No stranger to major life challenges

With a background in nursing and a PhD in Organizational Psychology, Dr. Karen Wade had a successful career as a management psychologist and business consultant. Then adversity struck. She lost her livelihood in the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession. A promising joint venture then failed to be funded resulting in the loss of her home, car, and savings. She was fortunate to have relatives to help her get back on her feet, and she returned to nursing to support herself. Real tragedy struck in 2011. Her 24-year-old son shockingly died by suicide after an arduous, but hopeful, year-long recovery from a serious episode of bipolar disorder. She and her family were devastated by the loss. The process of working through difficult challenges, including the loss of her son, has given Karen a unique understanding of what recovering from life’s unbidden adversities, even traumatic losses, requires. Read more about Karen’s life and professional credentials here.

portrait of Dr. Karen Wade

Karen’s Keys to Survival, Recovery and a New Life

Name and honor the losses you are experiencing

Reconnect with your signature strengths and re-evaluate your deepest values

Invest in loving, positive, supportive relationships

Cultivate a hopeful, optimistic mindset

Try new actions known to enhance wellbeing in body, heart, mind, and spirit

Broaden and deepen your spirituality and/or relationship with Nature

Learn to listen to your body

Create an environment that is calming and comforting

Adaptive Transformation


I once imagined my life as an uninterrupted line from birth to decline. There would be some creditable achievements and great love sandwiched in the middle, of course, but time was a durable thing.

From Kate Bowler, How Cancer Changes Hope, Opinion, NY Times Dec 28, 2018 


There are events that we don’t sign up for in life: a serious illness, an accident that leaves us or a spouse disabled, children who are ill or have special needs, we lose the love of our life suddenly without warning, leaving us stunned, heartbroken, and disoriented. Life is interrupted. The disruption to our sense of ‘normal’ and to our routine is so all consuming that major adjustments are necessary. Human beings are wired for adaptation and we have resilience impulses built into our brains. Even so, some events are so disruptive, so painful, that they strain our normal coping and adaptation mechanisms. Such is the case in events considered traumatic or tragic.

Post-traumatic growth, a concept rooted in the sciences of resilience and positive psychology, can emerge in the aftermath of even the greatest of tragedies.  Science has proven that there are simple practices and routines that create wellbeing, allowing us to move forward into lives rich in wisdom, meaning, purpose, and even joy! Using her personal and professional experience, Karen has developed a process to encourage and support the process of healing and recovery after a serious misfortune, calling it “Adaptive Transformation”. The term Adaptive Transformation recognizes that we are being forced by unbidden, adverse events in our lives to undergo some major changes. To learn more about the Adaptive Transformation process, and to have an opportunity to benefit from it, please click on the button below.

Karen’s Blog

Podcast: The Nurse Keith Show

Podcast: The Nurse Keith Show

On February 3, 2020, before COVID-19 disrupted life and healthcare as we knew it, I had the honor of being the guest on the Nurse Keith Show podcast, We discussed my then recently released ebook, Should I Leave Nursing? 7 Steps to Career Clarity.  Keith Carlson’s...

Please Come Home

Please Come Home

I came home, physically, from my adventure in Mexico in late January. Surprisingly, a short-term psychiatric nursing job in my own town had become available. However, not expecting to have work nearby, I had sublet my home sweet home to someone else. I was...

The Healing Power of Awe

The Healing Power of Awe

Tomorrow I go home. I’ve been in Mexico for over a month. Something has changed in me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t think I will know what “it” is until I start living my regular life again in Ventura, California. It all started like...

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Karen Wade’s credentials include a doctorate in Psychology, with an emphasis in Organizational Development, and she is licensed in the state of California as a registered nurse. She possesses a national certification in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from the American Nurses’ Association Credentialing Center.  She is not a licensed physician, clinical psychologist, or psychotherapist. The information provided in this website, and through her advisement services is intended for informational, educational and inspirational purposes intended to inform, educate, inspire and encourage personal growth following unforeseen life tragedies. The information on this website, and the services offered by Dr. Wade, are not a substitute for medical, psychiatric, or psychotherapeutic consultation, diagnosis, and treatment from licensed professionals in those domains. The user has sole responsibility to consult with those professionals to maintain their physical and emotional health as needed. 

© Karen Wade PhD. All rights reserved