- Individual Psychotherapy with Adults
- Cross Cultural Issues
- Crystal Methamphetamine and Sexual Addiction Issues
- Healing Sexual, Emotional, and/or Physical Abuse Survivors
- Healing Abusive Relationships
- Healing Perpetrators and Victims of Abuse
- Mid-life Issues
- Anxiety/Stress Issues
- Vietnam Veterans and Others
- Multiple Personalities
- Artistic and Exquisitely Sensitive People
- Mystic and Psychic Experiences
- Sex Therapy
Individual Psychotherapy with Adults
Dr. Karr has extensive experience with both short and long term individual therapy, and with facilitating support groups and couples therapy. He has extensive experience working with common issues such as intimacy, commitment, sex addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, identity issues, low self-esteem, guilt and shame, religious issues, body identity issues, workaholism and over-achievement issues.
He utilizes his extensive personal history and experience to help with coming-out issues, relationship issues, addiction issues, and others. He employs his extensive connections with organizations and resources in the Bay Area for client referrals.
Cross Cultural Issues
Dr. Karr has a good deal of experience working with clients from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These include South Asian (Indian), African-American, Chinese, Japanese, European, and Latino peoples. He studied Hinduism for five years with a Hindu teacher; and has worked extensively with South Asian clients. He has especially worked with South Asian women who are well educated and successful, such as PhDs, MDs, business executives, etc. These women present issues concerning dating, marriage and family.
They experience a good deal of conflict of role and identity as powerful women vs. their culturally defined role where such power is not understood or recognized. They often feel pushed in the direction of dating American or European men who are more accepting of them.
Dr. Karr has a good deal of experience and comfort working with African-American clients. He grew up in an inner city neighborhood, which was 80%, African-American. Most of his friends while growing up were African-American. As a result, he has a good deal more first hand experience, familiarity and knowledge of African-American culture than most non-black therapists. This aids him with sensitivity and understanding in his psychology practice with African-American clients.
Dr. Karr has had 28 years of clinical experience in San Francisco with multi-cultural demography. He has worked with diverse Asian populations including Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and others. His experience includes work with Latinos from various cultures including Mexico, as well as South and Central American. He has also worked with a number of clients from Europe including Ireland, France, Germany, Spain and Eastern Europe.
Dr. Karr’s personal family background provides him experience to understand and identify with clients coming from traditional extended family backgrounds, as opposed to the modern American nuclear family model. Dr. Karr was raised in a traditional Scots-Irish extended family. He grew up in a large house with a multi-generational family composed of his grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings. This traditional extended family more closely resembles many families who have immigrated to the US, such as South Asian, Chinese, East Europeans, and others. This extended family system is more typical of Latino and African-American families as well. Dr. Karr, having grown up in an extended family system, has a greater empathy and understanding of how important the extended family is to ethnically identified clients.
Dr. Karr has a clearly defined sense of his Scots-Irish ethnicity and culture. He has engaged in a good deal of study of Celtic culture and history as well as his own personal genealogy. He is aware of his ancestors going back eight generations in the US, who have maintained their own family culture. He has studied extensively, as a Jungian therapist, the concept of collective consciousness and ancestral consciousness. He believes strongly in the Jungian idea that it is important to study one’s genealogy and that one’s ancestors greatly affect one’s personal identity and behaviors. He, therefore, honors each client’s ethnicity, cultural background and genealogy and encourages clients to rediscover their ancestry if they are not already aware.
Dr. Karr has over twenty-five years of experience with clients who identify themselves as multiple personalities. A majority of these multiple personality clients that Dr. Karr has seen also identify as transgender persons. Most multiple personality persons have personalities, which are diverse in terms of age, gender, and sexual orientation. Many multiple personality persons with gender identity issues experience a good deal of pain concerning a conflict of genders among their personalities. A sex change operation would not resolve these conflicts because it might facilitate the happiness of one personality at the same time as creating pain and sadness for the other(s).
Therefore, sexual reassignment surgery is not a positive option for transgender multiple personalities. Dr. Karr takes a positive, accepting attitude towards multiple personalities. His therapeutic goal with multiple personality persons is to facilitate acceptance, communication, and dialogue between or among the different personalities, rather than attempt to destroy personalities and create one personality. He supports the process of creating a mediating personality who listens to the various personalities and is able to decide who is in the driver’s seat, who is in the body at a particular time. Dr. Karr’s experience of multiple personality persons is that they are often very intelligent, creative, and with a breadth of selves.
Our English language is not designed to fully express, understand or accept people who are multiple personalities, or have a transgender or inter-sexed identity. It is important with transgender and multiple personality persons to develop their language and understanding of their unique and beautiful natures. Most multiple personality persons report histories of intense emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Classically in the research on multiple personalities, the splitting of personality characteristics has been the result of intense ongoing emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Therefore therapy with multiple personally persons as with other abuse survivors, requires long-term therapy to develop trust. Also helpful are hypnosis, age regression to recover lost memory, and the teaching of psychological tools to deal with stress and fear.
