Karl Laves, Ph.D.
Office: 409 Potter Hall
Licensed Counseling Psychologist
Research & Teaching Interests
My primary duties are with the counseling and testing center; I do teach on occasion and have taught courses in the counseling and student affairs program, the psychology department, and the psychological sciences department. My interests parallel my counseling and testing center duties; I am interested in suicide prevention and intervention, grief, identity development, assertiveness, and spirituality. I really enjoy consulting and advising with other faculty and staff to promote healthy student development and services.
I am a former guidance counselor and assistant principal who did not want to grow up, so I entered a doctoral program at the University of Missouri-Columbia and came to WKU to work in a college counseling center. I love my family, I love my job, and I love to eat. I like to use humor and encouragement when working with students and I like to challenge people to see their own strengths. I believe that life is too short to be miserable and too precious to be cautious.
Over the years I have discovered that people come to counseling for one of two reasons. Either they know what is making them unhappy and they want to learn how to change it, or they want to figure out what is making them unhappy and then change it. So in either case the person wants something to change....people that don't want to change probably don't need counseling. I think most people want to change something that doesn't need to be changed; that is, the problem that most people have is that they think they have a problem. They don't trust or respect who they are; they spend too much time comparing themselves to others and wishing they could be different. I try to help people figure out what they think is wrong, and then decide if it really is wrong; since most of the time they aren't wrong at all, they just think they are wrong. I encourage people to take risks, to test out new things, and to use their imagination to grow, but not change, their identities. Complaining is a good way to start counseling, but then I like to move to action because I believe we all have more control over our lives than we think. I support the use of medication when appropriate, and I think good food and exercise can always help any kind of anxiety or depression.