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Therapy and Psychopharmacology

Dr. Schacter uses a variety of therapy options to help children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. She will either do all components of treatment with you or coordinate some treatment with a therapist. Treatment plans are discussed during your initial assessment and one or more of the following are implemented:

Click on a title below for a definition
+Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

is a structured and goal-directed type of psychotherapy that specifically focuses on increasing the patient's awareness of and ability to modify their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Techniques commonly include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors; analyzing negative interactions or events; questioning and testing assumptions or habits of thoughts that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation and distraction techniques are also commonly included.

+Exposure/Response Prevention Therapy (ERPT)

is a specific behavioral technique for managing anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety-based disorders. In ERPT, the patient is first exposed to the anxiety-producing stimuli (e.g., public speaking), then denied the ability to flee or avoid the situation. Over time and with repeated attempts, the patient learns to break the link between the anxiety and avoidance behavior. With children, parents will often be the co-coach and reinforce goals addressed in therapy at home.

+Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

is a brief (20 sessions or less) and highly structured manual-based psychotherapy that focuses on the impact of negative interpersonal relationships and events as reinforces of depression and other mood disorders.

+Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

"talk therapy" that is based on a process of discovering conscious or unconscious thoughts, wishes, emotions, and behaviors through interactions with the therapist. This approach addresses patterns of behaviors in relationships while increasing awareness and assisting with coping skills to manage uncomfortable emotions in an adaptive style.

+Play Therapy

refers to a method of psychotherapy with children in which a therapist uses a child's fantasies and the symbolic meanings of his or her play as a medium for understanding and communication with the child. When engaging in therapy with children, toys and games are often incorporated as children communicate their thoughts and feelings through play more naturally than they do through verbal communication. As the child plays, the therapist begins to recognize themes and patterns or ways of using the materials that are important to the child. Over time, the clinician helps the child begin to make meaning out of the play.

+Group Therapy

is a form of psychosocial treatment where a small group of patients meet regularly to talk, interact, and discuss problems with each other and the group leader (therapist). The main benefit group therapy may have over individual psychotherapy is that some patients behave and react more like themselves in a group setting than they would one-on-one with a therapist. The group therapy patient gains a certain sense of identity and social acceptance from their membership in the group. Suddenly, they are not alone. They are surrounded by others who have the same anxieties and emotional issues that they have. Seeing how others deal with these issues may give them new solutions to their problems. Feedback from group members also offers them a unique insight into their own behavior, and the group provides a safe forum in which to practice new behaviors. Lastly, by helping others in the group work through their problems, group therapy members can gain more self-esteem. Group therapy may also simulate family experiences of patients and will allow family dynamic issues to emerge.

+Family Therapy

is a type of psychotherapy that involves all members of a nuclear family or stepfamily and, in some cases, members of the extended family (e.g., grandparents). A therapist or team of therapists conducts multiple sessions to help families deal with important issues that may interfere with the functioning of the family and the home environment.

+Couples Therapy

is a form of psychological therapy used to treat relationship distress for both individuals and couples. The purpose of couple's therapy is to restore a better level of functioning in couples who experience relationship distress. The reasons for distress can include poor communication skills, incompatibility, or a broad spectrum of psychological disorders that include domestic violence, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. The focus of couple's therapy is to identify the presence of dissatisfaction and distress in the relationship, and to devise and implement a treatment plan with objectives designed to improve or alleviate the presenting symptoms and restore the relationship to a better and healthier level of functioning. Couples therapy can assist persons who are having complaints of intimacy, sexual, and communication difficulties. It can also be important when couples conflicts affects successful parenting of a child under a therapeutic care.


"Medication management" is a form of treatment used to augment the benefits of therapy. With many situations psychotherapy alone is not enough. Adding a medication appropriate to the symptoms and the person being treated can enhance the benefits of therapy and significantly improve overall function. Medication is often used to enhance the effects of therapy or occasionally as a stand alone treatment. It includes not only taking medication but also understanding the role of medicine as well as the risks, potential benefits and alternatives to the medications chosen.

Click on a title above for a definition

When psychotherapy with Dr. Schacter is involved visits may vary from twice weekly to every two weeks as appropriate for the progress of her patient. When psychotherapy is administered by another therapist, Dr. Schacter will require communication with the therapist to promote wellness and coordinate/monitor progress between medication therapy visits.

If and/or when starting a new medication, patients may be asked to schedule more frequently to monitor tolerability and side effects of the prescribed medicine. Once patients appear stable and fully adjusted to the new medication, appointments can be extended to a more periodic basis, such as one to three months apart, depending on the treatment plan. Treatment duration and frequency fluctuates on a patient-by-patient basis.

Dr. Schacter does not perform Forensic Evaluations or Disability Evaluations. She will coordinate treatment with your other treatment providers to enhance progress and review with you.


Confidentiality is essential for establishing trust in the doctor-patient relationship, and therefore, the success of your overall treatment. Physicians are legally and ethically bound to vigorously safeguard your personal information. In the event of a shared treatment plan we will discuss ahead of time what you would be comfortable disclosing to another therapist or doctor. Psychotherapy notes are also treated differently than treatment records and can be withheld from records that are requested unless specified by you to do so.

North Carolina has enacted laws that confer special privilege in regard to psychotherapy notes, which are kept separate from your medical record. This privilege generally allows psychiatrists to withhold psychotherapy notes in judicial proceedings. Psychotherapy notes do not contain information about a medical diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any questions regarding your rights or privacy, please inquire in the office or reference You may also wish to review our HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices Summary. (PDF)