I am passionate about helping adults and adolescents take back their lives from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders (body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, skin-picking disorder, and hoarding disorder), anxiety disorders (social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder), and depression.
I am a cognitive behavioral (CBT) therapist and have specialized training in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, a type of CBT that’s the research-based treatment for OCD and a research-based treatment for anxiety.
Along with working with people who have OCD, anxiety, and related disorders, I do advocacy work to help raise awareness of OCD and its appropriate treatment. I also co-founded Beyond the Doubt with Jeff Bell, and our interactive talks, workshops, and groups provide practical tools for individuals and organizations looking to thrive through uncertainty and the fear and doubt it creates.
I’m the Co-Founder and Past President of OCD Georgia, the official Georgia affiliate of the International OCD Foundation, and I served on the IOCDF National Conference Planning Committee from 2011 to 2014. Prior to my counseling career I spent more than 15 years in sales and marketing, and you can learn more about my past business career in my LinkedIn profile.
To talk with me or to set up an appointment you can fill out the Contact Shala form or call me at (404) 632-4804.
- MS in Mental Health Counseling from Mercer University, 2012
- MBA from Emory University, 2001
- BS in Business Administration from University of Illinois, 1993
License & Certification
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC008785) in the state of Georgia
Honors & Awards
- Selected as the keynote speaker for the 2013 International OCD Foundation national conference (the photos above are from the keynote)
- Selected to become a member of The Adversity 2 Advocacy Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and fostering the power of turning personal challenges into service to others with similar challenges.
- One of three people selected nationally for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) 2013 Clinician Trainee Award for my work while I was an intern.
- Self-Compassion and Self-Depreciation in OCD: When Poor Self-Esteem Becomes a Ritual at the ADAA conference in 2016 with Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D., Amy Jenks, Psy.D., and Jonathan Hershfield, MFT
- Presentations at the IOCDF 2013 through 2016: below
- Beyond the Doubt workshops and talks (scroll to the bottom). I will also be giving a workshop on February 18 with Jeff Bell called Living Life Beyond the Doubt: Field-Tested (and Retested) Strategies for Navigating OCD in Atlanta. I hope you can join us!
OCD-Related Work and Volunteer Experience
- Co-Author with Jonathan Hershfield, MFT of the upcoming New Harbinger book Everyday Mindfulness for OCD (2017)
- Co-Founder, Beyond the Doubt
- Volunteer, The International OCD Foundation
- Media Ambassador, 2015 – present
- 2016 national conference participation included:
- Co-developed/co-presented the workshop “Regaining Your Balance When Slipping, Sliding and Backsliding: How to Create an OCD Maintenance/Recovery Plan” with Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D.
- Co-developed/co-presented the workshop “Motivating Toward Recovery: Strategies for Maintaining Motivation Across Treatment and Beyond” with Nathaniel Van Kirk, Ph.D. and Jeff Bell.
- 2016 Conference Ambassador
- Co-led the Therapists with OCD Special Interest Group with Nathaniel Van Kirk, Ph.D.
- Co-led the Therapists with OCD Support Group
- 2014-2015 national conference participation included:
- Co-developed/co-presented the workshop “Coping with and Preventing Relapse: Create Your Personal OCD Recovery Maintenance Plan” with Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D.
- Co-developed/co-presented the workshop “Don’t Talk to Me Like That! Maximize Your OCD Recovery Using Self-Compassion” with Jon Hershfield, MFT and Amy Jenks, Psy.D.
- 2015 Conference Ambassador
- Co-led the new Therapists with OCD Special Interest Group
- Led the Therapists with OCD Support Group in 2014 and 2015
- Member, National Conference Planning Committee, 2011 – 2014
- 2013 Keynote Speaker for the national conference
- Chair, Southeast Region Conference Task Force, 2012 – 2013
- Co-Founder of OCD Georgia and President, 2012 – 2013
- Counselor Intern specializing in the treatment of OCD, anxiety, and related disorders, ASMI, 2011 – 2012
- Developed an innovative, two-day OCD weekend treatment group based (with permission) on Dr. Reid Wilson’s concept
- Launched an ongoing OCD self-help GOAL support group in Atlanta in 2011
OCD and Related Disorders Mental Health Training & Continuing Education
- IOCDF OCD Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI)
- IOCDF Conference in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) conference in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
- The Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference in 2013, 2015
- Behavioral Tech, LLC Foundations of Exposure Therapies
- Various other workshops and webinars on OCD, anxiety, and disorders related to OCD.
And, I read a ton of books on OCD, anxiety, and mindfulness each year! For a small sampling, visit Aha! Moments.
Interviews, Mentions, and Blogs
- Shala Nicely Answers Your OCD Recovery Questions on The OCD Stories
- Beyond the Doubt – Jeff Bell & Shala Nicely on The OCD Stories
- Relapse Prevention Tips: The Right Attitude by Jonathan Grayson, author of Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Introducing the OCDvocate Advocacy Program on the IOCDF blog
- The 21st Annual OCD Conference in LA: A Look Back on the IOCDF blog
- Jon Hershfield On Mindfulness, ERP & Acceptance For OCD (Ep 6) by The OCD Stories
- Tuesday Q&A: Shala Nicely by Alison Dotson, author of Being Me With OCD
- Symptoms of OCD in Anxiety in Teens
Professional Activities and Memberships
- International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
- The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors
- PANDAS Physicians Network
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)
- Licensed Professional Counselors of Georgia
- Metro Atlanta Therapists’ Network