Emily N. Kierce, Psy.D.

Dr. Kierce is a Licensed Psychologist and the Founder of Sentiero. She had the idea of founding a group practice when she recognized the need for more child and family psychologists, personalized and holistic support, and a sense of humanity in psychology. She also recalled her family therapy experiences as a child and remembered home-based therapists not including her parents in the work. At a young age, she knew there had to be a different way. Today, you will find her in the office with her pup Dyson, wearing workout clothes, laughing and playing jokes on her team. She has a great affection for all who come into the office and genuinely wants patients and her team to feel important. She works hard and believes in the potential of those around her achieving unimagined levels of growth.

Dr. Kierce has spent her career advocating for, and working with, children, adolescents, and their families. Her initial graduate training was in school psychology. Early in her career, she worked as a school psychologist in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, one of the largest and most ethnically diverse school systems in the United States. While in Miami, she was also an Adjunct Professor in the school psychology graduate program at Barry University, conducting collaborative therapeutic assessments in private practice, and elected President of Dade Association of School Psychologists (DASP). As DASP President, she worked with local, state, and national stakeholders advocating for school-based mental health services. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) via the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and maintains the California Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential in school psychology. 

Dr. Kierce is also a clinical psychologist. She completed an APA Accredited Predoctoral Internship at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a private philanthropic school for children and adolescents aged 4 to 18 who have been exposed to trauma and extreme poverty. Her postdoctoral experience was completed in private practice under the supervision of Dr. Timothy H. Rayner, a psychiatrist and training/supervising psychoanalyst at San Diego Psychoanalytic Center. She has worked psychotherapeutically with children, adolescents, and adults who have had severe, chronic, and clinically complex presentations. She also has considerable experience in psychological and psychoeducational assessments for diagnostic clarification of learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attentional difficulties, anxiety, depression, personality functioning, mood disorders, and psychosis.

Dr. Kierce obtained a postdoctoral certification in Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from San Diego Psychoanalytic Center (SDPC). She engaged in a tripartite model of training that consisted of weekly didactic seminars, supervision of psychoanalytic psychotherapy cases, and being a patient in her own personal psychoanalysis. She is currently a Psychotherapy Member at SDPC and continues to be involved in various activities aimed at expanding psychoanalytic thought and practice. She passionately believes in the power of analytic treatment and values the psychological freedom that comes with understanding oneself, especially in relation to others.

Dr. Kierce is passionate about learning and will be a lifelong student. In 2020, she obtained a Certificate in Leadership Principles from Harvard Business School Online. Currently, she is in a graduate certificate program at Harvard studying organizational behavior. Her clinical interests include psychological and psychoeducational assessment, play therapy for children aged zero to five, childhood disruptive disorders, grief, complex trauma, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and relationship problems. Her research interests include resilient outcomes in regard to people who experience anomalous circumstances, the impact of culture on psychological development, as well as resiliency and mental toughness in high achievers, the military, and professional athletes. She is a fierce advocate for children within the school system and those who experience societal oppression. Her most recent interests and endeavors have shifted to business ventures, consulting, and professional seminars to improve the psychological health of businesses and organizations.

Click here to view Dr. Kierce’s Curriculum Vitae