Sheela Raja, PhD

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Sheela Raja, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author of the book, Overcoming Trauma and PTSD.

She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches Health Communication and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Raja received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed her internship and post-doctoral training at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Boston, MA.

She is a highly sought after speaker and has given invited talks at federal, national, and community agencies on the topic of post-traumatic stress. Dr. Raja has a passion for making evidence-based psychology accessible and is a regular guest contributor to local and national television networks, including CBS-Chicago and CNN. She is a blogger for the The Huffington Post, and has been quoted as an expert source in numerous print and online publications.

The Quote

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Matthew 7:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

As an undergraduate Sheela was a psychology major and a women’s studies minor. As she began talking to classmates she soon discovered that many people had been impacted by trauma and that in fact trauma was not only an individual issue but a societal issue that caused a lot of psychological pain. It was this realization which began Sheela’s journey into the field of trauma treatment.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Sheela talks about a challenging time early in her training when she was seeing many clients with a wide variety of trauma the fact of which quickly brought to her realization that she wasn’t engaging in proper self-care. Sheela quickly spoke with a supervisor who not only normalized her experiences but directed her to better take care of herself.

Sheela’s Why

What’s kept me motivated in this work is the people who have opened their hearts and their souls to me. And it’s across age, gender and demographics.

Sheela’s advice

  • Be prepared to become varied! All-trauma-all-the time is probably not going to work as a long- term career plan. Think about different kinds of work and know that that’s okay.
  • Be prepared to become a kind of activist in a way, in terms of prevention of trauma!

Sheela’s go-to books

Interview Links

Edward Tick, PhD
Beck Gee-Cohen, MA LADC

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