Cara Chae,

LCPC

Psychotherapist & Operations Manager

Clinic Location: Chicago

Specialty/Interest Areas:

- Work/Life Balance
- Stress Management
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Life Transitions, Including Pregnancy and Post-Partum
- Marital/Relationship Concerns - Level 1 Gottman Trained
- Interpersonal Issues

Cara is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) with over nine years of clinical experience working with individuals and families with a focus on work-life balance, stress management, and life transitions. Cara believes the most productive approach to therapy is leveraging a client’s strengths to bolster overall process. While her clinical interests lie in the ways in which family and relationships shape the individual, Cara balances process oriented work with an emphasis on concrete steps rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused Therapy.

Cara works to establish an empathic and compassionate space, meeting clients where they are. She strongly believes that therapy is a “two-way street” where she is as engaged and active in the work as her clients. Cara received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN and her MA in Clinical Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Downtown Chicago.

Bio

Specialty/Interest Areas:

- Work/Life Balance
- Stress Management
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Life Transitions, Including Pregnancy and Post-Partum
- Marital/Relationship Concerns - Level 1 Gottman Trained
- Interpersonal Issues

I've always known I wanted to help people in my profession, but wasn't quite sure how. I enjoy listening to people's stories and helping problem-solve. I initially thought I'd prefer working with children, so I explored teaching and working in a school setting. However, after giving that a try, I decide to pursue counseling! After graduating, I spent a few years working with Employee Assistance Programs, and then made the shift into providing therapy services with InnerVoice. I only wish I had done it sooner.

1. What attracted you to being a psychotherapist?

Questions

Shifting from EAP work to psychotherapy has required me to broaden the approaches that I use. My previous work tended to be short term and solution focused - and I still utilize that approach for individuals who have a specific goal or need to limit sessions for whatever reason. For those who want to work on more relational or longer term concerns, I focus on building safety and trust through curiosity, support, and humor. I believe that the client is the expert on themselves, so I am very curious and usually ask a lot of questions to get a better understanding of not only their history and the issues bringing them in, but what tools they've already been using to manage. I strive to find a balance between allowing the client to take the session where they need to each visit as well as offering specific skills or feedback that they can try out week to week.

2. How would you describe your approach with your clients? 

Nearly anything that comes out of Brene Brown's mouth. I am fully on board the Brene train and see so much how shame interferes with our ability to connect with others and even reach our stated goals. This particular quote describes some of the most basic work of therapy to me: "If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive."

3. What's your favorite quote about mental health? 

I'm most surprised at how impactful the relationship can be between the therapist and client - for both of us! We hear constantly in school the importance of rapport, but I couldn't understand at the time the depth of that rapport. Of course, treatment modalities and interventions utilized in sessions are extremely important, but so much work is also being done between the 2 people in the room. I'm very impacted by my clients' stories and efforts to make positive changes in their lives and am very grateful that they let me accompany them on that journey.

4. What has surprised you the most about being a psychotherapist?