Compassion Strengths

Workshops, consultations, education and support for care givers.

Curriculum Vitae

Achieving Excellence

For most of my life I have been fascinated with achieving personal excellence; as a martial arts competitor and teacher, mental health therapist, manager and director, professional speaker, trainer and consultant. I can help your company or organization, maximize your human resources by utilizing state-of-the-art methods that will engage and empower employees to perform consistently at their individual and collective best. In my workshops, consultations and retreats I utilize activity-based, experiential learning modalities that will help you and your employees:
  • Recognize early warning signs of stress, burnout and depression.
  • Discharge the “energy residue” of cumulative stress.
  • Recharge body and mind with tools that replenish energy and enthusiasm.
  • Develop warrior qualities of mindfulness, focus and concentration.
  • See the advantage of harmony over conflict.
  • Understand the opportunity in every challenge.
  • Transform opponents into partners.
  • Create highly effective communication with co-workers and customers.
  • Generate and sustain satisfying, productive relationships.

 Workshops Training and Continuing Education

My unique perspective as a mental health professional who incorporates martial art philosophy into my workshops, consultations and retreats is forged from solid theory based on sound psychological principles and immediately applicable techniques that provide real solutions. Since 1997 I have given over 700 full day trainings to more than 30,000 professionals across the United States, Canada, SE Asia and the Middle East. Some of the highlights include:

  • Professional Educational Seminars Inc. (PESI) Provided over 400 full day continuing education seminars to more than 20,000 healthcare professionals in 50 states across the United States on various mental health topics including  post traumatic stress disorders, severe and persistent mental illness and compassion fatigue.
  • Veterans Administration.  Provided regional and local workshops to more than 1000 medical and mental health providers to help equip them to deal with the stress related to the burden of working with mentally and medically wounded soldier and their families.
  • United States Army, Navy, Air Force.  Trained over 1000 healthcare professionals from across the United States and abroad working with wounded soldiers on vicarious trauma.
  • Mississippi Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Aid Workers of Katrina. Worked with over 100 volunteer workers after Hurricane Katrina to help them deal with their secondary traumatic stress
  • National Council of Social Services, Singapore. Provided ongoing consultation and training to numerous voluntary welfare organizations who are on the front line working with severe and persistent mental illness.
  • Mubadala, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Health Authority, Al-Rahba Hospital, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Provided half, full day and 2 day workshops on stress management, effective communication and relationships, conflict resolution, compassion fatigue.

Professional Experience

12/2011 – Present: Thriving! at Work Project, National Council of Social Services, Singapore

 Contract services as a trainer and consultant for the National Council of Social Services. Researched and developed a "paradigm shift" approach to recover from stress, compassion fatigue and burnout utilizing the latest research from Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry by helping social workers:

  • Recognize how the unique stresses that accompany providing care and counseling for others can impact clients, workers, teams and the organizational culture;
  • Identify personal, client and organizational strengths as the foundation for Thriving!;
  • Embrace a strengths-based, solution focused perspective to help them Thrive!;
  • Maximize the power of positive relationships with clients, co-workers and teams;

09/2011 – Present: Clinical Supervision

Provide strengths based clinical supervision to professional staff for various family service centers and voluntary welfare organizations to engage, empower and educate care givers that honors and emphasizes what they do best.  It focuses on developing strengths, producing resilience, fostering vitality, and cultivating a positive work culture. Utilizing guided experiential  learning, participants discover how to maximize their strengths individually, in teams and as an organization in service of their clients.

1/2009 – 10/2011: American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Provided services as a consultant with the American Center for Training (ACT!) developing, preparing and presenting workshops on a variety of mental health related topics including stress management, communication and relationships, conflict resolution, compassion fatigue and others. Develop marketing plan and tools including website, brochures and fact sheets to market workshops to local industry.

  • Presented numerous workshops on stress management to industry leaders in Abu Dhabi such as Mubadala, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and others
  • Developed and presented a year-long series of workshops on Transforming Compassion Fatigue to the staff of Al-Rhabba Hospital
  • Provided a series of workshops for pharmacists on working with difficult clients sponsored by Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical company

 9/97 – 10/2008:  Mental Health Examiner Multnomah County Circuit Court, Portland, Oregon

For 11 years I have contracted my services with Multnomah County Circuit Court as a Mental Health Examiner in mental health commitment hearings. In these court hearings I act as an advisor to the Circuit Court Judge as to whether I believe, as a result of a mental disorder, that the allegedly mentally ill person presents an imminent danger to self and/or others as defined by Oregon State Statute.

  • Review medical charts, investigator reports and other evidence to render a mental health diagnosis.
  • Interview witnesses to gather first hand information to determine if allegedly mentally ill person has acted dangerously as a result of a mental disorder.
  • Perform mental status examination to determine if allegedly mentally ill person presently poses an imminent risk to self or others or is unable to provide for his/her basic personal needs.

 3/95 – 8/97 Columbia Community Mental Health: Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program Manager St. Helens, Oregon

This is a managerial position for a community mental health organization which requires considerable ability to (re) organize, develop and execute five interdependent psychiatric rehabilitation programs, train and supervise thirty professional and paraprofessional case managers in preparation for managed health care.

  • Develop and reorganize existing programs to keep current with organizational and operational goals.
  • Develop and implement policy and procedures consistent with the Oregon Administrative Rules.
  • Develop and implement program evaluation.
  • Responsible for the training, supervision and evaluation of thirty case managers and paraprofessionals
  • Responsible for developing a team approach to co-ordinate the care of over eighty consumers within five different services.
  • Responsible for the fiscal integrity of an annual budget of $1,800.000.00.

 1/92-6/94 Singapore Association for Mental Health, Republic of Singapore:  Clinical Director

This is a position of considerable autonomy within an Asian context, which requires self-motivation and direction. Its key functions include organizational, clinical and staff development, supervision, community education and outreach.

  • Assess existing service delivery systems by department and function. Develop policies to guide their operation.
  • Research, develop and implement new programs to serve the identified population and reach the population in need.
  • Develop a networking system among front-line service agencies to provide service to a population in need.
  • Develop and implement program evaluation.
  • Provide training and supervision to upgrade knowledge and skills of professional staff.
  • Develop an effective volunteer program.
  • Produce handbooks, brochures and fact sheets.
  • Provide outreach to the public through talks, delivery of papers and forums.
  • Field faculty advisor to students on placement.

 12/90- 6/91 Columbia River Mental Health: County Designated Mental Health Professional Vancouver, Washington

This position is an interface between the helping and legal professions. It requires the ability to make immediate and accurate assessments, provide appropriate disposition and produce accurate documentation in a court of law.

  • Perform investigations and evaluations to consumers alleged to be a danger to self or others or gravely disabled as defined by Washington State law.
  • Provide voluntary psychiatric hospitalization or involuntary detention as needed.
  • Provide expert testimony to Clark County Superior Court for mental health hearings.
  • Provide on-call services for consumers experiencing psychiatric, personal and family crises.

 6/81-12/89 Kaiser Permanente Mental Health: Crisis Intervention Specialist Bess Kaiser Medical Center, Portland, Oregon

This is the prototype intake case manager. It is a highly charged position, based in a very busy emergency room serving a potential population of 350,000. It requires considerable diagnostic skills as well as the ability to function effectively under extreme workload stress.

  • Provide immediate phone and face to face assessment for patients dealing with a wide range of psychiatric emergencies including: suicidal and homicidal ideation, domestic violence, substance abuse, major affective and psychotic disorders.
  • Provide disposition utilizing emotional stabilization, psychotropic medication, referral for on-going therapy, psychiatric hospitalization, voluntary and involuntary.
  • Provide brief, solution focused therapy for individuals, couples, groups and families.

 8/80-6/81 Pacific County Mental Health Department:  ental Health Generalist, South Bend, Washington

This position of a general mental health practitioner in a rural coastal town requires functioning effectively in a number of roles simultaneously, maintaining close relationships and networking with various agencies.

  • Provide individual, couple and family therapy.
  • Provide consultations to local hospital, social service agency and jail.
  • Perform Involuntary Treatment Act investigations and commitments to state hospital.

 Education, License and Certifications

  • Master of Arts, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, 1980. This is an intensive two year professional degree from the number one rated social work program in the United States designed to prepare graduates for leadership positions in social services.
  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Social Work, Wallace School of Community Services and Public Affairs, University of Oregon, 1977. Double major with strong enough academic performance to earn a scholarship to the University of Chicago.
  • Licensed as a clinical social worker, State of Oregon #2267. Professional license that authenticates expertise in the areas of diagnosis and treatment. Allows second party reimbursement as an authorized vendor. Requires 20 hours per year of continuing education in direct service and professional ethics.
  • Certification as a mental health examiner.  Specialized training and certification in the investigation, examination and diagnosis of severely and persistently mentally ill persons, Oregon State statutes and laws regarding mental disorders and involuntary treatment.

