Dr. Carla Carter began her career working in education. She received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University. She furthered her education at National Louis University by earning her first master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Carter went on to earn her Doctorate in Education and System Reform from Loyola University in Chicago. Upon deciding to change careers, she attended Adler School of Professional Psychology and earned a master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis in mental skills and performance.
Dr. Carter has dedicated herself to learning about how trauma impacts people’s lives. She is especially interested in attachment focus trauma and how the trauma from our childhood influences all of our other relationships. While working with individuals, she takes the “What happened to you?” approach to learn about that person and what their life has been like. She believes that to heal, the client needs to learn how to connect what they are thinking, with their emotions, as well as the various sensations that are happening in their body. While there is a place for traditional talk therapy, she finds that the combination of mind-body techniques provides her clients with the tools needed to overcome the obstacles in their lives. These techniques come from her use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neuro Emotional therapy (N.E.T.), and mindfulness.
Dr. Carter recognizes that the process of healing from trauma can be overwhelming and is always seeking ways to help her clients heal. She has begun to realize that the traditional method of coming in once a week may not be the most effective way to deal with the complex issues that trauma brings. She currently is offering alternatives to this week-to-week approach. The basic component of these alternatives is longer sessions and therefore she calls them Intensives. These longer sessions can be half day (3 hours) or full day (6 hours). The length of the Intensives and the number of days is determined through consultation and collaboration between Dr. Carter and the client.
As a certified mental performance consultant (CMPC), Dr. Carter works with individuals, groups, and teams to develop the mental skills necessary to gain the added skills necessary to take them to the next level in whatever they are doing. Examples of people she has worked with as a CMPC include business individuals and groups, individual athletes, or other performers such as actors or singers, parents of athletes or performers, groups working towards a common goal such as weight loss, and the various leaders of groups such as coaches, principals, CEOs, and athletic directors. Dr. Carter stresses that mental skills can be taught and are separate from one’s talent.
“Therapy is more about building new associations, making new, healthier default pathways. It is almost as if therapy is taking your two-lane dirt road and building a four-lane freeway alongside it. The old road stays, but you don’t use it much anymore.”
― Bruce D. Perry, What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing