Licensed Psychotherapist & Mental Health Expert Margena Carter (appearing as an expert psychoanalysis on several episodes of TV One hit crime show Fatal Attraction; offering commentary on individuals whom committed criminal acts in the name of love). Has a decade of experience as a psychotherapist, with solid experience as a mental clinician, specializing in couples therapy, infidelity, divorce, trauma, severe mental illness, anxiety, depression, LGBTQ, addictions, self-harm, bi-polar disorder, personality disorders, self-mutilation, self-harm and much more with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. She is a certified, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapist with a solution-focused, humanistic- existential, mindfulness approach. As founder and CEO of Carter Care Therapeutic Services, a private group practice in Manhattan Beach, CA. , she manages a clinical private practice. Initiating 5150 psychiatric holds, and is an emergency room psychotherapist, hospice social worker, public speaker, life coach, expert witness and trauma specialization professor at Antioch University.
What brings you the most satisfaction as a Mental Health Expert and Licensed Psychotherapist?
Helping people heal from a mental health illness. Patient coming in for treatment with no hope often thinking that their issue is to big for therapy and assured that they’re destined to a life of pain. Giving patients hope and showing them a life that they never expected was a possibility.
Describe a typical workweek for a mental health expert.
Each providers schedule looks different depending on their specialty and the location of
treatment. The only thing we have in common is seeing a patient. Private Practice Therapist that own group practices often start the week on Mondays with administration. That includes billing insurance companies, completing paper work and returning phone calls. Most providers see clients in the evenings until 8 or 9 PM, as this is the time that most clients are free from work. I see clients starting at 9 AM, because I have a full time private and usually take two one hour breaks throughout the day. During those times I am completing notes from the days session.
What do you do when the family of a patient refuses to acknowledge the clients condition and treatment plan?
I provide the family with psychoeducation by reading through the DSM Diagnostic Statistical Manuel for Mental Health Disorders. So, families are able to see the symptoms in the DSM that match their families’ member behaviors. This usually works well as well as providing the family with emotional support and helping them to accept the emotional defensive mechanism of Denial.
What are the unique and different skills you have, as a psychotherapist?
Being able to de-escalation violent and extremely ill clients (someone suffering from
schizophrenia) and being able to identify very quickly a client who is delusional or experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices. I’ve worked for years in In-patient units, lock-down institution for mental health and working with clients who are so severe, they’re unable to be in the community has taught me how to calm down a psychotic client.
What’s the best part about your job?
When a client has reached termination is so shocked that they are exactly who they want to be. So shocked that they told me I want to be this and live this way and at the end of therapy looking bad and saying I am different. It’s so rewarding helping clients be who they want to be and achieve what they want out of life.
What’s one of your proudest moments in your career?
Opening my group practice was by far one of the proudest moments. Being able to heal clients and being able to give therapist jobs.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Attend therapy, travel alone and live alone. These three things help to develop character,
maturity and internal autonomy and confidence.
What are your top three healthy habits?
Being positive despite my circumstance. Exercise several times per week for mental and
physical health and eat healthy. I believe what you put into your body has a direct effect on your mental health.
What must be seen or experienced in person to really appreciate it?
Therapy! Often times people have a misconception of a therapy session and everyone who comes to treatment says, “It’s so different than what I ever imagined or saw on TV.” The only thing that therapy resembles from the movies is the eponymous couch.
What is something you will never do again?
I will never work in a methadone clinic again. Providing clean needles and doing needle
exchange for heroine addicts was so heart breaking and an awful experience for me. I have to be at the clinic by 4 AM, escorted in and there’s a line out the door full of heroine addicts looking for clean needles or exchanging used needles. Sweating profusely, because they’re detoxing. Even worse in when you see young people addicted to the drug by giving needles I somehow felt that I was contributing to their addiction.
How has your family shaped your personality and whom you turned out to be?
My family is very open, loving and accepting of everyone. Growing up in a big family allowed me the opportunity of navigating many different kinds of people, which was great from a career as a therapist.
How can people keep in contact-with you on social media?
Photographer is @davediamondframe on Instagram.