 Publicity, Publications and Products

Over the past 15 years developing my brand, I have been interviewed by the press including Forbes, Market Watch, Social Work Today, Yoga Journal, the New Times Singapore Newspaper, the Columbian Newspaper and others, am listed with numerous speaker associations including United Speakers Association, Walters Speaker Association, Professional Educational Seminars Inc., and Americas Continuing Education,  have written and published a book, numerous articles and developed several products that I market with my workshops.

  • Breath of Relief: Transforming Compassion Fatigue into Flow is a 242 page book published in 2005 that is authorized by the National Association of Social Workers for continuing education. Over 5,000 copies have been sold to date. It has recently been picked up by a national publication company and is being distributed nation-wide.
  • Qigong for Care Providers. This 20 minute production demonstrates and teaches 4 basic Qigong movements and the energy stance that will discharge the energy residue of compassion fatigue and enliven your body and mind with the enlivening energy of flow. This production was filmed at a Buddhist Temple in Singapore with martial arts master Simon Yong. Over 2000 copies sold
  • Social Work Today Magazine.  Wrote a series of articles for the leading on-line social work magazine including: The Art of Charting; Compassion Fatigue - The Heavy Heart; From Professional Risk to Self Expression; Vicarious Terror: The New Face of Compassion Fatigue and Body Awareness: Transformation Through Compassion Fatigue 

 Martial Art Training

Martial art plays a vital and ongoing role in my development as an athlete, a professional and a human being. It is at the core of many principles that I utilize as a workshop facilitator and trainer. It was essential in my recovery from burnout and depression and is one of the major vehicles for my personal growth. The art I practice is called Wu Ying Tao Kung Fu which means The Formless Way and forms the basis of Healer-Warrior philosophy.

  • Started training at age 13 and earned rank of Black Belt at 18, one of the youngest to achieve that rank in this style. At 19 owned and operated one of the first martial art studios in the northwest. Began semi-professional competition at age 19 in full contact karate earning distinction in local and national events. Retired from competition to enter graduate school at age 23.
  • Was introduced to Qigong and received personal instruction from Master Simon Yong in Singapore in 1991. Overcame burnout and depression remaining medication free for the past 19 years as a result of this training. Was awarded rank of Qigong instructor by Master Yong in 1998.

 Healer-Warrior Philosophy

Healer-Warrior philosophy is a synthesis of my life experiences as a martial artist and mental health professional and is the heart of my approach to work, love and life. It is guided by three core principles:

  • Self-honesty is the key. It is the primary, essential process that allows a depth of access into parts of your personal self that cannot be attained any other way. In this context, self-honesty means self-transparency—the ability to look inward to cultivate “in-sight.” Self-honesty is both a process and a skillful activity that can be learned and nurtured.
  • Personal responsibility is the degree of my willingness to take both individual and collective ownership for my perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors; my communication with self and others; all my relationships; and the conditions of my life that I am now experiencing.
  • Self-expression is the magic of transformation. When you become clear and open to the intuitive signals— the music of your Natural Self—you will begin to experience a deep sense of enjoyment and empowerment. Self-expression is the dance of energy and enjoyment of the Natural Self when allowed to play. 

A History of Excellence

From the science of forensic psychology it is known that the best predictor of future behavior is a pattern of past behavior. From the art of behavioral interviewing it is recognized that the best predictor of high performance in a potential candidate is a history of excellence. The following are samples from letters of recommendation from past employers, contractors and supervisors beginning with the most recent.

1/2008 – 10/2010 American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology: Mental Health Consultant

“Karl LaRowe was a consultant with the American Center for nearly two years who brought a dynamic speaking style rarely seen in the Middle East. His ability to engage and activate a normally reserved audience of varying cultures while providing an array of useful knowledge and skills is his gift.”

-          Dr. Yousef Abou Allaban, MD, MBA, ABPN, Medical Director

 9/97 – 10/2008  Professional Educational Seminars Inc: Professional Speaker, Author and Consultant

 “I would like to recommend Karl LaRowe without reservation as an acclaimed and sought after professional speaker, author and consultant whose collaboration with our company has been a tremendous asset. Our company contracts nationally with dozens of expert speakers and authors, training thousands of professionals nationwide and the reviews and feedback Karl receives are some of the very best in the company. Attendees at Karl’s seminars often cite his knowledge, wit, charm and compassion when applauding his effectiveness as an instructor. Karl creates an optimum environment for learning through his tremendous ability to connect with an audience and relate his clinical experience.”

