Dr. Michelle Sierzega is a licensed clinical psychologist who sees clients in the Chicago, Northbrook, and Naperville offices. Her educational background and professional experience resulted 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 or present environments as well. Alone or in concert, these experiences can contribute to the 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 frequently damage our ability to function and 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.
Michelle draws from the following therapeutic approaches: psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, internal family systems, and motivational interviewing. Selection of therapeutic tools is a collaborative and ongoing process between Michelle and her clients, and thoughtful consideration of clients’ individual needs and preferences. She enjoys working with clients seeking long-term depth and insight-oriented therapy, as well as clients seeking a more time-limited, here-and-now, solution-focused approach.
Michelle 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/criminal justice. Combining her knowledge and experience has resulted in an approach that focuses not only on the internal struggles of her clients, but on the impact of clients’ external/environmental stressors as well. She has found this approach to be more comprehensive and balanced, which increases the likelihood of positive lasting change.
Michelle’s areas of expertise include the treatment of mood disorders, trauma/PTSD, interpersonal difficulties, perfectionism, codependency, life transitions, coping with chronic medical illness, adult ADHD, sexual harassment, anger management, impulse control problems, and criminal victimization. Additionally, Michelle has extensive experience working with first responders, performing pre-employment testing (law enforcement and security officers), and conducting psychodiagnostic testing for both private practice-referred and court-mandated clients. She welcomes opportunities to consult, present, and provide expert testimony.
Michelle is an in network provider for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois PPO.
Through my work with numerous individuals struggling with psychological issues, emotional pain and existential crises of various origins, individuals diagnosed with mental illness, first responders, veterans, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals involved in the criminal justice system, I have learned that we all have essentially the same goals — the identification and creation of a life with which we are content, and the ability to effectively and comfortably experience the full range of our emotions without fear. My goal and purpose is to assist you in progressing toward your goals and to honor your journey. To that end, I strive to provide a safe, supportive, and validating environment that is free from judgment and welcoming to all.