As an interpersonal communication consultant, on any given day I might be found behind the barbed-wire topped walls of a state prison observing a conversation between an inmate and an armed guard, or in Boulder chatting with a recently divorced mother over a cup of tea.
However, more often than not I am curled up in a cozy chair in my home office, either enthusiastically typing away on my macbook or wearing a telephone headset and laughing out loud. To my teenage daughter’s great chagrin, sometimes I am even wrapped up in a snuggie. (Don’t laugh! It gets chilly here in Colorado!)
Luckily my clients don’t hire me for fashion advice. They seek me out for insight, information, and strategies when they find themselves in stressful situations that require advanced communication skills such as co-parenting with an angry or uncooperative ex, stuck in an exasperating rut of ongoing power struggles with their toddler or teenager, feeling undermined and frustrated by a passive-aggressive colleague, or even hoping to de-escalate an angry and upset inmate without the use of physical force.
I have been involved with challenging communication contexts for over 25 years. A decade after earning my BA in communicative disorders and psychology, I graduated from Coach University, a life coach training program. However, most of my really useful credentials were acquired at the School of Hard Knocks. Divorced way back when my children were six and three, I have experienced more than my share of communication challenges and lived to tell the story. Figuring I might as well make lemonade from all those lemons, I have been in private practice as a parenting consultant specializing in high conflict joint custody situations for over a decade.
I am also trained as a Motivational Interviewing coach and critiquer, and for the past six years I have worked on contracts within the criminal justice system. I have listened to hundreds of hours of interactions between offenders and prison, parole, and probation officers. Believe me when I say I have heard it all and nothing shocks me anymore!
Related Links: Karen’s website at www.karenalonge.com; Karen’s blog where she posts free parenting advice in response to questions submitted by parents all over the world at www.advice-for-parents.com.