Introducing Sierra Kehoe, LCMHCS
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ED.S. University of Florida, (Counselor Education: Mental Health Counseling), 2008.
B.A. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (Psychology, Theatre Arts). 2004.
North Carolina: Licensed Mental Health Counseling & Supervisor
We are socially wired and need to feel connected to others. Feeling loved, accepted, and wanted is as necessary to our well-being as other basic needs. When our relationships feel threatened, and we feel misunderstood, rejected, or not good enough, is it incredibly painful. It also creates a sense of disarray. Our values become confused. Even our mental health can suffer.
As a couples therapist, I see my role as supplying communication tools and strategies to make tough conversations easier and more productive. You talk to your partner when you want them to listen to and understand your point of view. I try to create a safe and supportive space for couples to take risks and vulnerably share their needs and fears. My goal is to help you to show up in your relationship and flexibly adapt to each other’s needs.
When a relationship gets stuck, the panic sets. We feel terrified of losing our person. The current patterns between the two of you might be incredibly hurtful. Instead of healing the hurt, we may become more distant out of self-protection. My job is to guide you through the murk and minefields more effectively. I want to show you a path that is clearer. I want your relationship to heal and strengthen.
I hold onto hope for a couple. Even in the face of their own disbelief, I watch most relationships improve.
Hope is contagious.
I know change can occur. I also know that it is hard to hold onto your dreams when you are engulfed in pain. This painful impact can trickle into all areas of our life, including work performance and other social relationships, as well as impact our children.
I believe that the quality of our significant relationships in life profoundly impacts our wellbeing and sense of purpose and fulfillment. I am comfortable hanging out in the uglier and scarier moments. I have learned that this is where meaningful shifts happen.
While I was getting my license to become a supervisor, my first supervisor was incredibly inspiring! She was 88 years old and as passionate about her work as ever! It helped me see the longevity this career could provide. She also taught me to keep learning and challenging myself. I never to get too comfortable in my work since the field is ever-growing and changing.
My clients have taught me so much over the years, but especially to be incredibly flexible and patient and to persevere with hope in challenging times.
My supervisor and my father both inspired a strong belief in people being ultimately good and capable of making change. In my clinical work, I strive to listen intently to each person’s story, knowing that all behavior makes sense once you can understand it in context.
I really enjoy working with couples from every stage of life and with a myriad of unique struggles and needs. I am especially touched in my work with couples in affair recovery. They overcome the intense pain of betrayal, lean on the power of their love and ability to heal and create a new trusting relationship that is much stronger. It is a privilege to support them through that process.
When one or both partners have experienced trauma, it causes a highly active and sensitized nervous system. I know that deep wounds trigger explosive reactions and create distance. It is easier for conflict to intensify and escalate very quickly. I assist traumatized partners to slow down and more effectively interpret what their partner is saying.
Using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), we can better understand and clear out these blocks from the past and learn how to clarify our needs in a productive way.
Early in my career I worked at a domestic violence and sexual assault center, providing individual and group therapy to survivors. Later, I gained experience working with foster children for an agency. Afterward, I spent 14 years at a large mental health agency focusing on intensive family-focused therapy. We provided services for six hours a week to families in their home environments. I quickly moved into leadership roles supporting our staff with training and supervision in evidence-based models.
My work with families grounded me in "systemic work." Using this framework, we consider all of the factors that impact a family. This prepared me well for the couple's work. One partner can easily be misinterpreted. Sessions are fast paced and multiple people are often being triggered simultaneously.
I tune into each partner. I bring my authenticity to our space. I know important changes can and will take place.
I can also bring a parent coaching lens to my work with couples. I have diverse ways to help you parent better. My previous experience taught me that there is no substitute for evidence-based clinical models. These bring the best outcomes.
I am pursuing certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Gottman Method, the two most renowned couples models in the field. Becoming certified is a confirmation that I'm consistently sticking to these models and providing my couples the best possible care.
I am a strong ally for the LGBTQIA+ community and passionate in supporting and understanding the complexity of challenges and hardship these couples face, especially in today's climate.
I am a very patient and determined person. I am highly sensitive to and tuned in to others’ emotions and points of view.
I was incredibly close to my grandparents on my mother’s side. I lived with them in the summers from age 15-19 years old. They lived on a lake in a summer resort community where I waited tables and performed in a musical review show at a local resort. My grandmother loved to sing. It strongly influenced my own love of song. She was always my greatest audience!
My dad is, hands down, one of my favorite humans. My curiosity, patience, and empathy were developed through our interactions over the years. He is also a lifelong learner. He has shifted his work life several times always following what inspires him and providing opportunities for self-growth.
I grew up in a divorced household where I witnessed my parents trying desperately to make it work. They repeatedly separated and got back together, causing great anxiety during my formative years. The instability of their marriage and the balancing act of bouncing between two households created a lot of chaos. I naturally slipped into a mediator role.
This is where my ability to understand the conflict between couples began and a sensitivity to feel and understand others’ pain as I tried to “take care” of my parents. As an adult, I saw them continue to struggle in their separate lives and not entirely heal from the pain caused by the “failure” of their marriage, which took a great toll on them emotionally and continued through repeated patterns in other relationships.
I have been with my husband since 2001, and we have persevered through the many ups and downs in our journey through parenthood and career transitions. Being a therapist definitely influences my parenting style with my two sons.
They often come to me when they need to have a “talk,” and I cherish their trust in me to share their joys and worries as they develop into their own people. Parenting is the hardest challenge I have had in life and always provides a humbling reminder that even with all the knowledge I have from my career, it can be very easy to dysregulate. There is always an opportunity to repair and learn.
We live in a mountain community with a lake that provides the nostalgia of my summers growing up with my grandparents. We have a vibrant social community.
I have an office located in the center of downtown Asheville, known for its funky and eclectic vibe busting with culinary diversity, lively music on each corner, and a myriad of shopping possibilities, all surrounded by the awe-inspiring scenery of the Appalachian Mountains. There are several hotels and restaurants steps from my office, which is within the historic Adler building on the corner of Pack Square. The office is private and quiet, with soothing and comforting decor.If you are interested in settling deeper into the mountains and away from the hustle of city life, your intensive retreat can occur in a cozy cabin in the pristine resort community at Bear Lake Reserve in Tuckasegee, NC, a lakeside community with abundant amenities and natural beauty.
In my free time, you’ll find me outside enjoying the sun, at the pickleball court, watching a great drama series, or playing a card game with my kiddos
I’ve loved to read from a young age and often struggle to give time to it over other demands and the highly addictive and stimulating world of television! I spent a lot of time dancing, singing, and in theatre as a kid and young adult. These days, my performance is limited to the occasional karaoke night.
I still have a long bucket list of travel spots and hope to check off more international spots in the future. Ideally, I would love to split my time between NC and Costa Rica later in life.
Our family's love for traveling led to living in our RV for four years! We followed the sun and crossed back and forth throughout the US while working remotely and homeschooling.
It was a great challenge to learn how to break from a traditional lifestyle mold and find a rhythm to our travel routine that met our needs as a family.
Ultimately, as our kids grew, we decided to settle down into a home again to provide them with more stability to explore their interests further and connect with friends more consistently.