Karen Horneffer-Ginter has been practicing psychology and teaching yoga and contemplative practices for over 16 years. She has also taught graduate students and health care professionals, along with directing a university-based holistic health care program, and co-founding the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The aim of Karen's work is to reconnect people with the wisdom of their inner-life by reclaiming what gets lost amidst the busyness of day-to-day life: qualities such as stillness, self-care, creativity, joy, humor, gratitude, and compassion. Her intention is to support people in finding a sense of balance and sacredness in their lives.
Karen graduated from the University of Michigan Honors College, and received a fellowship to the University of Illinois, where she completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical and Community Psychology in 1996. She also completed a year-long internship, focusing on mind-body medicine and biofeedback, at the University of Massachusetts, and then went on to become the Director of Behavioral Sciences at West Suburban Hospital of Loyola University in Oak Park, IL. In this role, she provided education to physicians and medical students in communication skills and biopsychosocial approaches to health care.
After moving back to her hometown of Kalamazoo, she served as Director of Western Michigan University's Holistic Health Care Program (HOL) for four years and received tenure as an Associate Professor. Her contributions to WMU include developing the undergraduate minor in holistic health, teaching courses on holistic philosophies and methods including spirituality and health, and publishing book chapters and research articles in the areas of psycho-spiritual approaches to counseling, health promotion, and the emotional benefits of journaling. She continues to teach in the HOL program as an Adjunct Associate Professor, while serving as the co-founder of the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness.
Karen has been offering psychotherapy since 1993, using a relationship-centered and whole person (mind-body-spirit) approach. She feels fortunate to have received academic training in a breadth of therapeutic orientations including humanistic, interpersonal process, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, feminist, and body-centered. This background offers a richness in her healing work with adults, couples, and adolescents. She has a particular appreciation for the Internal Family Systems approach to therapy (www.selfleadership.org), and has completed the Basic and Advanced Trainings to become a certified IFS therapist.
Along with her academic education and therapeutic training, Karen has studied numerous spiritual traditions and healing practices that have greatly influenced her professional work. In addition to her Christian upbringing, Karen feels grateful for her exposure to a variety of contemplative, mystical, and devotional spiritual traditions. She has been fascinated by studying and experiencing the common essence and unique aspects across East/West, masculine/feminine, and theistic/non-theistic religions, and has a particular affinity for heart-centered spiritual practices.
Her love of Hatha Yoga began in 1991. She was blessed to study for four years with her first teacher, who offered a transmission of the essence of yoga with profound simplicity and humility. She received her yoga teaching certification from Kripalu in 1994, and has continued her own practice since then. She is especially drawn to offering yoga from a contemplative and feminine approach, emphasizing the fluid movements that arise when we connect with our own inner wisdom with a sense of compassion and honor for our unique beauty. Currently, she offers "juicy yoga" sessions, which weave yoga with music, poetry, and reminders of the sacred.
Karen has studied and practiced various approaches to meditation since 1990. This includes her meditation training within the yogic tradition, as well as studying vipassana/mindfulness, Shambhala, and Christian centering prayer.
"My professional work reflects an integration of my studies in academia, and in various spiritual traditions and healings arts. It is also greatly influenced by my life experiences, including being a wife and mother of two children. I appreciate the "realness" that motherhood has offered to the many theories and practices I've been exposed to. It has redefined how I think about health and balance, and has brought a humility and humor to my life and work for which I feel especially grateful."