Staff Highlight: Elizabeth Carter, LPC, NCC

Take a few moments to learn more about Elizabeth “Liz” Carter, LPC, NCC, a primary counselor for dialectical behavior therapy at the Skyland Trail adult residential treatment program.

a portrait photo of Liz Carter, Primary Counselor
Elizabeth Carter, LPC, NCC
Primary Counselor – Dialectical Behavior Therapy

How long have you been at Skyland Trail? “I have been at Skyland Trail since February 2019.”

What made you want to go into the mental health field? “Growing up, I had great role models in my life who worked in mental health. They gave me a safe space to share my emotions and feel validated. Their leadership and empathy led me to want to explore and eventually join in as well.”

What’s your favorite part about working at Skyland Trail? “The team! Skyland Trail is filled with a mix of people and ideas. There is not a day that goes by that I have not learned or gained something from one of my coworkers. All of our different personalities and experiences positively add to my life as well as the clients’ lives.”

What’s one way you practice self-care? “I take vacation very seriously! It is important for all clinicians to model taking a break in order to recharge. Being a clinician is hard work! I truly believe in order to do my best work, I need to take a step back and take care of myself. Whether this is a quick 15 minute ‘vacation’ from my office to walk around the Butterfly Garden or taking a few days to be off campus, I do my best work when I can take time for myself.”

What are some myths you’ve heard about therapy or medications? “‘Just attending therapy will make me better!’ As much as I wish this statement were accurate, this is so far from the truth. Therapy is where you gain insight on your emotions and behaviors. The real work happens outside sessions and groups. This is when clients take what they have gained in sessions and use it to create and work towards a life worth living.”

How do you think the field of mental health treatment has changed since you started practicing? “The recognition of adjunctive therapies (art, horticulture, etc.). For many reasons, not everyone can gain insight through traditional talk therapy. Sometimes we need to get our hands in the dirt or see our emotions on a canvas in order to have that ‘Ah-ha!’ moment. Sometimes we don’t have the words to accurately express what or how we are feeling, and I believe it can also be played out through creative interventions.”

What (or who) inspires you? “Right now, a lot of my inspiration comes from the intuitive eating community and people like Evelyn Tibole, Caroline Dooner, and Sammy Previte. Rather than listening and responding to other’s ideas on how we should be doing or what we should look like, I challenge clients to look inward and build trust and connection within their own bodies. I believe society puts an unattainable idea on how our lives should look. Rather than burning ourselves out on trying to be perfect for others, turn inward and determine your own values, beliefs, and boundaries that you want in place for yourself.”

Favorite mantra or cheerleading statement? “‘You don’t walk into your first yoga class doing handstands.’ Slow down. Take perfection off the table, and build mastery into learning new things.”

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self? “It is okay to say, ‘I don’t know.’ There is a major difference between confidence and apparent competence. It takes confidence to recognize you don’t have all the answers.”