 - Michael Olson: Mental Health Project Manager, PESI HealthCare, LLC

 9/97 – 10/2008  Multnomah County Circuit Court:  Mental Health Examiner

 “Karl LaRowe has worked closely with me for over five years as a mental health examiner during my tenure as civil commitment judge. During that time I came to rely heavily on Karl's outstanding insight and judgment in recognizing and analyzing complicated psychological issues. He writes clearly and succinctly under pressured courtroom situations, and is able to explain his reasoning in easily understood language while calling upon a broad range of scholarly and practical knowledge. I believe Karl would be an outstanding addition to any organization.”

 -          Judge Lewis Lawrence, Multnomah County Circuit Court

 3/95 – 8/97 Columbia Community Mental Health: Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program Manager

 “Your work quality is of the highest standard and the level of work you are able to achieve is consistently high in every regard. You have a solid knowledge of clientele and ever growing grasp of complex systems within this agency.  You are consistently reliable and conscientious. I can rely on you to get the job done and seek me out with positive and practical solutions already in mind. You have a tremendous capacity for great vision and will work hard to achieve it.”

 -          Cindy Beeks, M.A., Clinical Director (from 3/6/1997 performance appraisal)

 1/92-6/94 Singapore Association for Mental Health:  Clinical Director

 “Mr. LaRowe was instrumental in effecting dramatic improvement in the services provided by our organization. He enhanced the quality, accessibility, and utilization of existing clinical services and played a major role in developing two new services. In addition to his administrative duties, Karl provided extensive clinical training for our staff and for staff of other agencies in the community. He also conducted a highly successful series of stress management seminars, and was frequently interviewed by local mass media to promote awareness of mental health issues among the general public. In summary, we were particularly impressed with Mr. LaRowe’s commitment to his profession, his strong motivation, and his considerable abilities and versatility, both as an administrator and a practitioner.”

  -          Carl D. Bentelspacher, Ph.D., Chairman, Counselling Sub-Committee

 12/90- 6/91 Columbia River Mental Health: County Designated Mental Health Professional

 “Since joining us in late December you have been an asset to Columbia River Mental Health Services. You brought sound clinical skills, honed in your previous years of experience as a crisis services staff and outpatient clinician. You oriented quickly to the agency and the community. You performed good evaluations for voluntary and involuntary hospitalization. You were becoming a good expert witness for involuntary treatment hearings. Your working relationships were sound, and were valued by your peers. Should your path lead back to this area, we would welcome your working with us again.”

 -          Gary L. Rose, M.A., Supervisor, Crisis Services

 6/81-12/89 Kaiser Permanente Mental Health:  Crisis Intervention Specialist, Intake Case Manager

 “Karl worked at Bess Kaiser Medical Center in the Emergency Department from June, 1981 to December, 1989 as a Crisis Intervention Specialist with Emergency Psychiatric Services. Karl worked full time in a very busy emergency room. This group does emergent psychiatric interventions for a patient population of approximately 350,000. I worked with Karl as full time emergency medicine staff physician and Director of Emergency Services. I found Karl to be extremely dependable. His clinical skills were of very high quality. His clinical judgment impeccable. His patient interaction and rapport was excellent. The physician and support service staff in the emergency department enjoyed him as a colleague and peer. He was always upbeat and fun to work with. I would give Mr. LaRowe my highest recommendation in his capacity to deliver crisis intervention and particularly emergency services. His knowledge base is superb and he would be an asset to any clinic or department.”

 -          Michael R. Blahnik, M.D., Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine

 8/80-6/81 Pacific County Mental Health Department: Mental Health Generalist

 “Mr. LaRowe was an employee with this Mental Health Center during the period Sept. 1980 through June, 1981. He came to our center from graduate school. He held a ‘generalist’ mental health therapist position with our agency. Mr. LaRowe impressed me as an individual with an exceptionally solid theoretical base which allowed him to rapidly assume treatment responsibilities usually reserved for the more experienced therapist. He is remembered for an inquiring mind and the desire to continually learn and upgrade his treatment skills and body of knowledge – both theoretical and practical. I can only comment without reservation that Mr. LaRowe is one of the most exceptional young professionals I have had the privilege to meet. I have absolutely no question or reservation about his intellectual and scholarship capacity. I believe he has the desire, motivation and personality which will permit him to achieve his goals and make a substantial contribution to his professional field.”

 -          Roland J. Lindstrom, Director, Pacific County Mental Health Program

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