Karin Mitchell, '76

Finds strength in hometown, opens own practice

For those that say they are too old, if you want it and you do not let anything get in your way, you can do it.

Karin Mitchell knew that her age and the hardships she endured would not stop her from reaching her career and education goals. At age 62, she opened her own counseling private practice in her hometown.

Mitchell, a Fremont native, started taking classes full-time at Terra State in 1976, right after high school. She enjoyed her time at Terra State, except for her psychology class because the professor’s learning style was inadequate for her educational mindset but this did not steer her away from the psychology profession. She remembers enjoying her criminal justice classes and even yoga.

She lost her way, moving to Austin, Texas after escaping an unhealthy relationship after being the victim of a traumatic assault. Two years later, she came back to Fremont and got married and lived with her husband and first born daughter, before moving to Middletown, Ohio. After 14 years of marriage and a divorce, Mitchell was a single mom of four girls, providing for her family.

After her girls had grown and moved out, Mitchell decided to go back to school in 2012. Her oldest daughter lived in Spokane, Washington so she decided to move there and became a student at Spokane Community College. She finished two years at Spokane Community College with an emphasis on psychology. Her Terra State courses transferred, making it easier to complete her degree.

After 2 years in Washington, her spiritual journey led her back to Ohio, after much hesitation from Mitchell. The air was crisper and she was healthier in Washington, but she followed where her heart said she was meant to be. Mitchell came back to Cincinnati and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati’s psychology program. She graduated in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and continued to receive her Master of Arts in mental health counseling in 2018. During her graduate studies, she completed a fellowship experience with transitional youth and worked as a counselor for First Step Home, a facility for women who were struggling with addiction.

At age 60, she graduated with her master’s degree. In 2020, she was approved for her license to be an independent licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) and started her private practice in Fremont. Mitchell now splits her time between her private practice and providing counseling for Terra State students and employees.

“I started this journey at age 54. For those that say they are too old, if you want it and you do not let anything get in your way, you can do it,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell was not always interested in counseling. Aside from criminal justice, she enjoyed art and history. After becoming an empty nester and going back to school, she decided on psychology and wanted to get her Ph.D. before realizing what it entailed. Even though she enjoyed teaching and research, Mitchell wanted to work hands-on with clients.

“I’ve always been into listening and helping people and others throughout my life and a friend said that I would be good as a life coach. So, I thought maybe but wanted something deeper,” said Mitchell.

She faced many challenging times in her life, which has helped her connect with clients who are facing similar issues. As she got older, she realized that the best thing to do was to face her challenges.

“Considering everything I went through…you can’t run away from your problems. Face them head-on,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell encourages students to find their passion and go for it, no matter who tells you otherwise.

“Don’t take a course of study that someone else has suggested for you. Find out what your passions are and choose something that you will never get bored doing,” said Mitchell, “Then, pursue it relentlessly and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way.”