Carolyn Bogott: Carlton is a warm presence in therapy

Published 6:48 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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Bethie Carlton’s calm, reassuring, and wise demeaner are evident as she describes her work as a therapist with Independent Management Services.  From early in her childhood, she remembers being interested in the interactions of people. As a grade schooler, Bethie enjoyed being part of a conflict resolution team. Throughout her later school years, she found that others often confided in her and asked for advice. It came naturally to her to pursue counseling in undergraduate and graduate school.   

When she was ready to find a counseling job, she found her youth and youthful looks to be a barrier to employment.  However, she persevered and was hired in 2013 by her employer here in Austin.

Part of Bethie’s challenging work is to use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with people who have suicidal thoughts and are very unstable.

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Some of this is done individually and some with groups. Helping these troubled people work out and agree to a plan of action when they are feeling very low is one tool Bethie uses.  The first step in this plan involves listing things that could be used to distract from negative thoughts, like puzzles, books, taking a walk, watching a video. Next is listing things that are soothing to that person, like a hot shower, favorite music, or eating a comfort food. 

The plan continues with listing people who could be called on for talking about feelings or just to chat about life. If the negative ideas continue, a hotline is the next resource. And last on the plan is a trip to the ER.  The goal is always to help the clients help themselves and see that help is available to them.

Bethie also specializes in working with children under age 10.  She is the only one in her office that works with “littles,” those under five. These younger clients are mostly dealing with anxieties of some nature, often related to some form of trauma.

Another of Bethie’s passions is her work with The Friends of the Library.  She has been chairperson of this volunteer group since 2016, and loves being a part of enhancing our library. She finds it very rewarding to work on creative ideas for library fundraising. 

She likes seeing positive and immediate accomplishment as a contrast to the pace of her professional work. Peggy Keener, long-time Friends member, said: “I most admire, appreciate, and marvel at Bethie’s calm demeanor. She never gets all worked up but takes things in stride.  Additionally, she is very pleasant to work with and keeps the Friends of the Library always moving in a new direction.  I hope she remains for a long time in the role of our chairwoman because she is such a good leader.” 

To renew herself, Bethie makes music in several settings, including special music for church services, church choir, symphony chorus, and community band. 

“I like to be involved and to be a part of something.  It makes me feel more welcome in the community,” she said.

Spending time with her husband and two young children on outings to state parks to enjoy nature is another way Bethie finds rejuvenation. 

Her words of wisdom are: “One day at a time,” which is advice that never grows old. 

Thanks to you, Bethie Carlton, for your work with troubled members of our community and for your devotion to the library and music making. 

For more information about the Austin Branch of AAUW, contact Sue Grove  or Carolyn Bogott The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone who has completed a two-year degree or beyond.  AAUW welcomes men who support our objectives and there are student memberships available. AAUW has been empowering women since 1881.  We support equity and education for women.  Scholarships are offered, as well as help in litigation in cases dealing with sex discrimination.  We are the most important and highly respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and job equality.