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I believe that we are ALL INCREDIBLE, exactly as we are, right now.

Hi, I'm Karen

 

and I work with women who are looking to learn how to be kinder to themselves, so that their dream life & recovery becomes a reality.

 

As a social worker, coach, supervisor and consultant I am a driving force for change, supporting society's most vulnerable and marginalised women, working with local authorities to advocate for policies that provide fast-track, responsive pathways to successful recovery. 

I have done this whilst seeking to reduce risk and the impact of trauma on both clients and the professionals who support them. 

Karen headshot

 

I’ve been working with women in recovery for a while….and there are some things I’ve noticed.

 

Perhaps you’ll see yourself here:

  • You’re super-bright but find it hard to understand why you are still making unhelpful choices

  • You sometimes (or a lot) try to spend, work, eat, restrict or exercise your way out of feeling your emotions 

  • You regularly give up on yourself

  • You thought that when you got sober or stopped self-medicating you’d be ok, but you’re not

  • You’re exhausted and feel pretty joyless

  • You’ve been trying your best but you feel so stuck.

​ 
 

I am here to tell you that there is hope. 

And I truly know that because I’ve been where you are.

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My Story

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I first got into recovery in 1996. I was promised that if I did the ‘work’ I would feel ‘happy, joyous and free’.

However after spending many years ‘working on myself’ I was constantly exhausted and over the next 15 years of therapy and attending all manner of 12-step programmes, I continued to feel ashamed and embarrassed that I was still in a dark and lonely place, causing myself harm and being so self-critical.

During this time I was a social worker in frontline services, running award-winning projects, managing a team, and fundraising for women exploited through their involvement in the sex industry.

 

I was a single mum to two incredible boys and I was in my dream job, had a First-Class degree and a Masters. I was respected, but I felt such deep shame about not being able to work life  out. I felt I should have known how to do this recovery/sober existence without feeling so stressed and overwhelmed.

Then in 2014, I reached an emotional rock-bottom and found myself in hospital following an infection I had ignored. I had become a workaholic and was completely unable to prioritise my needs and had not made the time to go to the doctors and seek medical help.

 

I was stressed, scared, desperate, unsure, out of ideas and deeply disappointed in myself.​

 

I wasn't being kind to myself in any way. My self-talk was critical and my self-care was non-existent.

Being hospitalised with an awful stress-related illness was a massive wake up call for me.

​I had neglected myself whilst being out there trying to save the world.

From that day onwards I made a commitment that I was going to support, encourage, reassure and comfort myself every single day.

 

No matter what…

​Once I began to feel better, I took a year off and trained to be a yoga teacher for addiction and mental health and a coach for high-achieving women who have a relentless inner critic...

​​I have now found a way to always back myself, especially when I get things 'wrong' or mess things up.

​I have found freedom, not just from active addiction and anxiety, but more importantly, from my own inner mean girl.

Believing in myself has led me to make seismic shifts in my work, advocating for vulnerable women not just in red light districts, but at a social policy level. I train local authorities throughout the UK on best practice guidance and I’m creating systems change.

 

Building a life beyond your wildest dreams (while also liking yourself in the process) is entirely possible for you too.

You deserve to fully thrive, breathe, take up space and live with deep inner knowing and peace.

You are not alone. And if you are here maybe you are ready to take your recovery and healing to the next level…

At the core of my work is a deep rooted commitment to helping you be kinder to yourself so you can create a life you love. 

Here’s how we can work together:

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Consultancy

Seeking a highly experienced, award-nominated, trauma-informed Consultant, Accredited Coach & Social Worker to deliver impactful training to your team?

Karen on the beach

Coaching Supervision

Looking for a safe space for you to talk about how things at work are affecting you on a personal level? I can support you with supervision.

Karen doing yoga

Retreats

Book in for a weekend of joyous self healing in the secluded Devon countryside, away from it all. Time to focus on YOU!

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Coaching

If you’re ready to do some life-changing work so you can live a life full of freedom, peace and abundance, step this way my lovely.

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Consultancy

Seeking a highly experienced, award-nominated, trauma-informed Consultant, Accredited Coach & Social Worker to deliver impactful training to your team?

Retreats

Book in for a weekend of joyous self healing in the secluded Devon countryside, away from it all. Time to focus on YOU!

Coaching Supervision

Looking for a safe space for you to talk about how things at work are affecting you on a personal level? I can support you with supervision.

Karen-Marie-Johnston-Recovery-Coach-Web-13.jpg

Coaching

If you’re ready to do some life-changing work so you can live a life full of freedom, peace and abundance, step this way my lovely.