Dr. Karr himself has experienced his own mid-life issues concerning failure, loss, disillusionment, aging, etc. Dr. Karr works with a number of clients forty plus, who enter therapy concerning mid life issues. These mid-life crisis issues may include dissatisfaction with professional or career life, dissatisfaction with a long term relationship or the lack thereof, spiritual crisis concerning the meaning or purpose of life, identity crisis concerning realizing that one has been leading one’s life to please others, family, friends, or society, rather than one’s self. Identity crises concern not knowing oneself or not liking one’s self. Dr. Karr encourages people to embrace the idea of change, of changing self, and of experimenting with new identities and experiences. Dr. Karr’s spiritual philosophy includes the idea that change is a necessary aspect of being alive. He believes, like other Jungian psychologists, that we can go through different reincarnations of ourselves in a given physical lifetime.
Research in longevity and happiness has indicated that people who live to be over one hundred years have certain characteristics. These characteristics are associated with successfully going through mid-life crises. Such characteristics include embracing and enjoying change, having a positive attitude about pain in difficult situations, continuing to try new things and be active in the world, doing things that one enjoys for oneself, finding a higher purpose for one’s life and contributing to the world, i.e. volunteering, community work, artistic work, having close and intimate relationships with other people, nature and animals. Dr. Karr encourages clients going through their mid-life crises to explore and embrace the maturing process of becoming an elder.
Dr. Karr works with a number of clients who have anxiety and stress issues. He works with them using a number of cognitive behavioral methods aimed at reducing anxiety and stress. These include meditation, hypnosis and systematic relaxation. He also works with such clients in a holistic way to identify their lifestyle and thinking patterns, which may be contributing to their stress and anxiety. In addition to using teaching methods to reduce anxiety, other suggested methods include going to the gym, taking walks in nature, taking warm baths, etc. Dr. Karr encourages clients to begin to make choices in their lives which eliminate stressful relationships, jobs or ways of thought.
Vietnam Veterans and Others
Dr. Karr began his extensive experience with Death, Dying, Loss and Bereavement during his year-long internship in 1974-1975 at the VA hospital in Seattle, Washington. At that time he was working primarily with Vietnam Veterans who were heavily damaged physically and emotionally. Many of these men were dealing with issues related to lost limbs, lost self-worth, living with various disabilities including drug addictions and physical and emotional disabilities, as well as clients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other related issues. Since that time, Dr. Karr has continued to work with veterans of other wars and also veterans who have had difficulty with being gay in the military.
Physical. Emotional, and Sexual Abuse Survivors
Since 1970, Dr. Karr has worked extensively with people who have experienced physical and emotional abuse as children and adults. He also has extensive experience with clients who have experienced sexual abuse and molestation as adults or as children within or outside their family of origin. People who have experienced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse often experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms as do war veterans.
Dr. Karr takes a long, slow, and supportive approach with clients suffering from PTSD and abuse issues. Trust and the lack of trust are major issues for such clients, and it takes a long time for abused people to trust a therapist enough to share and remember their experiences. Dr. Karr works with a holistic approach with such clients that includes teaching relaxation methods, positive visualization, and positive shielding/imaging, He also works with hypnosis, age regression, and guided journeys in order to assist clients to remember, re-experience and catalyze the trauma. When appropriate, gestalt and psychodrama methods may be utilized in order to help the clients’ body remember, re-experience and catalyze the trauma. This method is particularly useful when used in Dr. Karr’s therapy groups.
Artistic and Exquisitely Sensitive People
Dr. Karr as a gay man, an artist, and sensitive person, has developed a good deal of expertise in therapy with other highly artistic and sensitive people. It is a common experience of artistic and sensitive people to be put down and told that they are over-sensitive. Dr. Karr over the years has developed methods of teaching artistic and exquisitely sensitively people how to deal better with their emotions and sensitivities. Dealing better with being an artistic or sensitive person includes developing a shield of protection and being self-confident and being proud rather than ashamed of one’s emotions and sensitivities. Dr. Karr, as an artistic and sensitive person, has learned how to maintain proper boundaries with others and how to shield and protect his deepest inner feelings from insensitive people.
Dr. Karr worked with a number of visual artists, musicians, actors, writers, film artists and dancers. He is experienced in helping clients work through creative blockages and balancing their lives in terms of issues of money and personal relationships.
Mystic and Psychic Experiences
As a Jungian transpersonal therapist, Dr. Karr has worked extensively with people who identify themselves as being mystic and/or psychic. He is able in therapy to help mystic people cope with their subtle reality experiences and yet deal with the real material world. He helps people to differentiate between mystical visionary experience and a psychotic experience. He teaches mystics and very sensitive people methods of meditation and guided visualization in order to protect themselves and be more grounded in this material world. The difference between a visionary and a psychotic experience may be a thin line, but an important one
Mystics perceive that they have had a subtle or other world experience and know the difference between it and a “this-world” experience. A psychotic is unable to identify the difference between a psychotic experience and a “this-world” experience. Our modern American culture does not have an extensive language to identify different subtle or inner world experiences. It is the purpose of transpersonal therapy to help mystic clients to develop constructs and language to understand and better describe their subtle and other world experiences. Dr. Karr is experienced and adept at helping mystic clients explore their subtle experiences.