Betty Carter

An ardent and articulate feminist, Betty Carter was instrumental in enriching and popularizing the concept of the family life cycle and its value in assessing families. Carter entered the field of family therapy after being trained as a social worker, and emphasized the importance of historical antecedents of family problems and the multigenerational aspects of the life cycle that extended beyond the nuclear family. Carter further expanded on the family life cycle concept by considering the stages of divorce and remarriage (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon).

Carter's interest in family therapy was stimulated by taking part in a family therapy field placement at the Ackerman Institute as part of her M.S.W. requirements at Hunter College. She quickly became an avid student of the Bowenian model, and served on the staff of the Family Studies Section at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Bronx State Hospital with Phil Guerin and Monica McGoldrick. Carter left the Center for Family Learning to become the founding director of the Family Institute of Westchester in 1977. Carter served as Codirector of the Women's Project in Family Therapy with Peggy Papp, Olga Silverstein, and Marianne Walters, and has been an outspoken leader about the gender and ethnic inequalities that serve to keep women in inflexible family roles.

Currently, Carter is an active clinician and specializes in marital therapy and therapy with remarried couples (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon). Her work with couples focuses on helping her clients to understand their situation and to address unresolved family issues. Carter incorporates tasks, such as letter writing, which serve to intensify and speed up the communication process and help couples move out of rigid patterns of behavior.

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