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Karen talks about uncertainty, the frozen smile, anxious attachment, trans-generational trauma, good parenting and about learning how to self regulate.


Karen Dougherty is Toronto-based psychotherapist and documentary filmmaker.

In her practice she works to help patients through periods of adversity, transition, and instability to deepen self-understanding, establish emotional regulation, and build resilience. Her key areas of interest are repetitive bad-object relations, trans-generational trauma, and existential issues. She is a Candidate at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis.

As a filmmaker, Karen specializes in psychoanalytic, history, and social issue documentaries. Her current project, funded by PEPweb, explores the world of Columbia University Researcher Dr. Beatrice Beebe, whose frame-by-frame video microanalysis of mother-infant communications has revolutionized our understanding of attachment.

Recent collaborations include research and consulting on the CBC POV documentary Girls Night Out, about young women and binge-drinking culture (Directed by Phyllis Ellis, produced by White Pine Productions, premiering on CBC’s Firsthand on February 25, 2016); The Nature of Things documentary The Equalizer (Kensington Communications), about sports psychology and technology (airing on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 8PM on CBC); and, also with Kensington Communications, Risk Factor, a point-of-view documentary for TVO about the psychology of risk (in production).

As a psychoanalytic consultant on documentaries she helps filmmakers tune into their subjects, listening for and capturing unconscious communications and provides guidance on dealing with trauma and maintaining boundaries.

Karen has a Master’s Degree in English Literature (McGill) and a Master’s in Psychoanalytic Studies (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield).

For more information, visit

You can also catch another interview I did with Karen here.