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Karen Lemke, R.Psych

About Me

I am a registered psychologist with over 15 years of experience working in a variety of mental health settings including crisis intervention, federal and provincial corrections, forensic psychiatric rehabilitation, and private practice.

 

I work with clients from many diverse backgrounds and have a deep respect and appreciation for what makes us different and unique. I strive to offer a friendly, accepting, and non-judgmental space in which to help clients develop the skills they need to cope with life's challenges, achieve their personal goals, and restore balance to their lives. 

I provide individual and group therapy to adults (18+) and
have a particular interest in working with clients who want
to address issues related to: 

  • Anger

  • Anxiety 

  • Boundaries

  • Emotional dysregulation

  • Impulsivity

  • Interpersonal difficulties

  • Suicide and/or non-suicidal self-injury

  • Trauma

Why "ERO"?

I spent a lot of time thinking about a name for my practice that would reflect my personality, values, and counselling approach. I created the acronym "ERO" based on the Hungarian word erő, which means strength, power, or force and is an homage to my Hungarian family heritage.  

The acronym ERO stands for "Embrace, Resolve, Overcome." Rather than continually fighting against a reality that we don't like, want, or agree with, I believe we must first embrace our current experience in order to resolve and ultimately overcome those elements that are most painful or challenging. In doing so, we gain a greater sense of confidence, self-worth, and inner strength. This philosophy informs the bulk of my work and guides how I support clients in therapy.

My Approach

I believe in the strength and capacity of each and every person to be skillful and effective when they have the tools to do so. I don't believe in lost causes, and I don't believe the cliches about old dogs and new tricks.

My two favourite words are balance and effectiveness (also chocolate, but that's probably irrelevant here). You'll hear me say them a lot, so much that you'll start to be able to finish some of my sentences. I will work with you to help fine-tune the skills you already have (why reinvent the wheel?) and develop the ones you don't, so that you can restore balance and be maximally effective in your life.

I believe strongly in collaborative relationships in order to tailor treatment to each client's individual needs and preferences. 

Theoretical Modalities

I consider myself a life-long learner and constantly strive to increase my knowledge and competency in evidence-based practices. I regularly attend workshops, conferences, and courses. I draw from a number of therapy models including but not limited to dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), coherence therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), mindful self-compassion, and polyvagal theory. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

My primary therapeutic framework is DBT, which combines cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness-based approaches and focuses on increasing skills to tolerate distress, regulate overwhelming emotions, and improve interpersonal relationships. It was originally developed by Marsha Linehan to treat individuals who were experiencing 

DBT in its standard form is a very structured and comprehensive treatment program that involves several elements including individual therapy, group skills training, and access to skills coaching. While I do not have the capability to offer a standard DBT program at this time, I do provide individual therapy that is heavily informed by DBT principles, where you can learn the same skills that you would learn in a DBT skills group on an individual basis. I currently run DBT-informed skills training groups in my private practice. 

My formal training in DBT includes:  

  • 40-hour Comprehensive DBT training with Dr. Michele Galietta, in partial fulfillment of requirements for DBT-LBC certification (2018)

  • Alberta CBT & DBT Clinical Skills Conference (2017)

  • Specialized training in the Application of DBT in Forensic Settings with Dr. Michele Galietta (2016) 

  • DBT Skills Part 2: Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation with Dr. Alexander Chapman (2015)

  • DBT Skills Part 1: Distress Tolerance & Interpersonal Effectiveness with Dr. John Wagner (2014)

In addition to course-based learning, my practical experience with DBT includes observation and facilitation of DBT skills training groups in both hospital and private practice settings, as well as taking a lead role in the development of DBT-based treatment programming and a DBT therapy milieu within the Forensic Psychiatric Rehabilitation program at Alberta Hospital Edmonton (2012-2018). 

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) 

CPT is a structured therapy approach for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is designed to help clients understand the nature of their PTSD symptoms and the impact that traumatic events can have on their lives and functioning. In CPT, we discuss how thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all interconnected and learn ways to challenge the maladaptive beliefs that might be keeping you stuck in the trauma. Once these "stuck points" have been identified and challenged, we will work on developing new, more adaptive ways of thinking instead. In CPT, you are encouraged to experience the emotions associated with traumatic experiences that you may have been avoiding (avoidance is another factor that often contributes 'stuckness').  

 

There are 12 modules in CPT, each of which is typically covered in one or two sessions (but sometimes more depending on the individual). We will monitor your progress and the intensity/severity of your PTSD symptoms throughout therapy with the use of self-report questionnaires, and you will receive worksheets and exercises to complete each week. If you find yourself avoiding the exercises or not completing them, we will discuss what is getting in the way and work together to overcome this avoidance as well.

  

My formal training in CPT includes: 

  • CPT for PTSD with Dr. Candace Monson (2013)

Coherence Therapy

Coherence Therapy (originally known as Depth-Oriented Brief Therapy) is a compassionate, non-pathologizing, person-centred approach to therapy that helps individuals understand the emotional roots of their thoughts, urges and/or behaviours. By uncovering the underlying emotional truths that drive behaviour and bringing unconscious processes into conscious, embodied awareness, Coherence Therapy can be a gentle yet effective means of producing transformational (meaning long-lasting, often permanent) change.  

My formal training in Coherence Therapy includes:

  • Introduction to Coherence Therapy and Memory Reconsolidation with Dr. Bruce Ecker (2020)

  • Coherence Therapy: Intermediate Weekend Intensive with Drs. Bruce Ecker and Sara Bridges (2021)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy has been heavily researched and shown to be effective to help people recover from traumatic events or other experiences that continue to cause pain and distress.  There is strong evidence for its efficacy in treating a range of disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

EMDR is more neurologically based approach to treatment and does not require talking in detail about the traumatic event or issue.  The goal is to help the brain reprocess distressing memories by using bilateral stimulation (activating both the right and left hemispheres of the brain at the same time) in the form of rapid eye movements, or sometimes, tapping. 

My formal training in EMDR includes: 

  • Basic EMDR Training with Dr. Roy Kiessling (2019)

  • Reconnecting the SELF: Reprocessing Early Trauma and Neglect in Implicit Memory with Dr. Katie O'Shea (2019) 

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