Where Families Find Support & Solutions


Our mission is helping
families find the best
option for their child.

If you told me on 70 days ago , when my son was transported to wilderness that I would feel so positive just 70 days later….I would have laughed.

“We are deeply grateful for everything that Karen did for our son, who has numerous learning disabilities. Our son was in his senior year of high school; Karen worked with us to uncover four programs which would allow him to learn, grow and be independent. One of these programs, which was located in Utah, fit him perfectly.He has been there for over a year now ~~ and is thriving, is happy, and has friends. But most importantly, he has a future now, thanks to Karen. The School Solution is an exceptional placement service ~ one of a kind.” MD

“The most amazing part of Karen is that even when you THINK you know what’s right for your child, she helps you understand why her suggestions are more beneficial. Couldn’t be happier with our two placements through Karen! “ ME

“Karen’s depth of experience and knowledge of this industry is extremely valuable especially if you have a complicated and “tough to place” child. Karen has helped us enormously with our child’s placements and he is currently doing very well. We are very hopeful about his future. Thank you Karen!” KM

Thank you, Karen, for all you did for me and my son.  You knew the best place for him…the only place for him.  You were right and you helped me accept this hard truth.  I am grateful for your influence, your guidance and your honesty as I navigated difficult months while he was in the wilderness and his transition to his program.


As a child and adolescent psychotherapist, I have sought Karen’s guidance on a number of my more challenging cases over the years.

When outpatient treatment reaches a standstill and/or the child or teen has engaged in self-destructive behaviors (e.g., drug or alcohol abuse; school refusal or failure; suicidal ideation or gestures, et al) Karen has been an invaluable resource to families (and therapists) attempting to locate the most appropriate residential treatment option for their child. Karen also works with kids and families with less pronounced difficulties who are attempting to locate a boarding school that will best meet a child’s academic, social and – in some cases – psychotherapeutic needs.

Karen visits schools and programs on a regular basis and is capable of selecting the appropriate program and even the “best” therapist for a particular child. She is “no nonsense” yet caring, warm and empathic when working with the children, as well as with their often bewildered, frightened and anxious parents.

Karen is genuine – there’s nothing phony about her – and succeeds where other consultants have failed to engage a family.

She follows the child (and family’s) progress as they embark on a journey that is oftentimes frightening and confusing.  She “hangs in and hangs tough” when the situation calls for her to do so.

Quite simply put – Karen Mabie knows her stuff! She is an impressive professional whom I am proud to consider as my colleague. I would not hesitate to recommend her to any of my clients or family members.

John Palen, Ph.D., LCSW







Karen is a terrific educational consultant and advisor to help our family find options for my challenged teenager.   She has identified key issues, drivers and important resource requirements for my son, with excellent clinical insights.  Karen’s information intake process, reflections and engagement processes helped find options for my son, align disagreeing parents and integrate others helping our family.    I am extremely delighted to work with Karen and recommend her  without reservation.   Karen knows that I am available for personal reference on request to her.  She is remarkable and an angel in my parenting journey.   – Mom of Teenage Son, Glenview, IL

I have known and worked with Karen for many years and have found her to be a dedicated and insightful professional. Her integrity and ethics are evident in her efforts to help families find the right fit for their child.

Karen’s greatest strength comes from her desire to know, intimately, the programs she refers to. With this knowledge she is able to straight forwardly give her opinion on what will be best for her client and their family. Her questions are directive and astute, and she understands a great deal regarding the importance of the philosophical nuances in how programs work with children. This, I believe, helps her target specific programs that match her client’s needed criteria on multiple levels. These clients regularly praise her for her insight and effective work in finding solutions to their long-term needs.

-Brad Matheson, Admissions/Partner Wingate Wilderness

Through the course of my life I have been asked to write recommendations on behalf of employees, students and business professionals.  I don’t need to be asked to write on behalf of someone like Karen Mabie who stepped into our lives and saved the life of our daughter.  We were at a critical point due to tragic circumstances and so close to the problem and so emotionally involved we couldn’t tell if the decisions we were making were right or wrong.  We called Karen and within a week our daughter was placed in highly specialized program with a therapist that was probably the very best person in the country.  Within 4 months due to the rapid progress our daughter made at this program  Karen advised us to place our daughter at a residential treatment program.  Again, this placement was excellent and our daughter felt safe, was healing and based on the advise again of Karen in conjunction with the team of professionals at that school our daughter was able to advance again.  Ten  months later she advanced again and was accepted into a therapeutic boarding school.  All of the treatment centers and schools recommended by Karen have worked out for our family. The child we have now has become strong and gained back her sobriety, her self esteem, her faith, her courage and her life. This catalog of events sounds so cut and dried but what was done by Mrs. Mabie went beyond just the placement of our child. There were the many calls we had with her at unbelievably critical and painful moments when her sound psychological counseling and compassion went above and beyond the call of duty.  There are many educational consultants out there as I have learned from meeting other parents at the schools but few of them have been as fortunate as we have in working with someone this knowledgeable, professional and compassionate.