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‘I’ve worked alongside Karen for ten years. In that time I’ve watched her grow from a woman with a big heart and big ideas to a phenomenal force for good. Karen walks her talk. She holds space beautifully and speaks from lived experience backed up by contemporary research. Karen has a keen intellect and desire for knowledge which supports her heart’s work. Karen has a profound understanding of the fundamental principles of how women are affected by trauma and how to create a map to move forward in this precious life. She has a phenomenal ability to present complex ideas with great kindness so everyone gets it. No woman left behind! I’m proud to call Karen my friend, sister and colleague. She’s a diamond.’
 

- Ali Woozley; midwife & trauma-informed yoga teacher

3 random facts about me:

My book collection is out of hand as is my trainer collection and essential oil collection.

My favourite film character is Alabama Worley in True Romance because she is all heart. I share her love of bright colours.

In 2020 we donated over £1500 to charities supporting women and girls who were in the care system and who had experienced sexual and domestic violence.

I believe passionately that:

  • ​We all deserve to love and be loved

  • Women in recovery deserve peace and joy 

  • Women in recovery deserve to like themselves

  • Women in recovery are some of the bravest people on the planet

  • Women in recovery need to have the time and space to rest and heal

  • We should all be able to reach out and find a hand

  • Sex workers are incredible human beings #decrimnow 

  • Local authorities should provide greater support to society's most vulnerable and marginalised women

  • Fast-track, responsive pathways into recovery are necessary

3 random facts about me:

My book obsession is out of hand, as is my trainer collection and essential oil collection.

My favourite film character is Alabama Worley in True Romance because she is all heart. I share her love of bright colours.

In 2020 we donated over £1500 to charities supporting women and girls who were in the care system and who had experienced sexual and domestic violence.

I believe passionately that:

  • ​We all deserve to love and be loved

  • Women in recovery deserve more peace & to feel deep joy 

  • Women in recovery deserve to like themselves

  • Women in recovery are some of the bravest people on the planet

  • Women in recovery need to have the time & space to rest and heal

  • We should all be able to reach out and find a hand

  • Sex workers are incredible humans #decrim now

  • Local authorities should provide greater support to society's most vulnerable and marginalised women

  • Fast-track, responsive pathways into recovery are necessary 

Women in recovery deserve to put their head down on their pillow at night knowing that they have done their absolute best and that their best is MORE than enough.

New Forest Woodland

Qualifications

📄 A highly experienced, award-nominated, trauma-informed Consultant, Accredited Coach & Social Worker (Registered since 2006). 

📄 Director at Self-Love Recovery Hub - an online community supporting women to access high quality, low-cost, trauma-informed interventions, modalities and holistic therapy.

📄 A “She Recovers” Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher.

📄 A 2 x Award-Winning Coach with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy (ICF Certified)

📄 Creator of “The Self-Love Affair” and "The Body Love Edition" group work programmes for recovering women and “The Self-Love Retreat” an award nominated residential event that runs 7 times a year and is always fully booked 

📄 Finalist in the National Diversity Awards for Positive Role Model for Gender (Women).

📄 First-Class Honours Degree in Social Policy BSc from University of Bristol.

📄 MSc Social Work from University of Bristol.

📄 ‘Holding Space’ Facilitator 

📄 ‘Beyond Anger and Violence’ Trauma-Informed.

📄 Practice Educator Social Work - Bristol University 

📄 Supervision Qualification – Managing Practice Learning Bristol University

📄 ‘Anchored’ Nervous System Informed Care

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I want you to know that you deserve to not only live a life beyond your wildest dreams, but also to like yourself in the process.

'Wow! Karen is one of the most powerful, courageous women I have ever met in my life. I honour her and her essence and passion. I know her presence on this planet inspires thousands of women. She is an incredible woman.'

- The Secret Millionaire, the late Dawn Gibbins MBE

Free 101 Resources

My 101 Resources for Women in Recovery E-book is brimming with book recommendations, podcasts, meditations, breath work & yoga, reiki, essential oils & so much more! You’ll also find listings of support groups for people in recovery from trauma, mental health, alcohol misuse, addiction, disordered eating & codependency. Used in the right way, this will be life-changing!  

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The Self Love Hub

Supporting each other. Together.

The Self Love Hub is a community created to give daily support & encouragement to women on a recovery pathway. 

 

It provides tools, tips and inspiration to all those who know they want to improve their relationship with themselves. 

We initially began offering support to women in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, disordered eating, trauma, grief, codependency or mental health. It’s transformed into a gorgeous community for all those who are looking to take care of themselves, in a more compassionate way.

 

You are incredibly welcome in this online haven of kindness. 

 

Join our FREE gorgeous community of supportive women. Providing you with daily resources on the journey to Self Love. Be the first to hear about upcoming events!

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