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Why I Became
a Therapist

If you want to create the relationships and life you desire, then exploring who you are and choosing who you want to be isn’t a luxury… It’s a necessity.

I know.

I also understand if you’re resistant to the idea of professional counseling and psychotherapy. I get it.

I know what it’s like to not want help from others. I avoided asking others for help for years (decades even!), because the scariest thing I could imagine was to put myself in a position of needing the assistance of someone else.

But, when nothing else you’ve tried seems to work… When your mental and emotional discomfort turns to anguish… You can either keep trying to do the same things over and over again hoping the results will be different, or you can ask for the help you need and deserve.

“To have experienced and survived my own personal trauma has instilled within me deep empathy for my clients’ suffering, and a solid respect for the resistance to going into therapeutic work.”

– Mary Karver, LMFT, LADC

In fact, if I could turn back the clock a couple of decades and pass on only one piece of wisdom to my younger self, it would be that it’s OK to ask for help. There are a lot of things we all need help with and it’s perfectly OK to need and ask for that help.

This is a big part of why I’ve chosen this profession, though not the only reason…

You see, I remember thinking clearly from a young age that my family wasn’t “normal” and I wanted desperately to learn what other people did and how they lived.

I was taught early and often not to talk about my feelings, to conform to the status quo, and be independent.

Unfortunately, these “lessons” and my family life didn’t exactly lay the foundation for self-acceptance, creativity, and healthy relationships.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to make sense of my parents’ relationship and their relationship to me, sorting out what about my belief system, personality, and behaviors is truly me and what was influenced and shaped by the way I was raised.

These questions directly lead to my interest and study of human relationships, and to years of work exploring and getting to better know my true self.

And I’m still learning! It’s an ongoing process…

I’ve learned to overcome the feeling of what I call “terminal uniqueness,” and the isolation and fear that comes from believing that if anyone knew the real me, I would be alone.

I’ve learned that I am not alone, or unworthy, or broken. And I’m able to hold that stance for my clients because I know it to be true – it’s never too late to cultivate our excellence.

And I’m still learning that the process of living is NOT about figuring things out, but about BEING in relationship with people, places, and things.

Perhaps more than anything, I chose this profession because I see each and every one of us as fellow travelers and I feel blessed to be able to help others get the help they so richly deserve on their journeys…

How I Work


Before becoming a psychotherapist, I spent a good deal of time studying neuroscience and I still draw much strength and hope from the research being done on neuroplasticity.

While the work in therapy often looks a little “woo woo,” scientific research shows our brains are always changing and continually supports and validates the efficacy of tools such as art, psychodrama, sandtray/sandplay, directed journaling, dyadic resourcing, and mindfulness-based practices when it comes to creating healing and positive, lasting change.

Accordingly, I work to provide my clients with the highest caliber, evidence-based, counseling and psychotherapy.

And because each of my clients is unique, I work with each client to create a comprehensive treatment plan that fits their specific personality, needs, and objectives.

I work closely with each client to develop and (if necessary) retool a personalized plan for structured growth, and work to honor and engage whatever support systems they have in place, be it family, friends, caregivers, or living communities.

In short, I don’t believe one theoretical orientation or form of treatment is right for everyone and I don’t do “cookie-cutter” therapy.


What Can You Expect from Me?

If you want to be comfortable with who you are and learn to better trust your SELF so that you can create richer, more meaningful connections and relationships with others, I can help.

You are more than what’s happened to you in the past. And you can transcend the roles of victim, perpetrator, and rescuer.

I know… I’ve been there.

I’m familiar with many of the stumbling blocks, the self-sabotage, and the resistance, and we’ll invite them all to come out and “play” in our work together.

Psychotherapy is about making changes – letting go of beliefs about how life and relationships work that aren’t bringing you happiness.

Like most of my clients, you’ll learn how to reduce activation in the areas of the reward center of your brain, develop awareness of when and how your old survival responses are triggered, and acquire a variety of tools and strategies that will help you improve your resilience and increase your impulse control.

You’ll learn how to make life more “manageable” and act in ways that align with your core values instead of reacting in the ways you learned to survive.

You’ll learn to tap into your inner strength and create the support you need to face your anxieties and fears and deal with the painful feelings that feed the obstacles and symptoms you’re struggling with.

And you’re relations with others will improve as you learn to respect your own boundaries and allow others the freedom to be themselves.

Along the way, you can count on me to always tell you the truth, be objective, non-judgmental, transparent, and as thorough as possible.

I’ll give you guidance when and where I can but I won’t try to fix or change you.

My job is to give you the tools and freedom to explore your self.

As one of my colleagues likes to say, “Mental health isn’t about getting yourself to balance, it’s knowing you’re out of balance and loving yourself anyway.”

I’m also committed to helping my clients heal and thrive in all areas of their lives, including their physical and mental health, employment, relationships, finances, housing, and social support systems.

Perhaps most importantly of all, your restored personal integrity will guide your behavior. You’ll feel more alive and regain a sense of happiness. You’ll hear yourself laugh again and rediscover play. And you’ll embrace change, grow, and experience a life worth living… worth celebrating… YOUR LIFE.

Counseling and psychotherapy have helped me learn the value of leaning into our fears as well as discover the amazing things we can accomplish once a clearing has been made.

The result of processing what many of us have spent our whole lives avoiding is to know the mettle of our own resilience and the ingenuity of our inner resources.

If you’re ready to partner with an evidence-based trauma practitioner to move forward and reclaim your life, I’m delighted to talk with you more about HOW we will work and what you can realistically expect, and on what timeline.

But the bottom line is… You don’t have to go through the frustration, pain, and anguish alone… And you can create the healing, relationships and life you desire!

For more information about the professional counseling and psychotherapy services I provide, how I work, and how I can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me today or call 408-963-6694 ext. 422. You’ve got nothing to lose and the rest of your life to gain!


Mary Karver, LMFT, LADC
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #94580
Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor, #302536


  • MA, Marriage and Family Therapy – Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center
  • BA, English, History – College of St. Benedict

Additional Training:

  • Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality
  • Graduate Certificates in Addiction Studies: Service Provider and Public Health Tracks
  • Trained in 12-Core Functions of Addictions Counseling
  • Minnesota LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor)
  • SNAP (Student Network for Abuse Prevention)

Licenses and Professional Memberships:

  • IITAP (International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals)
  • SASH (Society for Advancement of Sexual Health)
  • Minnesota BBHT: Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC: 302536)
  • CAADAC: Registered Recovery Worker (RW2117), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Associate (CADACA 13680509)
  • Minnesota Certification Board: Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (BCC)

For more information about the professional counseling and psychotherapy services I provide, how I work, and how I can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me today or call 408-963-6694 ext. 422. You’ve got nothing to lose and the rest of your life to gain!

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