Karen comes to counselling this year following a career as a photographer and teacher.  As a primary school educator early in her career, she understands childhood development and has first-hand experience as a parent to two children who are now adults.

The call to the photography came early in Karen’s teaching career as she developed a love for the science of light and all things imaging.  She has a depth of knowledge of dating back to the early era of film and dark rooms and understands the technological side of imaging products throughout the ages.  She draws upon her experiences in marketing and understands the value of creating relationships with clients to build trust and loyalty.

Prior to the pandemic, Karen ran classes teaching teens and young adults about the value of learning photography in manual mode. Through her courses at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Karen received positive feedback from participants and parents alike about the use of the camera as a tool for mindfulness.

During the Covid pandemic, following a mindful self compassion course, Karen realised her value was in helping people and returned to study counselling. Supporting people around her with mental health challenges, she gained extensive knowledge and understanding of ADHD, ASD, depression and anxiety along the way. Her experiences led her into the field of mental health.

She will graduate with a Master’s of counselling later in 2023.  She created  themindfulphotographer.com.au with the view to integrate counselling and photography as part of a research proposal to work with adolescents with ADHD and ASD. She has an interest in people with neurodivergent minds and has researched how mindfulness, and in particular mindful photography, can assist with communication of their inner world and increase present moment awareness through the mind body connection.

Karen has a gentle, client centred approach using traditional talk therapy and a variety of other modalities to suit the client. Studying third wave cognitive behaviour therapies such as Acceptance Commitment therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) she hopes to continue studying these following her formal studies and weave them into her research into mindful photography. She also draws on strength based therapies such as motivational interviewing and solution focused therapies.  Alongside her formal Master’s of Counselling, she has studied Kristen Neff’s Mindful Self compassion, mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zin and Chris Germer and Daniel Siegel’s Mindsight and Brainstorm. She also has an interest in the somatic experiencing as researched by Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing.

The Mindful Photographer

Photography as a means to become more mindful in life comes from a very personal place.  I've used photography as part of a mindful process to assist with depression and anxiety.

After first developing a love for photography in 1987 with a film SLR camera a long lived love for capturing people in those unguarded moments and black and white was the perfect vehicle to see peoples expressions without the distraction of colour.  Film, paper and developer fluid were very expensive in those days so learning how to get those great shots in as few as possible was great training ground.

I learned the process from the technical side but never underestimated the power of understanding the human psyche to be able to tell their story with an image.

Images are everywhere in our world and sometimes we underestimate the power of their use.  They can elicit a visceral response or they can affect us on a subconscious level.

Over the past 2 decades I have had the unique perspective of seeing people from behind the lens.  Understanding how to get the best out of humans is much more about psychology than photography and likely what led me to want to study counselling.

Teaching photography over the last 5 years, I have found solace in photographing nature.  The colours of autumn, the monotone of winter, the beauty of spring and the heat of summer all offer so much mindfulness.

The need to contribute and offer help to those in need who are struggling with mental health has shown a pathway of using mindfulness and photography as a means to emotional regulation and better awareness of self.


Want to know more...

Want to know more?  Join our Mindful Photographer group on Facebook and connect with people like you who might need a bit of a reminder to get out of their heads and be more mindful in their lives.