Hello! I am Dr. Cara Jean Emes and included here is information about my education and professional background as well as my treatment approach. I am a licensed psychologist in private practice and my background is in counseling psychology. I was born and raised in Illinois and lived in the MidWest for many years. I completed two Bachelors' Degrees at Eastern Illinois University, a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Health Studies. I
earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. I was first licensed as a psychologist in 2007 and have worked in the field of psychology since that time. I moved from the MidWest to California in 2012 and I am currently a licensed psychologist in California (CA PSY 26217). I
am a member of the San Joaquin Valley Psychological Association and the California Psychological Association.
In my professional role as a psychologist I am a generalist - I work with a variety of different presenting issues, patient populations, and settings. I have worked in medical settings, VA hospitals, forensic environments, and university counseling centers. I treat young adults (age 18 and over), adults, and older adults. I have experience providing therapy (individual, couples, family, and group therapy), teaching, outreach, training and consultation, assessment, crisis intervention, and program development. My areas of professional interest and specialization include trauma recovery (e.g., abuse, sexual assault, PTSD), empowerment, health psychology, interpersonal relationships (e.g., family of origin dynamics, romantic relationships), and mindfulness therapy. I value the study of Radical Acceptance, (encouraging people to be mindful, see themselves clearly, and hold their experience with compassion).
My approach to therapy is integrative, meaning I believe there are many different ways the process of healing and change can work. I also believe that the core foundation of therapy is the development of a trusting therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the patient. I attend to the relationship with care, and I bring sensitivity, warmth, and authentic feedback to the therapy work I do with with people. Not only is the therapeutic relationship important for a feeling of trust and safety, it is also the most important means of healing and growth. It is this relationship that is responsible for providing an opportunity for emotional relearning. Healing begins to happen when people understand the development of their current distress within their unique family and cultural context. During this process, it is essential to experience the therapist as empathically and compassionately attuned. Then, people can begin to feel this empathy and apply it to themselves with self-compassion. In essence, it is by utilizing the healing capacity of the therapeutic relationship that I help people discover and develop the tools to bring about change for themselves.
I focus on present day behaviors and emotions, and I also attend to people's formative and developmental experiences. I recognize that present day difficulties are often reflective of long-standing patterns of behavior, emotions, and relationships. My foundation as a therapist is grounded in the belief 1) that problems are primarily interpersonal in nature, 2) that early life experiences are one of the most important sources of learning about ourselves, and 3) the therapeutic relationship can be used as a model to resolve problems. I also recognize that each therapeutic relationship will evolve in its own unique way. I hold a deep respect for individual differences and sensitivity to issues of diversity and multicultural awareness. Therapy is not easy and it requires courage and hard work. Together, we can find a path to draw on your strengths for greater self-discovery, well-being, and fulfillment.