Karen Roller, PhD, MFT

Karen Roller


Associate Professor

Contact Information:

(408) 512-7600




Karen Roller, PhD, MFT, is a somatic psychotherapist oriented from the attachment and trauma resolution* perspective. She served the foster care and migrant community of Santa Cruz County for 15 years; prior to that, she worked in juvenile detention diversion programs addressing disproportionate minority confinement; autism recovery; and taught bilingual special education. She had a private practice for three years, and has since taken a position as Clinical Coordinator at Family Connections in Redwood City.

Dr. Karen Roller received her B.A.s from Saint Marys College of California, her M.A. from John. F. Kennedy University, and her Ph.D. from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute; her dissertation  was  on the neurophysiological effects of a somatic intervention. Prior to joining Palo Alto University, she taught at Bethany University for two years.  

As a Clinical Traumatologist and Compassion Fatigue Therapist, she has published on trauma training in counselor education programs to increase trauma-sensitive treatment for underserved populations, and reduce risk of Compassion Fatigue in counselors. In collaboration with Global Trauma Research, she is performing trauma training and outcome research in Haiti. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, and a Diplomate in the National Center for Crisis Management.

*Attachment-based trauma resolution as an evidence-based practice is drawn from the work of Mary Ainsworth; Amini, Lannon and Lewis; Susan Aposhyan; John Bowlby; Christine Caldwell; Ray Castellino; Richard Davidson; Diane Fosha; Mary Main; Wendy Anne McCarthy; Andy Newberg; Peter Levine; Bruce Perry; Wilhelm Reich; Allan Schore; Charlotte Selver; Judyth Weaver; Thomas Verney and others.  Integrating a variety of somatic psychology modalities with pre-and perinatal psychology theory, attachment-based trauma resolution addresses the biopsychosocial needs of the human from conception forward, with the end goal of earned secure attachment for those suffering with insecure attachment.

Areas of Interest:

Trauma assessment and resolution, Compassion Fatigue prevention, Attachment, Somatic Psychotherapy, Outreach

Talks and Lectures:

Somatic Psychology with Dr. Karen Roller

Selected Publications:

Chen, D., Roller, K., Kottman, T. (Jan, 2021). Adlerian family play therapy: Healing the attachment trauma of divorce. International Journal of Play Therapy. Manuscript accepted for publication in January 2021 Special Issue.

Roller, K., Saint-Jean, F., Louis, E., Barnett, J., John, P. (Dec, 2020). Culturally-Responsive Mental Health Outcomes and Trauma Training in Haiti. Caribbean Journal of Psychology. Manu-script accepted for publication in Dec. 2020.

Roller, K. (May, 2016). The need for universal trauma training in counselor education programs. American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. http://www.aaets.org/articles%20zoom%20directory/search.php?zoom_query=The+Need+for+Universal+Trauma+Training+in+Counselor+Education

Websites and Other Relevant Links:

Global Trauma Research 2015

Global Trauma Research Google Document