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Sheela Raja, PhD
Sheela Raja, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. 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 internship and post-doctoral training at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Boston, MA. She has published numerous articles exploring the relationship between physical and psychological health and traumatic events. Her current research interests include training medical providers to work effectively and sensitively with survivors of trauma. 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. She loves working with the media to translate the latest psychological research into understandable, pragmatic suggestions to help improve the quality of people's lives. She has been featured on national television networks including CNN/HLN, ABC and WGN-9 Chicago. She is a regular contributor to the CBS-Chicago morning news, providing down-to-earth insights on health and wellness, as well as sharing her psychological perspective on breaking news. She has been quoted as an expert source in numerous print and online publications, including Family Circle, Shape, Prevention, Weight Watchers Magazine and AOL Health. Dr. Raja also maintains a small private practice that is focused on health and wellness coaching for busy professionals.

Sheela Raja is the author of Overcoming Trauma & PTSD: A Workbook Integrating Skills from ACT, DBT and CBT (New Harbinger Publications).

Entries by Sheela Raja, PhD

Across Decades and Oceans: The Gift of Family Reconciliation

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2015 | 3:04 PM

One year ago, I got the best present of my adult life. It wasn't wrapped under a tree. It was the gift of courage, family, and forgiveness. My father's family reunited after a 53-year separation. I spoke to cousins I had never met, and we found the family that all...

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Food Allergies in The Classroom: Using Science and Empathy to Drive Your Cupcake Decisions

(4) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 5:18 PM

In a recent piece entitled Why Do Your Kid's Allergies Mean My Kid Can't Have a Birthday? the author makes arguments that are familiar to food allergy parents. It's no fun to celebrate my child's birthday at school without sugar! My child wasn't born with a life threatening...

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Empathy: Turning Outward to Change the World (At Least a Little Bit)

(4) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 10:19 PM

One of the first things you learn from your clients when you are a trauma psychologist is that no one can heal in a vacuum -- no one recovers alone. When something horrible and life-threatening happens to you, you need family, community and even strangers to come to your aid....

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Mothers Will Never Forget Newtown

(152) Comments | Posted April 13, 2013 | 4:50 PM

"I'll never forget where I was when I heard the news," a friend told me. "I haven't felt this horrible since 9/11," another mom disclosed to me, just days after the Newtown massacre. In the four months since the Sandy Hook murders, I've heard that sentiment echoed hundred of times,...

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5 Things Every American Should Know About Guns and Mental Health

(45) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 11:31 AM

The Newtown shooting has many Americans thinking about the role of mental illness in violence. It's an important, much needed conversation. Mental health professionals sit at a unique vantage point in this debate. Many of us have worked closely with both perpetrators and victims of violence. Many of us struggle...

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This Is Our Parenting Moment: Sensible Limits on Guns

(6) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 11:27 AM

When it comes to public health and safety policy, big changes are never easy. New ideas are often met with resistance and suspicion. But sometimes in history, there are watershed moments that push us forward and remind us of our connection and obligations to one another. Those moments are often...

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A Compassion Revolution: The Time Is Now

(7) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 10:27 AM

It's been a difficult week for trauma survivors. Survivors of Hurricane Sandy may wonder if the rest of the country has forgotten about them. Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault have questioned why protecting them suddenly became a partisan issue. Survivors of mass shootings wonder...

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Trauma, Denial and Activism in the Wake of Sandy Hook: A Wake-Up Call for Parents

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 12:05 PM

In a few more days, all 20 of those children in Newtown will be buried. The six adults killed will be laid to rest. Elsewhere, children will be home for the holidays. Moms will get busy baking, wrapping and shopping. In addition to our usual responsibilities, we will...

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Three Cheers for Healthy Helicopter Parents

(9) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 7:30 PM

The search for 10-year old Jessica Ridgeway is over -- a nightmarish outcome embodying every parent's worst fear. For any parent that keeps up with the news, we are bombarded with stories and statistics of teen suicides, bullying, school shootings and

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Traumatic Events, Community and Culture: Media Mental Health Coverage of Sikh Temple Terror and Joplin Mosque Has Fallen Short

(2) Comments | Posted August 17, 2012 | 5:37 PM

It's been a difficult few weeks to be a South-Asian in America. A couple of Sundays ago, my friends -- Sikh, Hindu and Muslim -- were all glued to news coverage of the shooting at the Oak Creek temple. A day later, we found out that a mosque...

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Lessons from the Sandusky Case: 4 Things Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Sexual Abuse

(8) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 8:31 PM

The FBI report on the Sandusky sexual abuse case is very disturbing. My fellow parents have used words like horrible, shocking and disgusting. As parents, we read the headlines and feel powerless. But there are serious lessons we can learn from this case. What do we need to...

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'Can Women Have It All?' Is That the Important Question?

(3) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 8:09 PM

In her excellent piece "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," Anne-Marie Slaughter says she wanted to start a dialogue about women, work, ambition and family life. The internet is ablaze with commentary asking, "Do You Have It All?" As a clinical psychologist, I think it's the wrong...

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