Sometimes the “life of your dreams” isn’t exactly going the way you’d dreamed it would…
Are you feeling overwhelmed with grief and sadness? Is it hard to imagine a day when you might smile again? Not just the turned-up-lips-with-hollow-eyes-smile, but the kind that comes from a warm, contented heart?
Are you struggling to be the kind of parent you wish you’d had when you were a child? Are you struggling to break free from your history, to create a life with your children that you desire?
Have you woken up one day to discover that your partner isn’t who you thought they were, and that you have been closeted along with them, without your knowledge? Are you wondering how to make sense of it all, and if you can survive this confusing, misunderstood grief as you try to rebuild a life that makes sense?
If you can relate to any of these realities, you are just the kind of person I love to work with. There is a way through the pain, challenges and overwhelm. There is hope. I know this because I have endured and survived challenges I would never have thought possible, and I am now thriving in a life that seemed, for many years, to be out of reach.
You are not alone
I’m Karen Bieman, a registered counsellor in Melbourne, Australia, also working online. I came to counselling later in life, with my personal experience enhancing my professional training.
My passion is to provide a safe space for people to be heard, process their pain, find hope in their grief, and create a life they love. I use a variety of approaches depending on what is best for you. At my core, I work from a person-centred approach, as you are the expert in your own life. I seek to provide a warm, empathic, non-judgmental space in which you can find hope and meaning again.
A Little Bit More About Me
When I was five years old, my parents opened our home to a little boy, who became my permanent foster brother. Some years later, we also fostered his sister. Living alongside people who had suffered serious early trauma opened my eyes and heart and I knew from the age of about 12 that I wanted to work in a helping profession.
Later experiences of grief and loss challenged me to my core, including miscarriage, and the death of my father to cancer. Tragically, my second child died just 9 hours after he was born, due to ‘gross negligence’, as determined by the Health Care Complaints Commission. I thought I would never smile again, or feel hope for the future. My heart was deeply, painfully broken.
Some years later, I experienced a traumatic separation after a complex 24-year marriage, which dragged me unwittingly into an arduous recovery process that at times seemed to be an insurmountable challenge.
I pursued my own healing through a variety of approaches including counselling, prayer, meditation, social support, reading, music and journalling. Ultimately, the traumatic challenges which threatened to destroy me have led to my greatest growth and helped me become stronger, wiser, more empathic and even more passionate about helping others. The desire that was planted in me from a very young age, when my foster siblings opened my eyes and heart, has been calling to me for a long time and led to me finally pursuing my professional training as a counsellor.
In addition to my studies and personal reading, I have found great fulfilment in volunteering with social justice organisations, student mentoring, supporting bereaved parents through Sands Australia, and as a telephone counsellor with Griefline.
After completing my Diploma of Counselling, I began my Bachelor of Counselling, which I have almost completed. I am also studying a Specialist Course in Couples Counselling with Relationships Australia. To increase my understanding and skillset, I regularly undertake additional training in topics such as grief and loss, trauma, online counselling, acceptance and commitment therapy, and more. I also receive regular supervision, as is standard practice for all registered counsellors.
I primarily provide online counselling and also see clients face to face in Melbourne, Australia.
I truly believe we can find our way through deep pain and sadness, and discover immense growth along the way. I believe we can learn to live with loss, integrating it into a life that is meaningful and hope-filled. We can rewrite our life story, moving from striving and surviving, to thriving and flourishing. Resilience grows in adversity and our destiny does not have to equal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We can, instead, experience post-traumatic GROWTH.
Working alongside you in your very own hero-journey is a privilege and an honour.