About Karis and Woman To Woman

Hello.  My name is Karen Wells and I am individual, marriage and family therapist.   I understand that painful past experiences can keep women from moving forward in their lives.  Although I may not have experienced your exact story, I have learned that the road to healing is similar for all of us.

I am passionate about encouraging women to fulfill their dreams. If you are letting a tragic story from your past own your present situation, I want to give you HOPE. You can change. Life is too short to be stuck. God has exciting plans for you, yet you may be allowing past hurt, anger, or guilt hold you back. You can be free!

How long have you been doing what you are doing and how did you get to be a therapist?
To answer this question, I should probably share a few of the defining moments in my life which have lead me to where I am today, teaching and counseling women on how to achieve freedom from their past painful experiences.

I was feeling worn out, very disappointed in myself, and embarrassed. I mean, here I was, a fairly well-rounded woman, yet being held hostage by the affects of my past experiences. I look back now and wonder how I ever made it. God must have had His hand of grace on me for He put people and positive circumstances in my life, which has been a catalyst that has brought me to where I am today.

The biggest changes came when I started acknowledging that my past experiences had indeed, impacted my life. Before I began to do this, I tended to deal with my pain in three ways… ignore it (by pacifying it with “things that made me feel good”), explode into fits of anger and blaming, or slip into a depression.

It’s not even that I was some “off-the-wall” woman (although I often told myself I was). I mean, I was a mother, a wife, a student, an employee, and yes, a Christian (since 1982). I could run the affairs of my life fairly well, until “boom”, I’d get stuck in my tracks by overwhelming depression, self-hate, anger and despair. I’d somehow manage to “pull myself together” for a while, and then “wammo”; it would reappear in my life. There were times in my life when I even felt suicidal.

Yet, acknowledgement opened the door for me to re-evaluate my reactions and feelings about my life. As it turned out, I eventually found myself attending a seminary, and majoring in marriage and family counselling. It was through my own counselling journey that I experienced freedom! This is one major reason I am certain counselling works… I have been there too! The therapist met up with the therapy!

Since then, I have committed myself to helping women gain freedom from their past pain. I have counselled numerous women who were just like I used to be. I soon recognized that I tended to counsel specific strategies over and over again, and women were being freed! Their story of struggle did not have to be the exact same as mine, yet I discovered that the steps towards healing were almost always the same.

Because of this, I decided it would be beneficial for women to have these strategies laid out for them in a step-by-step formulation so they could work on their issues and struggles. That is why I developed, Unhooked! The 7-step Strategy To Achieve Freedom From The Pain Of Past Experiences. My one-on-one counselling services, support groups, and teachings all support these foundational strategies.

Tell us a little about Karis Counselling Services
Karis Counselling Services was founded in 2001 with the intention of providing emotional, mental, and spiritual healing to those in need. It is founded on Isaiah 61:1b which states, “[The Sovereign Lord] has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted [and] to proclaim freedom to the captives.”

The word charis (although I spell it Karis) comes from the Greek language, meaning “grace”. I wanted this word to represent my style of counselling. The purpose of counselling is not to cause someone to feel bad for what they have done or what they are going through. The purpose is to offer a listening ear, words of hope, and a gentle (as much as possible) challenge for change.

Why do you primarily provide telephone counselling?
I am a globally-minded woman and have always had a desire to reach the world with the message of hope and freedom. When I first began formulating the direction of my counselling services I had the motto, “Have counselling, will travel”. And I did just that. I would often travel up to two hours one way, just to be able to offer counselling services.

Over time, I realized that if I kept pursuing this mode of service I would wear out. Plus, I still felt a passion to reach into those areas where women were isolated or just unable to access face-to-face counselling. For these reasons, I made the decision to also provide counselling services by phone and internet.

This way, women who live in rural communities, or who have numerous obligations that make it difficult for them to take the time to go into an office and meet face-to-face, or even live in a larger community, yet have no specific services available (childhood sexual abuse, post-abortion stress, or healing from a psychologically abusive relationship) can now have an option for help.

I desire that all women, everywhere, will know that God has a purpose for their life and that the past should not have the right to keep them back from pursuing this purpose. I believe that this can be accomplished through telephone counselling, telephone support groups, tele-seminars, and self-help material that provides positive teachings and God-inspired hope.

What are your qualifications?
I hold a Masters of Divinity, majoring in Marriage and Family Counselling. I interned for two years for the seminary counselling services and then founded Karis Counselling Services in 2001. I also was the Director for a Pregnancy Counselling Centre for two and a half years. As well, I have worked in different positions with Mental Health and Addiction Services for about four years. Overall, I have thousands of hours of counselling experience.

Along with individual and marriage counselling, I have developed and presented numerous workshops. I have been able to be a speaker at many women’s functions throughout the years, and if I look back in my life I can honestly say I’ve been providing emotional and spiritual support to women for many, many years.

Who are your clients?
I work with women just like you. These are women who take their life and responsibilities seriously and who desire to be great wives and loving mothers. These same women want to do their best, yet find themselves getting “tripped up” by a past life experience that still holds them down.

What if you haven’t worked with a woman who has my story?
I have worked with many women in the past years, and most likely, I have helped women with similar stories – not exactly your story, but likely similar themes. What I have discovered is that people generally heal from their story in the same way. Maybe not at the same pace, but almost always the same emotional needs require healing.

How are you different from other counsellors?
I, like a majority of counsellors, present in an empathetic, caring, and responsible manner. The difference, though, is in my focus. I only counsel women who struggle with post-abortion stress, childhood sexual abuse issues, or those who have been affected by relational abuse. This allows me the opportunity to become an expert on these themes, so women can get positive results.

I am not sure my problem is big enough to need counselling.
Karis Counselling Services believes no problem is too small, if it is a problem for you. Women are often fearful or embarrassed to seek help for something they feel others might think is “terrible”, “silly”, or “not a big deal”. This keeps them from seeking help early in their struggle, often waiting until the situation is unbearable for them.

This is your life and you have the right to own it, not it own you. If you are struggling, seek help early, or by default you may find yourself in great emotional, mental or spiritual pain.

Is this a faith-based counselling service?
I am a Christian and my teachings are founded on biblical principles like love, self-worth, forgiveness and hope. You do not have to be a Christian in order for the counselling to be effective, although I do include scripture in my materials. I also have a web page dedicated to spiritual questions, so you may read further on my beliefs if you would like to.