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Spotlight Series – Kai Johnson

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Kai Johnson, LMFT, LMHC, CAP – Primary Counselor, HeadWaters at Origins

Both of Kai Johnson’s parents were born in Norway, and he comes from a long line of reindeer herders called the Sami people from arctic Scandinavia. This interesting fact means that Kai (whose name translates as “earth” in the old Danish language) is no stranger to cold weather — he was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. Kai is also very used to moving around the world and living in amazing places: Norway for five years; Germany for two years; Hawaii (where “Kai” means “ocean”) for three years; Seattle for three years; and now sunny South Florida. Kai says it is a privilege to help others as he was helped in his own recovery.


What have you learned through your experience working in treatment?

Engagement is the strongest tool we have; it comes from honesty, integrity, and compassion.

If there were only one thing you could tell us about working in the area of treatment, what would it be?

I have been working in the field for many years, and I like the more complex cases because they are more challenging for me than any other population group.

Do you hold any credentials or certifications, or do you participate in any other professional activities outside of work?

My certifications include: LMFT, LMHC, and CAP with an MS in Addictions from NOVA Southeastern University.

Are you in recovery yourself? If so, what do you love most about being in recovery?

I celebrated 40 years in recovery this past May. The things I love most about being in recovery are my faith, hope, and experience — along with the fellowship of the recovery community.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any pets or engage in special hobbies?  Is there anything else you might like to share?

I am a Second Dan Tae Kwon Do. I enjoy oriental painting and writing. I also have two monster cats; both weigh 18 pounds!

For more information regarding the many programs of Origins Behavioral HealthCare where Kai Johnson works, please visit: for more information about HeadWaters at Origins visit: