Michelle Sierzega, MA, Doctoral CandidateMichelle has considerable experience and interest in working with individuals seeking to develop more positive and effective ways of coping with various life stressors. She works with individuals of all ages who desire to identify emotional “blocks” which may be inhibiting their personal, professional, and relationship growth and satisfaction. Michelle provides clients with a safe and supportive therapeutic environment in which they can explore and process their experiences, particularly difficult life transitions, and the feelings of grief, loss, and regret that often accompany them. Additionally, she has significant experience working with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, severe and persistent mental illness, and dual diagnosis (substance abuse and mental illness).

Michelle also specializes in forensic psychology with a particular emphasis on working with first responders. She has eight years’ experience in law enforcement, which makes her uniquely qualified to work with emergency responders, given her direct knowledge of and experience with police culture and the demands and stressors associated with being a first responder, as well as the psychological and physical toll it can take on those who serve and their loved ones.

Michelle earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a forensic specialization from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology – Schaumburg and has also earned master’s degrees in sociology from Northern Illinois University and criminology/criminal justice from University of Missouri – St. Louis. She has eight years’ experience working in community mental health, forensic mental health, and a university counseling center.

Michelle works with individuals, couples, and families and has experience addressing numerous mental health issues:
General Clinical                                          Forensic/First Responder
– Depression                                               – Court-referred/mandated therapy
– Anxiety                                                      – Crisis intervention
– Chronic mental illness                           – Work-related critical incidents
– Dual diagnosis (substance                    – Posttraumatic stress
abuse & mental illness)                            – Personal problems intensified by
– Grief and loss                                               police work, such as depression,
– Life transitions                                             anxiety, substance abuse, marital/
– Academic performance issues                 intimate partner conflict, family
– Low self-esteem                                          problems, and burnout
– Interpersonal/relationship issues        – Stress management
– Infertility                                                    – Anger management
– Adoption

Michelle is a network provider for Blue Cross & Blue Shield IL PPO.

Personal Statement
I believe we all have a tremendous capacity for growth, healing, and change. We possess an inner resilience that can be tapped into and cultivated. In the therapy relationship I endeavor to provide a safe and supportive forum in which clients can explore and process emotions and issues which may be blocking them from living up to their full potential. In doing so, clients can obtain relief from troubling emotions and find clarity and direction in their lives.