Dr. Karen McDonald
Dr. Karen McDonald is a board-certified Christian Counselor through the Georgia Board of Examiners for Christian Counselors and Therapists and currently leads all Racheal’s Rest retreats. She is a trauma specialist that sees adult, teen and child clients ages 3 and up in her Kennesaw, Georgia location. Karen grew up with domestic violence and sexual abuse on a daily basis. She survived and developed a passion for helping others find restoration from abuse. Because she has struggled through her own journey of recovery, she knows how much courage and determination it takes to overcome the fears, shame and guilt, spiritual confusion, relationship issues, and parenting difficulties survivors face. Furthermore, she has wisdom, training and skills to pass along techniques to those who are ready to change their lives.
Adults in counseling
Adults often wait until problems seem insurmountable before seeking help. While I welcome “critical” cases, my joy is in teaching all my clients howto manage their emotions and lives better and avoid crisis situations in the future. Some of my clients find the guidance and solutions they seek for an immediate problem in one to three visits. Others come with years of accumulated trauma and may need two to three years of therapy. While not all behavior is acceptable, it is understandable when you comprehend the circumstances in which it developed. Sometimes people are reacting normally to an abnormal situation.
Children in counseling
Children express their emotions through play rather than language. I use strategic play therapy with children up to the age of 10 when their cognitive development reaches a more advanced stage. It is imperative for a therapist to understand the developmental stages of children in order to understand their behavior. I bring to my practice 25 years of working with children in a day care setting. With children as well as teens, we may use games, arts and crafts activities, music, videos, work pages, etc. to address their issues.
Teens in counseling: Teens sometimes do not understand their own emotions and behaviors and certainly can’t explain them to someone else, especially their parents. They need an understanding neutral person to help guide them through difficult times. I enjoy helping families navigate parent/child relationships. The teen years are wonderful but challenging times. It can be as stressful to parents as it is to adolescents. Sometimes they both need a mediator to help them navigate uncharted territory. Often teens are resistant to counseling but after the first visit they usually are more than willing to continue. Through various activities, teens begin to understand themselves –make better choices, and create a happier life for themselves and those around them. Teens want respect as much as their parents do.
Karen is the author of Blind Trust, A Child’s Legacy, written under the pen name of Karen Austin. This autobiographical novel chronicles her spiritual and psychological journey. Before changing careers to the counseling arena, Karen owned and operated a day-care business for 25 years. This was a forerunner of preparation for her current career as she worked with all kinds of families and many children in crisis. She also worked with all kinds of parents from unwed teen moms to late-in-life parents, from those who needed a few hours away from their children each week to those who struggled to find a few hours to be with their children. Her experience in working with families from all walks of life gives her a solid background in helping individuals and families heal from the wounds sexual abuse causes.
Dr. Karen McDonald’s educational background includes three year’s study at Kennesaw State University before receiving her bachelor’s degree and master’s in Christian Counseling from Covington Theological Seminary. She earned her Ph.D in religious philosophy from Logos University in Jacksonville, Florida, where she wrote her dissertation on “Beyond Play Therapy: Treating the Traumatized Child.”
If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of sexual abuse, sex trafficking and/or domestic violence issues, contact us today to get more information about Racheal’s Rest programs to begin your journey to emotional health.