Carol A. Kivler

Online Profile
Author welcomes queries regarding

Nationally recognized speaker, author of 4 books, international executive coach and corporate trainer, Carol Kivler, MS, CSP, CMT is also a passionate advocate for mental health issues. A survivor of four bouts of treatment-resistant depression, she battled this devastating and debilitating mental illness with courage and faith to a full and sustained recovery.

Carol is an ardent advocate for consumers struggling with depression and mental illness. Through her four books, mental health presentations and Courageous Recovery, Inc., her 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, Carol works tirelessly to overcome stigma and misrepresentations that still surround those suffering from mental illnesses. Carol speaks about her lived experience and the treatment that saved her life, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), and shares strategies for maintaining sustained recovery and mental wellness. Her presentations resonate with mental and medical health professionals, consumers, their families and friends, inspiring compassion, understanding and hope.

For Carol Kivler, depression came out of the blue, to a happy, high-functioning college professor, wife and mother of three with no previous history of mental illness. Carol fell into a severe depression and was hospitalized. Despite a supportive family, caring friends and the best medical care available, clinical depression tightened its grip, completely resistant to psychotherapy and medication. With no alternatives left, Carol agreed to Electroconvulsive Therapy. ECT not only worked, it was her silver bullet out of the pit of depression. Despite three recurrences of clinical depression, Carol continued with ECT, recovering each time.

During her recovery periods, Carol received a master’s degree in human resource education and started Kivler Communications, a company that provides customized corporate training, development and international executive coaching. She also earned her CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) from the National Speakers Association. For the past 18 years, Carol has been living in recovery – proof that recovery is not just possible, it is probable.

In July 2014, Carol proudly founded Courageous Recovery, Inc. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to promote a mental wellness movement by advancing education, advocating nationally, and eliminating stigma surrounding mental illness.

Carol’s three best-selling books on depression, mental health and mental wellness have won multiple awards and a strong following among medical professionals, consumers and their families.

A sought-after keynote and workshop speaker, Carol addresses psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, HR professionals, disability managers, social workers, counselors, medical/nursing students as well as associations, organizations, school systems and government agencies.

Carol is a very popular mental health speaker at consumer conferences across the country. Attendees are motivated and empowered by her story and her message of hope and recovery. Carol serves on several boards and committees addressing mental health issues and has received numerous awards for her work.

Carol’s powerful and passionate telling of her very personal and harrowing journey profoundly impacts her audiences and the way they view mental illness. Carol wants everyone to know that: “People with mental illness want to be viewed as courageous survivors – to be accepted, not rejected; respected, not pitied; and admired, not feared”.



BY Carol A. Kivler • POSTED ON May 7, 2018

An executive coach shares her intimate and informative experiences to help dispel the stigma of clinical depression and electroconvulsive therapy.

By her own admission, Kivler (Mental Health Recovery Boosters, 2013, etc.) had a “charmed life”—she had a loving family, both parents still living, a successful husband, and three children, with a nice house, a dream job, and financial stability. The first attack of “the Beast,” what she came to call her clinical depression, was in 1990. And despite her best efforts to pretend to be OK, numerous battles with the monster and the insomnia accompanying it led to a psychotic episode in which she attempted to convince her husband that he and the children should join her in suicide. While she was hospitalized, medication did little to ease her symptoms, causing her to accept electroconvulsive therapy, with no small amount of hesitancy due to its reputation. Kivler’s recovery after numerous sessions is the driving force behind the book, which seeks to confront the misinformation and notoriety attached to ECT. The author calls out antiquated depictions of ECT in movies like The Snake Pit and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and recalls its barbaric past uses as “cures” for truancy or gay sexuality. The text skillfully walks readers through ECT’s process, starting with the administration of anesthesia and a muscle relaxant beforehand and sometimes talk therapy afterward; the difference between unilateral, bilateral, and brief pulse stimulus treatments; and the side effects, ranging from headaches to memory loss, though the book is light on statistics regarding their frequency or relapse. Utilizing a proprietary “Courageous Recovery Wellness Model” that stresses awareness, acceptance, and continued commitment to health, the volume confronts falsehoods about ECT and clinical depression head on with useful self-care tips and checklists for identifying symptoms. Versions of this model are included not just for consumers, but also caregivers and health professionals. Kivler’s writing is thrifty but surprisingly artful, particularly when speaking about her own experiences. Early on, she sets the scene of a hospital lockdown ward that could have been “on another planet,” a place where “we all lost our ability to walk normally. Feet never really left the ground as we slowly scuffed our way through the halls.”

A vivid and personal story that turns into an enthusiastic advocacy for electroconvulsive therapy.

Pub Date: May 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9844799-3-1

Page count: 154pp

Publisher: Three Gem Publishing/Kivler Communications

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2018

Will I Ever Be the Same Again?

Awards, Press & Interests


Mercerville, NJ

Favorite author

Alan Cohen, Jon Gordon, Brene Brown and Nicholas Sparks

Favorite book

Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson

Favorite line from a book

“Without expectations people cannot act responsibly. With expectations, most people are compelled to act responsibly” Ken Blanchard

Favorite word


Unexpected skill or talent

Good baker

Passion in life

Giving others hope for a better tomorrow

WILL I EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN? : TRANSFORMING THE FACE OF DEPRESSION & ANXIETY: Finalist Best Book Award "Health: Psychology/Mental Health" Category, 2018


Mental Health Recovery Boosters

A book of inspiration and reflection designed to move readers from mental illness to mental wellness and mental health. The 68 short but powerful essays stand alone with messages of motivational encouragement and personal accountability. Based on lessons the author learned during her journey out of mental illness, the inspirational essays encourage readers to reflect on daily choices and mental habits that affect their mental wellness. The mental health speaker discovered during her own journey that what she needed was an attitude shift – a shift from illness to wellness in order to sustain her recovery. Readers are encouraged to thumb through the book until they feel the urge to stop and read. Each thought-provoking essay is accompanied by a question that encourages readers to look more deeply into patterns that may be affecting their recovery from mental illness to mental health. Space is provided to jot down important insights. Attention to wellness can make a big difference in dealing with a mental illness, and answering the questions helps transfer the commitment of wellness into one’s own life. This powerful book will inspire you to hold yourself accountable for your own mental wellness and mental health. When you take the time to reflect on the essays and questions, you will be setting your wellness intentions out into the universe to manifest the life you were meant to live.
Published: June 1, 2018
ISBN: 9780984479924

The ABCs of Recovery from Mental Illness

This handy pocket-sized guide presents 26 proven strategies that help those recovering from mental illness sustain their mental health. From “Accept your illness – it’s not your fault” to “Zero in on taking care of yourself every single day”, it’s packed with practical suggestions for anyone striving to sustain good mental health and leave mental illness behind. The author was brought to her knees four times by “The Beast” – clinical depression. After her fourth episode she began exploring non-medical strategies for preventing relapse. It’s been 14+ years since Carol’s last episode of depression. She credits the strategies in this book with helping her, and many others that she’s shared them with, to sustain recovery and live a productive and fulfilling life. The book is sized so that it can be easily carried with you throughout the day, offering help as it’s needed. While small in stature, each of the 26 strategies offers evocative insight into non-medical options that work.