Karen “Coco” Carlsberg recently joined the Chocolate Crisis Center team as an outpatient counselor. She brings a unique perspective to the Center, helping patients identify, acknowledge, and treat the issues that can only truly be resolved with chocolate.
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Karen set out to conquer the world at age 18, traveling to France to attend college. After a year at the University de raison d’être, she began to understand why Denmark is known as the place with the “Happiest People in the World.” Facing a homesick crisis, she returned home to finish her psychology education at the University of Copenhagen.
As she prepared to begin her doctoral dissertation, Karen acknowledged her wanderlust and moved to Brussels. She was relieved to discover this decision would bring the happiness she did not find in France. The study resulting from her work in Belgium provided an in-depth look at the psychological advantages and disadvantages of raising a family in an ethnically and linguistically divided environment. It was here she earned her nickname “Coco,” as she often broke the ice with study participants by presenting her favorite varieties of Belgian chocolate. As Coco put the finishing touches on her dissertation, she also had confirmation of what she began to suspect when she lived in France: the connection between chocolate and a state of well-being is not a coincidence.
In addition to falling in love with chocolate, Coco began another love affair in Brussels, with her future husband Daniel. He traveled from San Francisco to Belgium often, as a buyer for a large American chocolate company. Swept off her feet, Coco bid Europe “adieu,” and moved to America to marry Daniel. The following years brought twin boys and a daughter.
Thirty years later, Coco is now a prominent author and psychologist. She has pioneered research that illustrates the benefits chocolate provides when consumed during a variety of crisis situations. Through personal experience and clinical chocolate trials, Coco has a depth of understanding that is unprecedented.
Coco and Daniel now reside in Colorado. Daniel manages their 200-acre guest ranch near Frisco, and Coco divides her time between the ranch and their downtown Denver loft.