Sierra Therapy Center providing counseling and therapy services to Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn, Truckee & surrounding areas.

Our Counseling & Therapy Services
Check out the wide range of services our team offers!

Child Counseling & Therapy

Sierra Sparks, owner and director of Sierra Therapy Center has been the Clinical Director at a Residential Treatment Center for children with extreme behavioral and emotional issues. 

It can be very difficult to see your child struggle with emotional and behavior problems. It’s not easy for children to express what is bothering them. Whether your child is “out of control”, feeling sad most of the time, having difficulty making friends, or is struggling in school – positive change is possible. I work with families and children with behavioral issues using the nurtured heart approach and behavioral based interventions: www.difficultchild.com, but we treat other issues as well such as depression, social issues, abuse, grief/trauma using child adapted EMDR, play therapy, and more. 

My approach is engaging with parents. You are vital to your children's mental health and well-being. I do parent coaching sessions and groups. It is often more effective for me to come into your home to observe and offer feedback/guidance. This can be negotiated on a case by case basis. 

I work to foster confidence and sense of empowerment in children. Therapeutic interaction addresses underlying issues, teaches coping skills to get children back on track, and sets them up for future success. Common areas of specialized focus:

  * Increasing confidence
  * Enhancing school performance 
  * Coping with stress
  * Learning self control
  * Improving communication
  * Behavioral problems and improvement through working on identifying         and targeting the function of the negative behavior(s) (ask me more about     this).

We also provide in-home intensive counseling and behavior modification.

Adolescent Teen Counseling & Therapy


Teenagers face a myriad of life-impacting choices during a time of great transition and vulnerability. Therapy can help teens understand their overall place in this world while offering a glimpse into the future. In counseling, teenagers are encouraged to explore their relationships and build life-long healthy decision making skills to fulfill their needs. Teens will benefit from the following:

  * Enhancing Self-Esteem
  * Facing Peer Pressure
  * Improving relationships with parents & friends
  * Managing Anxiety and Stress
  * Overcoming Depression
  * Understanding personal changes

At Sierra Therapy Center, our goal is to develop a relationship with you to create an effective treatment plan that addresses the needs of your child/teen and family. We work collaboratively with parents while keeping confidentiality of your child/teen. 

Couples/Marriage Therapy and Counseling

Our approach centers much around EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED COUPLES THERAPY and IMAGO. Both of these concepts are based on attachement theory. We work with couples to discover the reasons behind their reactions (anger, fear, distance, etc) and discover more effective ways to meet each others needs through positive emotional attachment (non-violent communication, re-attachment, growing together and helping one another discover and heal unmet needs and previous emotional wounds). 

Partnering and marriages may be one of the hardest challenges we face as adults – right up there with parenting! As we come up against our differences (in what we think, feel, need, or want) conflicts inevitably arise between ourselves and our partners. And given the high degree of investment we have in our relationships these conflicts can feel very threatening and extremely painful. 

In the face of these dilemmas we often fall into one of two patterns. In the first pattern we let go of our position and accommodate our partner’s needs and wants but, in so doing, disconnect from ourselves. Over time this leads to feeling lost, out of touch with one’s self, and resentful toward our partner. In the second pattern, we stand our ground, and dig in, but lose our sense of closeness with our partner. This leads to repetitious arguments, mutual hostility, feelings of rejection. 

We see our role as a couple’s and marriage therapist to help you shift out of these painful cycles and into more effective ones. We create a sense of safety where each person can be heard, understood, and respected. I help my couples earn to understand, accept, and even appreciate, your differences. In couples counseling we'll teach tools to help you negotiate solutions that are satisfying to both of you, and increase feelings of closeness and intimacy. 

However, marriage therapy can benefit couples by also offering a "boost" in your relationship. Don't wait until there re major problems. Therapy can increase passion, lovelife and connection to one another. 

Pre-Marital counseling available. 

For more information check out:
www.holdmetight.net 
www.gettingtheloveyouwant.com 

Family Therapy & Counseling

Sierra offers family therapy both in home and in our office in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn, Colfax and Roseville. Family systems counseling suggests that therapy based on family-systems principles is more likely to produce desired lasting change than working solely with individuals. The goal of family therapy is for family members to understand and accept their individual responsibility in the emotional functioning of the family unit. By learning to recognize the emotional patterns and how anxiety (and other emotions) are handled in the family, individual members can manage themselves in healthier functional ways. Exploring your family history is an exciting way to gain insight about yourself and your family members. 

Individual Counseling 

In individual therapy, the focus is to resolve the issues that bring you to counseling and to help you establish or reestablish your life as a thriving, nurturing process. The first step - We help you identify the goals you seek to accomplish. Then, using powerful yet gentle methods, we will work together to enliven and release the forces of positive growth already present within you. You fulfill your goals and grow beyond negative patterns from the past, empowered to move forward with freedom in your life.

Some issues we address:

  * depression, anxiety, stress
  * creating intimacy and trust in relationships
  * strengthening self-esteem
  * developing healthy boundaries
  * dealing with grief, loss, loneliness
  * interpersonal relationships
  * resolving career conflicts
  * trauma work using EMDR
  * resolving sexual difficulties
  * healing childhood wounds
  * eating disorders
  * learning effective communication and anger release
  * developing your ability to express healthy emotions
  * overcoming money and power struggles
  * handling addictions and compulsive behaviors
  * working through early, mid and late life crisis
  * exploring purpose and meaning in life
  * freeing creativity, spontaneity and joy

and much more...

EMDR & Trauma Work

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a client-centered psychotherapy treatment developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro to help people heal from emotional wounds, blocks, and limitations. Since the late 1980's, thousands of therapists internationally have been successfully using EMDR to speed up the healing of PTSD, depression, panic attacks, and other disorders.

EMDR is based on the concept that the information processing system in the brain gets blocked when traumatic events occur. These events get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Whenever a reminder of the traumatic event comes up, those pictures, thoughts, feelings, and sensations can continue to be triggered.

Many emotional and behavioral problems are the result of these unprocessed trauma memories. EMDR helps the brain reprocess the old memories while incorporating more recently acquired positive coping skills and beliefs. The result is the relief of the emotional distress and the reduction or elimination of symptoms of the psychological disorder.

The effectiveness of EMDR is supported by many controlled empirical studies; in fact, EMDR is the most researched psychotherapeutic treatment for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). EMDR has been approved as an effective treatment for PTSD by the American Psychological Association, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration.

Studies have also investigated EMDR's efficacy in treating various mental disorders, including specific phobias, performance anxiety, panic disorder, trauma symptoms in children, complicated mourning, and chronic pain. 

For more details, please visit www.emdr.com and www.emdria.org.


Picture Bottom Right: The top photo shows a woman with post traumatic stress disorder. The bottom photo shows the same patient after four ninety minute EMDR sessions. The RED areas indicate overactivity in the brain.