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Karen H. Ross

Associate Faculty, Master of Counselling Program

I hold a PhD in Counselling Psychology from the University of Calgary and work as a Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practice in Vancouver, BC. My doctoral dissertation explored tensions amongst multiple discourses of postsecondary student mental health, and ways in which students navigate self-understanding(s) and emotional problem-solving via these discourses; it was named Best Doctoral Dissertation of the year by the Counselling Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association. I bring a strong background in student mental health across four universities (UBC, SFU, University of Calgary, and York University), a commitment to pluralism in counselling knowledge, and training in collaborative and postmodern approaches including narrative therapy and systemic family therapy.


More than any specific research topic, I love to share my fascination with qualitative research methods – how each unique method can spark its own fresh and generative questions to yield rich, surprising insights. I have a particular soft spot for discourse analysis and ethnography, and know that excellent research can inspire wonder and awe (unique to each reader – for me, two such books are Moral Laboratories by Cheryl Mattingly and Care in Practice, edited by Mol, Moser, & Pols). My research attention can be captured by all sorts of things, but especially by ways in which truth claims and authoritative practices of mental health are established and contested in public discourse.


I strive to teach in collaborative, appreciative, respectful, and dialogic ways – coming alongside students and joining in their unique curiosities and motivations. I am inspired by Gert Biesta’s notion of world-centric education, whose purpose is to encounter “what the world is asking of us,” and by Hartmut Rosa’s (2016) concept of resonance, that is, a “relationship to the world, formed through affect and emotion, intrinsic interest, and perceived self-efficacy, in which subject and world are mutually affected and transformed” (p. 298).

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