Karen Hvidding began her interest and work with children who had experienced severe trauma in 2001. She lived in former USSR and Romania from 2001 until 2008 and developed, designed, and implemented expressive arts therapies and psycho-social educational training in orphanages, NGO's, abandoned baby hospitals, and community settings.  In 2009, Karen moved to Australia where she worked in Disability, Mental Health and Family Support Services as a support worker and, upon completing a Master of Art Therapy, as an Art Therapist. She now works in the Gympie/ Wide Bay Queensland region.  


  • Currently completing a Master of Social Work at University of Queensland, expected completion November 2018.

  • Master of Art Therapy -Western Sydney University, Kingswood, NSW. (Two year full- time degree including post-grad level courses in social sciences, counselling, and art therapy).

  • Bachelor's of Arts (English and Art)- 1999, Ferrum College, Ferrum Virginia, USA.

Trained in
  • 'Sandplay' and Expressive Therapies (Turnaround Institute, Brisbane, QLD)

  • Choice Theory Basic Intensive (William Glasser, Rockhampton, QLD)

  • Instinctual Trauma Response Protocol (continuing education credit) Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont California, USA)

  • ASSIST suicide prevention (Rockhampton, QLD)

Experience includes
  • Working with children ages 6-18 in Damatkanivitchi, Belarus providing therapeutic interventions for children in state run institutions with complex traumatic behaviours (2002-2008).

  • Working with abandoned infants in Borovglaney Belarus providing attachment based care and intervention. (2002-2004)

  • Working with young adults and adults in Belarus and Russia, implementing psychosocial programs such as: Self-Esteem, Healthy Relationships, Effects of Domestic Violence, Women and Children in Violent Relationships (2003-2008).

  • Working with local area NGO's in Belarus and Romania to develop self-care strategies, staff supervision, and spiritual care practices for Belarusian support/social work/ institutional care staff(2006-2008).

  • Working with people in Australia using art therapy to provide support, skills, and resources for those with a mental illness/disability (or both) (2009- present).

  • Working with people in Australia to provide support and integration of trauma using art therapy (2010-present).

Future Plans
  • Working individually with clients (adults and children)in private practice

  • Establishing Art Therapy groups for people who experience mental health issues and for people who have a disability.

 A place to play, Australia New Zealand Journal of Art Therapy, vol. 10, no. 1, 2015.