Karin Matthews, JD, MA, LMFT
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” I believe that the diversity of my life experience helps me support my clients more effectively. I have lived and worked in many different environments. I was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada when I was an infant. Before earning my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, I completed an undergraduate degree in International Relations and English Literature and a combined law degree and master’s degree focused on international law. I have lived in Singapore, Taipei, Beijing, Bangkok and Maastricht (Netherlands). I have worked in the fields of law, international relations, business, technology, marketing, real estate sales and education.
My Therapeutic Approach
In today’s world, life is lived at a more intense pace. The demands to perform better, harder and faster can be overwhelming. It is more and more common to feel increasing anxiety or fear that we just can’t meet the demands around us. Sometimes, an unexpected life crisis (death of a loved one, break ups, job loss, health problems, etc.), throws us off balance. Often, we find ways to cope with the fear or discomfort in unhealthy ways (eating, drinking, partying, over-working, etc.). Sometimes, the coping mechanisms stop working and we find it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. Therapy can help provide a break from the craziness by offering a confidential space for clients to be able to reconnect with who they are and how they want to live.
I believe body, mind and soul are connected, and when one part of you suffers, all areas in your life are affected. A common way of dealing with stress is to suppress our feelings. This is can be an effective coping mechanism to get through a crisis but there are long term consequences for trying to ignore the feelings we are suppressing. I believe that although we may, over time, lose conscious access to those feelings, they continue to have an impact. This can include decreased emotional and physical functioning which can lead to mental or physical illness.
I believe that our family and culture of origin has a major influence on our lives. Beliefs adopted when we were young may have been useful at that time but can be problematic when the circumstances have changed. I help clients explore their past in order to make new and healthier choices in the present. By understanding the beliefs that are consciously and sub-consciously influencing their decisions, clients are empowered to start making different choices.
“Karin is a kind and enthusiastic therapist. What strikes me most is her ability to pick up on issues from small details or a seemingly irrelevant story. She helped me see my self-esteem and self-worth issues from a different angle and helped me to explore some of the reasons why I have these issues. Her demeanor was always professional, and I never felt judged. Her diversity in training as well as spiritual background really made her an excellent fit for me. I highly recommend Karin as a therapist.”
“Karin is helping me to change my life in a meaningful and lasting way. She has given me tools and ensured that I know how to use them. With Karin there is action, not just talking. I feel as though I’m working through my issues instead of just rehashing them.”