Karen at beach
Karen McCarthy, MA, LLPC

I love the bright water of northern Michigan, where I’ve lived for more than 30 years, and raised three children with my supportive partner in shenanigans.

I’m Karen McCarthy, MA, LPC and I’ve been working with children since I was a child myself. I love helping families to develop stronger, healthier relationships, and to heal from the wounds of their pasts. Because I believe that behavior comes from emotion, and emotion comes from need, I help people of all ages to understand their behavior by understanding their underlying emotions and needs, and how past trauma can affect them.

After more than 35 years as an educator and decades of work as a nanny, freelance writer, editor, Sunday School director, and voiceover narrator, I answered the call to become a counselor.

My work at the Safe Haven Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Center at Child & Family Services has given me experience and insight into various forms of domestic violence, and working at the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center has taught me about trauma and how to help people work through it.

My Responsibilities

It is my responsibility as a counselor to honor and care for anyone who comes to me for help, and to practice within the ethical guidelines of my profession. As a Limited License Professional Counselor, I practice under supervision. If at any time you have concerns about your experience in counseling, I hope you will bring them to my attention, and I will do my best to address your concerns.

Diversity Statement

I include, accept, respect, celebrate, and empower individuals and families, including all varieties of race, ethnicity, and national and regional origins; sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation; socioeconomic status, age, and physical attributes and abilities; and religious, political, cultural, and intellectual ideologies and practices. Whoever you are, whomever you love, whatever you believe, however you move, you are welcome at Bright Water Counseling.

Theoretical Foundation

I believe that you have everything you need within you to heal and grow. The specifics of our counseling journey will depend upon your goals and your unique strengths. My theoretical orientation encompasses family systems therapy, attachment theory, and trauma healing, and I also use elements of play therapy, solution-focused therapy, person-centered therapy, emotionally focused therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based approaches.