Skip to main content
Karen Mackie headshot

Karen Mackie

Associate Professor (Clinical)

Counseling & Human Development

PhD, University of Rochester (counseling)
MS, University of Rochester (counseling, family, and work-life studies)
BA, State University of New York - Geneseo (psychology)


Karen Mackie is a counselor educator and clinical supervisor at the University of Rochester with over 20 years of experience in the field. She was appointed the outreach coordinator for counseling for the Warner Center for Professional Development in 2001 and since 2005 has been a member of the clinical faculty in counselor education at the Warner School. She is a nationally certified counselor (NCC), a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), an approved clinical supervisor (ACS), and a permanently certified school counselor in New York State. She has also been a practicing professional counselor in mental health, addiction, private practice, college, and public school settings during this period. She has a long-standing interest in the post-modern therapies including feminist-systems, narrative, collaborative language and relational-cultural approaches to clinical work. Her teaching and scholarship in counselor education is informed by these perspectives, as well as by her experiences using expressive arts modalities and improvisational skills to develop the holistic capacities of counselor trainees in the classroom, and as they systematically attempt to improve clinical outcomes in the school and agency contexts where they work.

Mackie’s teaching focuses on preparing the next generation of counselor educators and practitioner-researchers; the application of feminist, relational-cultural, and post-modern perspectives to counseling; family and interpersonal systems counseling; and the incorporation of spirituality and creativity into counseling practices and perspectives in community mental health and educational settings.

In her concurrent role as the director of clinical training for mental health counseling, she is interested in the design of professional development and supervision that allows therapeutic professionals to continuously evolve and re-situate their practices. Her ongoing research explores the nature of professionalism for counselors and therapists in relation to the preservation of practitioner service ideals within challenging employment contexts. Her research has focused on the ways in which counseling and supervision as forms of professional work, are sociologically understood, and on how counseling professionals are sustained in the kind of work they do through attention to the moral centering and psychological features of their activity. Mackie also studies the ways in which social class intersects with other cultural variables in shaping the self-narratives of both therapists and clients, influencing their experience of life transition.

She has published work in the books Culturally Alert Counseling (Sage, 2020), Integrating the Expressive Arts into Theory Based Counseling Practice (Springer 2018), Social Justice and Counseling (Routledge, 2018) and Women Scholars: Navigating the Doctoral Journey (Apple Academic Press, 2019) and Critical Incidents in Child Counseling (ACA 2006). Currently, she is working on applying understandings about embodiment, reflectivity and imaginal capacity in therapeutic work to explicating the artistic aspects of counselor supervision and therapist development, reflecting her long-standing scholarly and practitioner interests in the intersections between psychotherapy process, arts & spirituality and the social construction of the helping professions.

A former performer and teacher in dance at the community and collegiate levels, she also maintains a small private practice incorporating narrative and collaborative language therapies, along with expressive arts methods, into her work with individuals, couples and families, and regularly presents at state, national, and international conferences in counseling and counselor education.