My Services

My professional training has prepared me to provide psychotherapy from a systems perspective for individuals, couples, and families. This perspective looks at the individual and individual problems in the context of their family, organzation, or relationships. In session we explore and assess how the system deals with:

  • Problems
  • Pain
  • Power
  • Performance
  • Plans
  • Pleasure
How we experience (individually and systemically) these factors impacts our view of the past and the vitality of the present and the future.

All human systems have:

  • Personalities
  • Developmental Life Stages
  • Relationships
  • Resources
  • Characters
  • Values
  • Means of Self-Perpetuation

Questions that are generated from these system components are:

  • How do these operate in your personal system?
  • How well does the system deal with pain, loss, and conflict?
  • RCan it make significant decisions to support long and short term plans?
  • Does it reward positive behavior, celebrate success, share power, and focus on performance?
Individual adjustment within the system usually produces change in the whole system. In session I attempt to help those present to consider new possibilities for interaction using their own stengths and creativity.

I also am well trained in addictions counseling using motivational enhancement, cognitive behavioral, and 12 step recovery techniques. These techniques have proved effective with those who struggle with addictive behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual addiction, and eating disorders.

About Carl L. Potter III, LCSW

Carl Potter, LCSW

I grew up in Essex, Vermont and moved to North Carolina in 1986 to attend college at UNC-Wilmington. I graduated in 1990 with a degree in English Education and became a high school teacher and coach. My interaction with young people and their families as an educator drew me towards a professional shift into counseling.

In 1996 I was accepted into the School of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill and began my training as a clinical social worker. I graduated in 1998 with a masters degree in social work, and worked thereafter as an adolescent substance abuse counselor for the Orange County Mental Health Center where I gained valuable experience as a psychotheapist.

In February of 2000, I moved into private practice and have continued to serve families, adults, couples, and adolescents in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area.

Currently I am in practice in Durham, North Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Psychotherapy is a psychological treatment intended to help the patient resolve emotional difficulties through a relationship with a professional -- the psychotherapist. The psychotherapist is specially trained and (we hope) gifted in establishing and maintaining healthy, therapeutic relationships with people.

Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. Although credentials, training, and experience are important, by far the most important factor is whether you feel you can connect with that person. Here are some questions you should answer when considering a particular therapist:

  1.) Is the therapist licensed?
  2.) Does the therapist have training & experience in the issues of interest to me?
  3.) Does the therapist show an interest in and understanding of my concerns?
  4.) Is the therapist able to talk to me in language I can understand?
  5.) Does the therapist explain how he or she would work with me?
  6.) Does this therapist feel "right" to me—do I feel understood and safe?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors and have an M.D. degree. They are especially trained in the understanding and management of medications, and only an M.D. can prescribe medication.

Psychologists have either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. degree. Psychologists have extensive training in human behavior and emotions, as well as in assessment and testing for emotional or educational functioning.

Other types of licensed therapists include licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) and marriage and family therapists (MFTs). Some nurses receive special training to provide psychotherapy.

In North Carolina, clinical social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists are the main psychotherapy practitioners. Each licensed profession is considered equally competent in performing psychotherapy.

Clinical social workers provide mental health services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders in individuals, families, and groups.Their goal is to enhance and maintain their patients' physical, psychological, and social function.

Educational Requirements:
Clinical social workers must have a master’s or doctorate degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical experience. They must undergo a supervised clinical field internship and have at least 2 years of postgraduate supervised clinical social work employment.

Clinical social workers are approved providers in most insurance and managed care plans, and practice in the following settings: private practice, medical facilities (e.g., hospitals), mental health clinics, child welfare agencies, schools, community organizations, places of employment.

Clinical social workers may be licensed by the state in which they practice. Requirements are prescribed by state law and include education, supervision, experience, and a written examination.

Often psychotherapy requires recalling and talking about unpleasant aspects of your history or your present situation, which can bring up uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, anger, or shame. Although it may be necessary to talk about painful or embarrassing subjects, the role of the therapist is to be nonjudgmental and understanding.

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.

The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. The benefits available thorough therapy include:

1.) Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values, developing skills for improving your relationships.
2.) Overcoming specific problems such as depression or binge eating.
3.) Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy.

There are, however, no guarantees about what therapy will do for you. Some people find that participating in psychotherapy results in changes that were not expected.

During sessions you are expected to talk about your concerns and issues, and between sessions to think about what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading something or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

As a therapist, I work collaboratively with you. I tend to be interactive -- asking questions at times, providing feedback, or making suggestions.

The first few sessions are devoted to evaluation and getting to know you. At the first session I will attempt to get a sense of the problem from your perspective, and by the end of that session, I will give you my initial comments, including what I am hearing as the problem or issue that brings you to therapy, what your goals are for therapy, and how I suggest we may achieve these goals.

Periodically throughout our work together, we will refer back to these goals and our treatment plan to assess our progress. Therapy concludes when you feel that you have made satisfactory progress toward your therapy goals.

If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, our first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before our direction is clarified, and during the course of therapy, your goals may change. Some people don't like to establish goals, preferring a more spontaneous approach. Identifying a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.

Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. Other people feel that they can only afford to come every other week. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions.

I will work with you to establish the frequency and length of sessions that can reasonably achieve your goals and meet your needs.

All information disclosed within sessions is confidential and may not be revealed to anyone without your written permission except where disclosure is required in the following circumstances:

1.) In North Carolina, disclosure is required by law if I have reasonable suspicion or knowledge that a child (a person under the age of 18) or an elder (someone 65 years or older) or a dependent adult (someone with a physical or mental limitation that restricts his or her ability to carry out normal activities of daily living) is the victim of abuse or neglect.

2.) If I have reasonable cause to believe that you may be dangerous to yourself or that you are threatening serious bodily harm to another or to the property of another, it may be necessary to disclose confidential information in order to prevent the threatened danger. This may involve seeking hospitalization for you or contacting family members or others who can help provide protection for you. In the case of potential harm to others, this may involve notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalization for you.

3.) Disclosure may also be required pursuant to a legal proceeding. In situations in which you claim that your emotional condition is or was an important element, I may be required to provide confidential information or give testimony. Be aware that if you waive the Privilege (i.e., your right to confidentiality) related to a legal proceeding, you waive it in full, and all that you have disclosed in therapy can become part of the legal record.

Occasionally I participate in case conferences or seek consultation on a case with another professional. Although case details are discussed with other professionals at such times, names and identifying data are not revealed. Furthermore, the consultant is also legally bound to keep all information confidential.

Unless you object, I will not tell you about these case conferences or consultations unless I feel it is important to our work together.

It is difficult to predict how long therapy will take. Usually therapy ends when you and I decide that you have made satisfactory progress in achieving your goals. Some people achieve this in just a few sessions; others continue therapy for years before they feel they are ready to leave.

Generally, symptom-focused therapy, such as overcoming an anger problem, is shorter, while an uncovering, insight-oriented therapy takes much longer.

You have the right to stop therapy at any time without further financial, legal, or moral obligations, other than those already incurred. However, it is a good idea to discuss your plans to end therapy well in advance so that you and I can discuss your progress and wrap up any lose ends. The longer we have worked together, the more sessions we should plan to use to bring our work to a close.

Some people decide to stop suddenly if difficult issues come up in therapy or with the therapist. Rather than just quitting at such times, it is best to discuss your feelings with your therapist.

If for any reason you decide to terminate therapy before your goals have been satisfactorily achieved, be sure to talk with me about why you wish to end prematurely. I want what is best for you, and if something isn't working for us, perhaps I can refer you to another therapist.

If financial or other difficulties arise, perhaps you and I can find a solution that will allow you to continue therapy.


I generally take an active, experiential, approach with those I serve. You may be asked to engage in outside reading, practical exercises, etc. Change may be difficult and require much effort, however, therapy and counseling has been shown to be an effective method to promote change and adaptation.

Your appointment time is carefully planned and set-aside specifically for you. If a conflict arises with a scheduled appointment, please call to reschedule or cancel so we can fill your appointment time from my waiting list. Failure to cancel within 24 hours of an appointment time will result in a $150.00 fee. Failed appointment times cannot be billed to your insurance.

Each session lasts between 45 and 50 minutes and starts at the top of the hour unless otherwise arranged. Insurance companies rarely allow for more than one session per week and have caps that limit the number of sessions covered per year.

Standard & Managed Care
Fee Schedule

Standard & Managed Care Fee Schedule

My standard fee is $150.00 per clinical hour. I work with various insurance plans, but mostly as an "out of network" provider. This means that I am not subject to their fee rate adjustments. If I am "in network" with your insurance company, then I accept their rate schedule rather than my standard fee.

In addition to clinical sessions, I offer the following services:

  • Report and letter writing: $100.00/ hr. I will pro rate this activity to the quarter hour. Various reports include: Substance Abuse Evaluations (non-DWI), Mental Status Exam, etc.

  • Consultations, physician referrals, school conferences, etc.: $50 per ½ hr. Consultations are becoming increasingly important because of the benefit of a "team approach" to problem solving. A physician referral necessitates a report and often requires a verbal communication. A Release of Information form must be signed prior to the exchange of any information. Visits to other professionals offices or schools must include travel time in addition to time spent in consultation.

  • Telephone Calls. I do not prefer to do counseling via telephone; I maintain a very efficient schedule and am only personally able to receive emergency calls. I prefer you to leave me a message on my voicemail and I will do my best to return your call within 24 hrs. If, however, you must do a consultation over the phone I will charge $25 per ¼ hour for that service.

  • Court Appearances, testimony, depositions, or expert opinions: $1000.00 per day or any part thereof when one week or more notice (including a subpoena) is received. $1500.00 per day or any part thereof, when less than one week's notice (including a subpoena) is received. Due in full on the date of service. These services are not reimbursable by insurance carriers.

Forms & HIPAA

Provided below for your convenience are links to several forms that are frequently used in my practice. These documents require the free Acrobat Reader plug-in to view.



This notice describes how health information about you (as a patient) may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to your individual identifiable health information as required by the privacy regulations created as a result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Please review carefully.

Office & Contact

5003 Southpark Drive, Suite 1 Durham, NC 2771



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