“I have never opened up to anyone in my life as I have with you.”
“Karina has a heart, is passionate and is loving, that makes her special. And she is always optimistic.”
Born in Chile, I found myself in my early twenties unexpectedly in Toronto, Canada thrust into working in the core of the business world. I knew right there and then I needed to go back to school. Business was not my calling.
And so began my lifelong study, beginning with a Diploma in Human Behavior and Counselling. With a drive to keep learning, I subsequently went back to university. In the process, I developed my passion for humanity, eventually earning a B.A. in Women’s and Equity Studies and later, an M.A. in International Mediation and Conflict Resolution.
In the process, I acquired many years experience as a social worker with women and families, and then people with a wide range of mental health issues and addictions. In time, I observed that there was more to the clinical practice of addiction treatment than the mainstream behavioural theories and dominant 12-Step approach to “just quit drinking, join AA and believe in a higher power”.
My constant quest was to understand what drives people to self-harming behavior. I became very interested in the way people cope with stress. What factors cause most of us to become so poor at coping under stress?
Adlerian Individual Psychotherapy
Following many more years of experience, including teaching college-level addictions counselling, combined with my own personal journey and therapy, I decided to return to school again pursuing a demanding Graduate Diploma in Adlerian Trauma and Psychotherapy. There, I did deep work on the many aspects of trauma and approaches to clinical practice as a psychotherapist.
“Karina looked at me and I felt connected to her. She was able and willing to read inside of me like in an open book. She even discovered pages which have been glued together in my childhood. I didn't remember.”
“Karina Inzunza is not just giving normal counseling, she has a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge, probably no one else has.”
At the same time, I independently studied with the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), learning how our lived experiences affect the brain. I discovered how the brain has its own capacity to regenerate by reformatting and creating new neural connections which enable the capacity to heal. Throughout these studies, I learned new clinical approaches and techniques for my work in the area of addiction.
Deep Study of Couples Therapy
In the past two years I have undertaken an intensive program under Stan Tatkin PsychD., founder of the PACT Institute (Psychobiological Approach to Couple TherapyⓇ). This has been very deep work giving me powerful innovative analytical and clinical tools to conduct highly effective couples therapy within my expanding practice.
My Integrative Approach
My professional influences are quite multidisciplinary. I learned innovative approaches to chronic conditions, depression and anxiety, and from there how to apply different techniques and practices. As a result, in my clinical work I draw on a wide range of influences and have integrated these into a personal approach that gives me great flexibility to respond to the needs of various clients.
Mentors Who’ve Inspired Me
I’ve been inspired by the work of Alice Miller, PhD, a German psychoanalyst on childhood trauma, Steven Porges, PhD on clinical applications of research on the Polyvagal system, Bessel van der Kolk, PhD on trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, Daniel Siegal, PhD on mindfulness and the brain, Pat Ogden, PhD on sensorimotor psychotherapy and somatic–cognitive approaches for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances, and Dr. Gabor Mate on trauma, addiction and compassionate healing. I’ve studied and incorporated the work of Stan Tatkin, PsychD with its fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience and arousal regulation in its application to couples’ therapy.
Ocean (or Lake) Therapy: A New Frontier
And most recently, as an intense lover of water myself, I’ve discovered the exciting new area on the frontiers of ocean (or lake!) therapy—and no better place than here to explore that with you!
My Personal Interests
I love water, especially the ocean. Swimming, snorkelling, SCUBA diving are all favourites. And meditation. In the water especially! I’m very active and enjoy working out or cycling. I spend time each day doing mindfulness meditation. I love music and dancing. Oh and I’m a voracious reader and eternal student, always taking advanced courses to further my knowledge. Plus I love to have very engaging conversations on WhatsApp and especially over dinners with my husband and friends, with lots of laughter.