Emma Esper graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, Irvine, with a focus on Psychology and Social Behavior and Criminology/Forensics. She went on and obtained her Masters in Science in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. Emma started her work in the field of mental health in community mental health, specifically in crisis work, assisting those with suicidality, homicidality, addiction, trauma, and psychosis. It was in crisis services that she saw the power and beauty of vulnerability, resiliency, and hope. This is what helps guide Emma’s work as a therapist and professional counselor–learning to turn towards ourselves, especially when we are at our darkest.
Emma’s work with clients is based on the metaphor of Kintsugi, which is an art form where broken pottery is repaired with gold. This repair creates greater strength in the places the piece has been broken. Kintsugi shows us that there is beauty in our scars, in feeling broken, in being shattered. Our struggles are a part of our story. Kintsugi asks us not to hide or feel ashamed of our story; it gives us space to remind ourselves of our resiliency and survival. Emma guides her clients in embracing their flaws and imperfections. She helps to transform areas of shame into recognition of courage. We do not have to be perfect to be enough.
In assisting clients with acceptance and authenticity, Emma uses a self-compassion approach. To be compassionate is to treat the self with kindness in response to struggle. Many of us were not taught to be loving to ourselves during moments of suffering. Many of us developed a self-critical voice rather than a self-compassionate one. Instead of self-compassion, we often experience feelings of guilt and shame. Emma works with her clients in extending loving kindness towards the parts of themselves that carry shame.
Along with Compassion Focused Therapy, Emma also uses a number of other therapeutic modalities in her work. These include Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment-Based Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, and Experiential Therapies.
Emma’s primary focus is in the treatment of trauma and anxiety. Emma has experience in treating a number of different types of trauma, including acute PTSD, chronic/complex PTSD, narcissistic abuse, emotional abuse, religious trauma/ritual abuse, and sexual trauma. Emma’s focus in anxiety includes assisting those with generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and perfectionism. Along with these areas of specialty, Emma also focuses on treating: men’s issues, dissociation, shame and self-criticism, self-esteem/self-worth, codependency and people-pleasing, grief, and depression.
Emma also offers couples counseling, with a special interest in infidelity work. She has also completed Level 1 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and uses the Gottman Method in her work with couples and families.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger at the broken places”
- Ernest Hemingway
Emma Esper is a Licensed LMFT (# 137235 )
She is also an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (#9470) currently working under the supervision of licensed Clinical Social Worker Daniel Brezenoff (#23543).
Costa Mesa, Long Beach & telehealth availability