About Shala 2018-08-02T17:52:43+00:00

About Me

I’m passionate about helping adults, adolescents, and kids 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’m 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.

I’m the author of Is Fred in the Refrigerator? Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life (Foreword by Jeff Bell and Afterword by Reid Wilson, PhD). I’m also the coauthor with Jon Hershfield, MFT, of Everyday Mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully. I also blog for Psychology Today, offering an inside perspective on life with OCD and the lessons of uncertainty.

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 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. 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.

Speaking Engagements

International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)

  • 2018 National Conference
  • 2017 National Conference
    • ERP Games for Living Joyfully with OCD with Jon Hershfield, MFT
    • The Hero’s Journey (and YOU are the Hero): The Healing Power of Telling Your Story with Jeff Bell, Stuart Ralph, and Alison Dotson
    • Job Sharing with OCD: Managing OCD in the Work Environment with Rachel Davis, MD, Nathaniel Van Kirk, Ph.D. and James Snyder.
  • 2016 National Conference
    • Motivating Toward Recovery: Strategies for Maintaining Motivation Across Treatment and Beyond with Nathaniel Van Kirk, Ph.D. and Jeff Bell.
    • Regaining Your Balance When Slipping, Sliding and Backsliding: How to Create an OCD Maintenance/Recovery Planwith Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D.
  • 2015 National Conference
    • Coping with and Preventing Relapse: Create Your Personal OCD Recovery Maintenance Plan with Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D.
    • Don’t Talk to Me Like That! Maximize Your OCD Recovery Using Self-Compassion with Jon Hershfield, MFT and Amy Jenks, Psy.D. and cover article about self-compassion for the Summer 2015 IOCDF newsletter entitled “OCD: A Hostage Situation”
  • 2013 National Conference

Beyond the Doubt (selected engagements; for complete list visit Beyond the Doubt)

  • E-Course
  • Atlanta 2016 – 2018, The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute
    • Living Life Beyond the Doubt: Field-Tested (and Retested) Strategies for Navigating OCD with Jeff Bell
  • Boston, 2016, McLean Hospital Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute
    • The Motivation to Get Better with Jeff Bell
  • San Francisco, 2015
    • Getting Better & Staying Better: The Motivation You Need to Dare to Challenge Your OCD with Jeff Bell and Joan Davidson, Ph.D.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  • 2017 National Conference
    • Using Games to Improve ERP Compliance When Treating OCD with Jon Hershfield, MFT
    • The Art and Science of Using Imaginal Exposure for Anxiety Disorders with Ashley Smith, Ph.D.
  • 2016 National Conference
    • Self-Compassion and Self Depreciation in OCD: When Poor Self Esteem Becomes a Ritual with Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D., Jon Hershfield, MFT, and Amy Jenks, Psy.D.

The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

  • 2018 National Conference
    • Don’t Talk to Me Like That! Maximize Your OCD Recovery Using Self-Compassion with Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT
    • That Worked Well Support Group with Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT
  • 2017 National Conference
    • The Use of Exposure in the Treatment of BFRBs with Ashley Smith, Ph.D. and Bill Oakley, Psy.D.
    • Kids’ Corner with Ashley Smith, Ph.D. and Bill Oakley, Psy.D.

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, 2017, 2018
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) conference in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Conference in 2017, 2018
  • 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

Professional Activities and Memberships