Dr. Shelley was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, before earning their B.A. from the University of South Carolina and their Psy. D. from George Washington University, where they were dually enrolled in GWU’s LGBTQ Health and Policy Program. After graduating, they worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Therapy Group DC. As a doctoral student, they worked at The Center Clinic, helping socioeconomically-challenged patients from all walks of life. Dr. Shelley completed their APA accredited internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago where they worked at UIC’s Student Counseling Office, which serves one of the most diverse student bodies in the country.
Dr. Shelley’s training during internship afforded them the opportunity to work with a diverse population of clients. Dr. Shelley finds intersectionality work to be particularly rewarding as race, culture, gender, ect. are unique to each individual and discovering self-identities can be such a challenging, but rewarding journey for each individual. Dr. Shelley enjoys getting to know each patient they work with and watching them grow on their personal journeys. This is a gift they consider to be part of the psychology professions. They became a psychologist because they believe deeply in the transformative impact of therapy because they have witnessed first-hand just how life-changing it can be.
Dr. Shelley is steeped in psychodynamic theory, identifying patterns from childhood, and working to break through harmful paradigms. Dr, Shelley is dedicated to meeting clients where they are, and bringing a number of therapeutic modalities into sessions, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Trauma Based Approaches, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). These varied interventions have proven invaluable in working with clients and have shown Dr. Shelley the importance of a flexible, multidisciplinary approach.
Dr. Shelley’s education, training, and life experiences have led them to providing care for clients seeking to find ways of transcending physical or emotional pain to live fulfilling lives. Dr. Shelley’s curiosity, kindness, and experience has afforded them the opportunity to work effectively with clients from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community theirself (queer, questioning, fluid), they have a specific love for working with clients from this community, specifically those that identify as non-binary and Trans+. Dr. Shelley has a passion for working with clients within the BIPOC and trauma survivor communities as well.
Dr. Shelley treats teens and young adults who are discovering their identities for the first time, as well as, adults who may be discovering parts of themselves later in life. This discovery may include exploring one’s gender, sexuality, mental or physical health challenges or changes, childhood or adult traumatic experiences, and/or those seeking to change behaviors or beliefs that are not serving them. They treat depression, anxiety, attachment wounds, trauma in addition to many other conditions. Dr. Shelley specializes in treating chronic pain and illness. As an individual with a chronic pain condition, they intimately empathize with how the body can hold traumas. Dr. Shelley works to help patients connect and understand themselves and their diagnoses as a way to help patients find individualized ways to enjoy and navigate life more fully.
By working with Dr. Shelley you will get to learn more about yourself and your identities. You will explore and learn more about the relationships in your life and the meaning these relationships have. As someone who grew up in a strict Southern Baptist household, Dr. Shelley understands how rigid and/or loose boundaries within a family system and spiritual and/or religious messages can impact internal models of thinking. Dr. Shelley works with clients to uncover internalized belief systems, so that clients can decide on what beliefs they want to keep, and which messages they may like to remove or replace. Patients are assisted to find resolution in any cognitive dissonance that may be occurring within their own values system. This work can be challenging at times, but this work is worth it. Dr. Shelley is here to assist clients in becoming the healthiest, happiest, most whole person they can be by finding positive messages within themselves and removing damaging or harmful beliefs that can negatively impact their lives.
Within the therapeutic relationship, there is an opportunity to uncover the patterns of behavior that are a result of the multitude of life experiences. Patients will be assisted in differentiating between behaviors that serve them and behaviors that hinder them. Oppression and racial injustice shape internal and external world experiences, and Dr. Shelley believes in exploring these experiences through supportive conversations utilizing curiosity and open-heartedness to address and speak to these various differing life experiences. Dr. Shelley believes that awareness of ourselves is one of the most powerful tools that is utilized to help anyone seeking counseling. The power of connection, support, safety, and communication within the therapeutic relationship can assist in healing old wounds and help clients to face moments of pain. Clients may seek to accomplish any goals they may have set for themselves at the beginning of therapy, or change these goals as therapy progresses. Dr. Shelley walks with clients through this process to assist them in their therapy journey.
Dr. Shelley looks forward to working with you. Reach out today to schedule a free phone consultation to explore getting started with Dr. Shelley.