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Bio of Karen Signell

(pronounced Sig-NELL)


B. A., Wellesley College, English Literature
Ph.D. ,University of Colorado, Clinical Psychology
Postdoctoral Degree in Community Mental health, San Francisco, U.of California
Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology (ABBP)
Postdoctoral in Community Mental Health, University of California
Certified Jungian Analyst, International Association of Analytical Psychologists
Certified Sandplay Therapist, International Society for Sandplay Therapy


Ph.D. examination “with commendation”
Annual award, California Mental Health Association

Professional Work

San Mateo County, clinic: individual and family therapist, consultant to agencies and schools, taught community consultation to clinic staff, director, NIMH grant to publish my work with community volunteers teaching parent-child communication courses in English, Spanish and Samoan.
Faculty, C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.
Private practice

Professional Presentations

The American Psychological Association
American Orthopsychiatric Association
Sandplay Associations (American and International)

Professional Publications

Seventeen articles and chapters in professional journals and books
Co-author, Sandplay Studies.
Non-fiction book
Wisdom of the Heart: Working with Women’s Dreams, Bantam Books
(Starred review in Booklist; reviews in professional journals
In translation:
Random Century Rider (England and U.K. edition)
Sogides (French edition)
Seishin Shobo (Japanese edition)
Walter Verlag (German edition)
Glydendal (Danish edition)
Ágora (Portuguese edition)
Later edition in English: Fromm International


BBC Radio: Primetime interview with emcee Johnnie Walker in London.
Radio interviews: Danish radio, KFPA Berkeley, KJAZZ.
Bookstore readings, standing room only, San Francisco Bay Area; San Mateo, on live TV.

Recent fiction publication

Co-author of a fiction book (vetted by a Cleopatra scholar): Welcome to Florida: Ancient Egyptian Geese.

Early Fiction Publications

Three stories on animals in The Red Cross Journal
(A reprinted story of one of the stories in Using Language, a textbook, Macmillan, 1960
A story in The Foreign Service Journal

Short Personal History:

Karen was born in 1935 in Rockford, Illinois, raised outside Milwaukee until after 4th grade when she moved to the Maryland countryside outside Washington, D. C. After her freshman year in college near Boston, she spent a year in Djakarta, Indonesia where she worked as a reporter. Back at college, one summer she worked at a horse ranch in the mountains of Colorado. Then, after her doctorate in Boulder, Colorado and her postdoctorate in San Francisco she worked as a therapist in San Francisco for decades, then retired to live 9 years near Aspen, Colorado where she began the Smokey book in 2000. She then moved near the Atlantic Ocean in southern Florida where she completed the book in 2014.

Personal Interests

Formerly: writing, reading, riding horseback, scuba diving, skiing
Currently: reading animal books and nonfiction, snorkeling, watching wildlife on TV