A month after retiring from private practice as a psychologist, Karen was approached by Fortress Press and asked to write a book on trauma. When Trauma Wounds: Pathways to Healing and Hope was released in 2019. It combines psychological and faith resources to improve trauma recovery. It offers healing strategies for trauma survivors and those working with trauma survivors.
Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Karen began her educational trajectory by moving west to attend the Pacific School of Religion and thereafter worked as a parish pastor and chaplain. She assisted healthcare providers with multiple-loss grief during the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her father’s secret sexual orientation and the discovery of his long-term partner became the subject of her 2017 memoir, My Father’s Closet.
Understanding the challenges of secrets and family systems, Karen began writing for and about the congregations she served as pastor early in her career. Her book, Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations (Alban) sheds light on patterns of shame which limit interpersonal connection within family and organizational systems. Healthy Disclosure: Solving Communication Quandaries in Congregations (Alban), co-authored with Dr. Kibbie Ruth, explores professional ethics, communication boundaries, secrets in congregations, and sexual abuse prevention. She has also authored Preventing Sexual Abuse in Congregations (Alban) and Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing (Fortress Press).
In 2022, while the pandemic swept through the nation, fires ravaged communities in the west, and the nation was awakened to ongoing racial violence with the death of George Floyd, Karen taught clergy workshops on trauma that became the basis for her newest release: Trauma-Informed Pastoral Care: How to Respond When Things Fall Apart (Fortress).