Michelle Patricia Sierzega
Dr. Michelle Sierzega is a licensed clinical psychologist with offices in Chicago, Northbrook and Naperville. Her educational background and professional experience result in her strong belief that we are profoundly impacted by not only our inner emotional experience, but factors to which we are exposed in past and present environments as well. Disruptive interactions contribute to development of problematic psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, involvement in toxic relationships, low self-esteem, addictive behaviors, and inhibited progress toward life goals. These painful symptoms damage our ability to cope effectively with life’s stressors. Through therapy, painful symptoms can be reduced or alleviated, personal and professional functioning improved, and feelings of hope restored.
Dr. Sierzega's therapeutic approaches include: psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, internal family systems, and motivational interviewing. Selection of therapeutic tools is collaborative, with thoughtful consideration of client needs and preferences. She enjoys working with clients seeking long-term insight-oriented therapy, as well as clients seeking a more time-limited, here-and-now, solution-focused approach.
Dr. Sierzega graduated from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, having earned a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in forensic psychology. She also has master’s degrees in sociology and criminology. Combining her knowledge and experience has resulted in an approach that focuses not only on the internal struggles of her clients, but their external/environmental stressors as well. She has found this comprehensive approach increases the likelihood of positive lasting change.
Dr. Sierzega’s areas of expertise include treatment of mood disorders, trauma, interpersonal difficulties, life transitions, coping with chronic medical illness, adult ADHD, sexual harassment, and criminal victimization. She has extensive experience working with first responders, conducting pre-employment and psychodiagnostic testing. She welcomes opportunities to consult, present, and provide expert testimony.
Forensic psychology - Understanding and managing triggers and motivations related to criminal activity; evaluation of one’s mental competence, criminal responsibility, competency to stand trial, risk-assessment; testifying as an expert witness
Adjustment difficulties & disorders - Support around adapting to new and/or challenging life circumstances; skill-building for improved stress management and reduction of anxiety.
Attachment issues - Development of effective relational and communication skills; insight into family attachment patterns;fostering healthy family relationships.
Psychological evaluations & testing - A broad range of tests and assessments that may be used to identify present strengths, provide diagnosis clarity, and inform treatment goals
Trauma - Coping and healing after threatening or scary events, such as witnessing accidents or experiencing sexual, verbal, emotional, or physical abuse
Mood disorders - Clinical depression, persistent depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders that cause disturbances in the client's mood, causing mood swings, restless sleep, and/or elevated mood
Frequency of sessions this provider offers to see clients once you are an established client.
Years of Experience: 5 years
Affiliates in Counseling, Clinical Psychologist, 2015 - Present
Wexford/Illinois Department of Corrections, Clinical Psychologist, 2019 - 2021
Kane County Diagnostic Center, Staff Psychologist, 2018 - 2019
Palatine Police Department, Police Officer, 2005 - 2012
Community Mental Health System in Chicago, Mental Health Counselor, 1994 - 1999
Illinois School of Professional Psychology - Schaumburg, Psy.D., 2016
University of Missouri - St. Louis, M.A./A.B.D., 2002
Northern Illinois University, M.A., 2000
Oberlin College, B.A., 1993