that self-actualisation is attainable for every person. My perspective is that we are naturally survivors who have learnt ways to be that have both helped and hindered us.

I include a focus on bodily emotional experience (somatic awareness). The body holds a wisdom that doesn't lie. Voicing or interpreting what the body already knows helps us to further understand our selves, allowing for change and insight.

Session information

Psychotherapy sessions are 50 minutes in length and are by appointment only.

Make a first appointment for us to meet and learn a bit about each other, then an initial 3 or 4 sessions is recommended to begin. It is important you feel I am someone you can work with.

See my website for my rates - do not hesitate to contact me directly to discuss these.

I receive regular supervision from a senior clinician.

How I will work with you:

- I am trauma trained and work with gentle, safe methods.
- I incorporate a stepped care approach as endorsed by the ACT Dept. of Health.
- I work to the Australian National Standards for Mental Health Services and have been assessed by the ACT Human Services Registrar and supported and registered as an NDIS Provider of Therapeutic Support services from 1/1/2018.

From a basis of psychodynamic psychotherapy, my work is informed by Self-psychology and Somatic Movement Psychotherapy. I incorporate other modalities such as Mindfulness, Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

What this means is:

  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy - "The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy" by Jonathan Shedler (2010), identified  7 features which reliably distinguish psychodynamic therapy from other therapies and lists these as:
    - Focus on affect and expression of emotion.
    - Exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings.
    - Identification of recurring themes and patterns.
    - Discussion of past experience (developmental focus).
    - Focus on interpersonal relations.
    - Focus on therapy relationship.
    - Exploration of fantasy life (internal thoughts including desires, fears, fantasies, dreams and daydreams.)
  • Somatic Psychotherapy "is grounded in the belief that not only are thought, emotion and bodily experience inextricably linked (creating a bodymind), but also that change can be brought about in one domain of experience by mindfully accessing another.” (from http://www.pacfa.org.au/somatic-psychotherapy/ on 21/11/2017).
    This means that accessing our somatic sensations - our internal subjective sense of our physical self - is useful, and at times, essential for the therapeutic process of understanding and change. The body is often a missed dimension in making the connections between our emotions, our health and our relationship to the people and places around us.
    Somatic psychotherapy has shown to be effective for the treatment of a broad range of concerns from anxiety, depression, trauma, personality disorders, grief and loss, eating disorders and addictions.

  • Self Psychology is based the work of Heinz Kohut who placed empathy at the centre of the successful therapeutic process:
    “The self forms the central focus of this theory, and is understood as the vital, cohesive, feeling of ongoingness, agency, and self-worth.  Through appropriate and attuned responsiveness, the therapist promotes the growth of critical aspects of the self. These aspects support the client’s ambitions and ideas, give expression to their talents and skills, and aid the development of healthy relationships…. Self Psychology is a relational psychology in that it maintains that human psychological functioning is always embedded in social interactions.” (Self Psychology Australia, retrieved on 27/11/2017 from http://selfpsychology.com.au/13-2/)


Karen Stewart

B.Comm. Grad Cert. (Business Admin.) Grad Cert (Soc. Research) Grad Dip. (Counselling).

Registered Counsellor - PACFA Provisonal Registrant 24364

Registered NDIS Provider - No.4050030198


• Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
• International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP).
• International Association for Psychodynamic Self-Psychology (IAPSP).

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