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Ms Karen Anderson


Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 5435
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO4.125  

Karen is a Lecturer in Social Science within the School of Arts and Humanities.

Current Teaching

2013 - undergraduate and post-graduate units in counselling and psychotherapy. Unit Coordinator and Lecturer for:

  • COU0102/COU1102/COU5112 Self Development 1
  • COU0105/COU3102/COU5105 Self Development 2
  • COU1202 Cross Cultural Therapeutic Practice
  • COU6322 Group Dynamics: Theories and Skills

Unit Coordinator for:

  • COU2101 Therapeutic Practice with Older Adults


Karen is an individual, couple and family therapist with extensive experience working within educational, welfare and health sectors throughout the past 30+ years. She is employed with Edith Cowan University as a Practitioner Scholar. As well as lecturing, Karen conducts a private practice in counselling, psychotherapy, training and professional supervision. As a clinical practitioner, Karen works psycho-dynamically and embraces a holistic approach towards assisting people to achieve psychological and emotional health and wellbeing. She has fulfilled a variety of professional positions including:

  • Senior Counsellor, Cancer Council of Western Australia – Cancer Counselling Service
  • Trainer in Cancer, Palliative Care, Psychosocial and Family Issues with the Cancer Council of Western Australia and the WA Health Department
  • Regular consultancy work with various hospitals and community agencies including The Kalparrin Centre (PMH), Mercy Services, Heart Kids WA, Solaris Care Cancer Foundation, Nulsen Inc., Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA, Rocky Bay  
  • Various advisory roles with the WA Education Department and Department of Family and Children’s Services

Karen’s original training was in educational psychology, teaching and cross-cultural communication and she has lived and worked internationally in Malaysia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea. She was jointly responsible for the establishment of the education system on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands between 1978–1981. During the 1980’s Karen worked with the Western Australian Education Department developing and implementing training programs in cross-cultural awareness, communication and TESL across primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Throughout the 1990’s Karen focused on developing her clinical counselling skills within the welfare field, working in child and adolescent residential settings and in the prison system. Karen’s areas of specialist knowledge and experience include: cancer, chronic and terminal illness; grief, loss and bereavement counselling; disability; cross-cultural psychotherapy; couples and relationships counselling; family therapy; group psychotherapy; sibling relationships; anxiety and depression.

Professional Memberships

  • Psychotherapists & Counsellors Association of WA (PACAWA) – Clinical Member 1998 - current. Executive Committee Member & Editor PACAWA Newsletter 2001 – 2007; Vice-President 2003 – 2007.
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) – Clinical Member 2001 – current Reg.No.20042. Training Standards Sub-Committee 2009 – 2011 and Chairperson 2010.
  • Australia & New Zealand Psychodrama Association (ANZPA) Associate Member 1996 – 2011.
  • Palliative Care Association of WA (PCAWA) 2001- current.
  • National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG) WA Committee Member 1994 -1998.

Awards and Recognition

National and International Awards

  • PACAWA Recognition Award 2007

University and National Teaching Awards

  • Nominated for Mental Health Good Outcomes Award October 2012 - Edith Cowan University Award for prevention, promotion and/or early intervention service or program.

Research Areas and Interests

  • Couples and Cancer – regularly co-facilitates multiple couple (14 couples) weekend workshops for couples living with cancer. Funding and support provided by the Brady Cancer Support Foundation Inc. and the Cancer Council WA.
  • Couples with a child with disability – regularly co-facilitates multiple couple (14 couples) weekend workshops for couples as parents of a child or children with a disability. Funding and support provided by Telethon, Lotterywest and the Kalparrin Centre.
  • Research interest in couples dealing with a double diagnosis – each partner being diagnosed with cancer and/or a chronic life threatening illness. Impact of early attachment style upon relationship management during an existential crisis as well influence of role reversals of care/patient role.


  • Master of Social Science in Counselling, Edith Cowan University, 1999.
  • Graduate Diploma of Arts (Counselling), Edith Cowan University, 1990.
  • Bachelor of Education, Edith Cowan University, 1985.
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