-Parent of a daughter

Karen was immensely helpful when my ex-wife and I were confronted by a terrible problem — our very bright and engaging son had dropped out of high school, was using marijuana, and was drifting in life. Karen helped us find a placement for him at a wilderness program where our son learned to take responsibility for his actions. She then found a great place for him to go next — a farm where he could work with a mentor to implement the lessons he learned at the wilderness program while pursuing one of his great loves — sustainable agriculture. Without Karen we would never have found the farm, and our son would not have had the opportunity to grow the way he has.

– Parent of a young adult

Karen Mabie guided us through a scary stressful time in our son ‘s and our family’s lives, in a soothing, calm, confident way. She has a wealth of knowledge about substance abuse and the resources for treatment—schools, wilderness programs, in-patient rehab programs and after-care facilities all over the country. She found the ideal facility for my son’s recovery.   After three previous rehab attempts and numerous stints in sober houses, he is sober.

Karen found an in-patient recovery place that fit my son’s needs and personality, then she helped us find an aftercare place where he is flourishing and happy. The aftercare decision has in the past caused much frustration and conflict and that is when he has always relapsed almost immediately. This time, Karen not only found an ideal place for our son, but she talked us through how to be firm yet loving with him about going to one of the places she recommended. I trust Karen implicitly with any decision regarding mental health or substance abuse care for my family.

– Mom of young adult with addiction

Karen has carefully garnered relationships with outstanding programs, and even individual therapists inside the programs, ensuring a deliberate and effective match. She continues to educate herself to stay current and relevant in this fast changing field. Most importantly, she understands both the parent and the child.

The resources we have locally were (and continue to be) inadequate for the serious problems our daughter was having and our family was enduring. Ms. Mabie’s straightforward perspective lead us down a path we had no idea existed. Within thirty minutes of our interview we knew everything was going to change. She knew the story before we even finished it, which told us we had found someone who knew a way out of the stress, fear, and uncertainty that had paralyzed our family. We trusted Karen’s wisdom and recognized immediately that we might have hope for ourselves and our daughter if we chose to follow her guidance. We didn’t realize how dramatic the shift was going to be, but we understood we had to do something radical and she helped instill confidence in our decision.

We can say without hesitation that the last two and half years have been nothing short of transformative. At times it seemed like it was only painful and frightening — but now, we are reaping the rewards of peace and hope. Our family dynamics underwent a massive retooling and our marriage has been transformed. We could not have done it without Karen’s guidance and for that we are forever grateful.

-Parents of teen girl

“Our capable daughter was struggling in Middle School. We had tried neuropsychological testing, tutors and therapy to no avail. What was going on? Clearly she was frustrated. Was it an undiagnosed learning disability? Lack of motivation? We were looking at her attending a public high school the size of a community college with less educational support. Not a good fit for a student who was already struggling. We were concerned that our capable daughter would not graduate from high school when we contacted Karen Mabie of the School Solution. We are so glad we did!

Karen guided us through the process of identifying and applying for a boarding school that fit our daughter’s educational, psychological and social needs. Our daughter was very reluctant to leave home to attend high school. Karen spoke to her, identified her motivational interests and matched them to possible schools.

After visiting the schools, my daughter is excited to attend boarding school next fall! “As parents, we are confident that our daughter is in the best environment possible.” Karen was good humored, well informed and accessible. She referred us to an affordable psychologist who was able to identify a processing problem that our neuropsychologist had missed. Karen provided us with more information and an educational solution that worked with our budget. It is obvious that she cares about our daughter. Karen followed up, and we feel comforted that we have such a fine advocate for our daughter!”

I am grateful to The School Solution for supporting the work I did  with the parents and the client; I truly felt it! I enjoy collaborating with Karen. She has great awareness and insight. I think she is fantastic at what she does and would be honored to work with her  anytime, no matter the difficulty of the case.

We are continually grateful for our introduction to Karen, and all that she has done for us. Her expertise, knowledge, and commitment are beyond compare. Karen is not a corporation; she is one person who believes in the good that she can bring to others. As long as there is one more contribution that she can make to help her client’s journey, she will be by their side. A better friend one cannot have.

Even though we were in a crisis situation, Karen was very enjoyable to work with. She quickly assessed our situation and worked hard to find us the best school to meet our needs.

Karen offered us a very professional service which was of great help in finding our son the help he needed to get back on the right track. He was able to graduate high school and go on to college.

I am so grateful to Karen for navigating us through the world of teen help.