Sierra Sanchez, MA, LMFT
Growing up in an alcoholic home I experienced first hand the role of survival. My experiences with my mother and stepfather's drinking led to growing up quickly in order to take care of myself. Being exposed to my parents' and friends' domestic disputes, witnessing my friends being physically abused, combined with parental neglect in my own household-were all difficult experiences to process as a young child. As I began to become my own parent, I also learned to become a caretaker for others.
While my mother became sober when I was a preteen, my stepfather died in the midst of his addiction. I myself was a rebellious teen, looking for ways to escape my own dismal realities. I became a friend that everyone shared their own struggles with, told their "secrets" to. With all the secrets (including my own) I was holding on to, coupled with the care taking and the anger at having lived with active alcoholism, I began to work with a therapist. I additionally attended a twelve-step program to learn about the nature of alcoholism and addiction. I was slowly about to shift from survival mode to living- while taking personal accountability and living more authentically. This process was pivotal for how I would carve my own career path.
When I entered college I began to learn more about my desire to help others and myself. I promised myself that if I were to help others, I would hold myself accountable to a path of self-discovery, self-improvement and healing. My initial desire began with wanting to help teens to help them make better choices, and to heal from childhood and family traumas, an area I had a personal stake in. I began to believe that early intervention would help people later in their lives. As I started my research and training I realized the whole family needs help and support with healing, not just their child.
When a position opened up at the Los Angeles juvenile hall, I jumped at the chance. I worked as a therapist helping juvenile delinquents during their detainment in juvenile hall and probation camps while working in the San Fernando Valley. I assisted each teen with viewing their behaviors and crimes as not defining them, and allowing them to see their actions did not make them worthless. Sometimes they just needed to know that someone saw them for who they were and not judge them based on their actions.
Upon relocating to Seattle, I was given the opportunity to work with families at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, within Seattle Children's Hospital. I assisted children, teens and their families navigate a variety of mental health needs. For many teens and families, I was able to help individuals begin the healing process with both their mental health and in their family. For parents, they needed a supportive ear and a reminder that they were doing a good job. They also benefited from coaching and assistance to improve communication. This seemed to help bridge the gap between the work the teens were doing with what was happening in the home.
In the private practice environment, I have really enjoyed shifting my practice focus to working primarily with adults. I work with individuals, parents, and couples with their desire to improve their relationships. I help my clients discover their unhealthy family dynamic patterns, heal trauma and work towards greater authenticity in themselves. I work with many adults to move beyond the temporary fix of their symptoms (of anxiety, depression, and trauma) and move toward acknowledging the negative stories and self-beliefs that limit their lives. Healing includes moving beyond one's own childhood experiences and trauma, and looking more deeply at why they do what they do, and how it is keeping them from the life they want.
I work as a guide, helping my clients to uncover their personal story, without shame or judgment. This allows the adults I work with to rediscover the world in which we all live. I assist adults in finding balance with their emotions and feelings, reshaping their self worth, and improving their family and social relationships. I work with adults that are willing to take responsibility for the current and future state of their lives, those fully committed to their personal recovery of their "trauma" story and those who wish to embrace their own vulnerability, in order to achieve healthy emotional intimacy with themselves and others. I look forward to helping many more individuals on their life's journey to inner strength and outward success.
My approach draws from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 12 steps, and Humanistic Theory. I approach my clients with unconditional positive regard, holding them accountable, while giving them the support they require to make the changes they would like to see in their lives. While I use many therapy theories I am primarily eclectic in my approach as I treat every person as an individual to determine what is best for their mental health treatment. I believe therapy is about creating a sacred space to honor who you are and parts that you have lost, until you are able to reclaim and incorporate them. I address issues such as gender, cultural and sexuality differences and spiritual views, as a framework to incorporate all the pieces that make each person unique, and a launching pad off which their relationships and sense of self are created.
My goal is to help you and your family to grow and shine. I begin with helping you feel safe and seen for who you are and not for what you have done. I hope to assist you in moving through the problems and limited thinking that is short changing your life, develop new coping skills and gain a new perceptive. I am here to help you move out of "survival" and into truly living your life. I hope to help you build a deeper connection to yourself so that you may emerge whole; and live a balanced and full life. Together we will integrate the loss of identity, establish healthy standards in yourself and your relationships and continually grow into your own self. I strive for each client to learn to live more from the heart, to be intuitive with themselves and their standards.
For more in-depth information about my practice, please visit my website: www.thetransformationalhealingprocess.com