About Me

Shayla Ortell, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor providing individual and couples therapy. She maintains a private practice in Centreville, VA and Gainesville, VA. She has over 20 years of experience as a psychotherapist.

Following having earned a Bachelors Degree from the State University of New York College at Oswego, Ms. Ortell graduated from James Madison University, with a Masters Degree and an Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling Psychology. While earning those graduate degrees, she did an additional 30 hours of graduate work in School Psychology at James Madison University, giving her additional training and experience assessing children in the school systems with potential Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disturbance blocking their educational progress, and giving her the equivalent of a PhD.

Currently, she specializes in neuroscience and awareness-based therapy, working with adults and couples. Her primary area of interest is the burgeoning field of neuroscience and its applications to mental health.  Often due to stress, trauma, or relationship difficulties, our nervous systems lose touch with the ability to access the natural capacity for a calm, grounded and healthy way of relating with the world around us.  Shayla Ortell, LPC helps clients to practice methods to calm their nervous systems and regain the ability to relate to life and to other people in healthy ways.  Shayla has attended advanced trainings in somatic, experience-based, self-awareness practices in psychotherapy including Hakomi, Somatic Attachment, Somatic Experiencing, and meditation.  She helps clients to use these approaches for tending to tension in the body, as well as tending to challenging emotions, without becoming overwhelmed. She helps clients develop the ability to shift from discomfort to ease, through a skills-based approach based on the latest in brain science—helping them learn to follow their own natural, healthy inclinations toward nervous system regulation.

In addition to her focus on helping others as a therapist in the Northern Virginia, Ms. Ortell has brought her natural curiosity to a range of other personal interests, also exploring how these interests relate to nervous system regulation. These natural interests include gardening, spending time in nature, meditation, music and the effects of sound and silence on healing.  She is also interested in how play, creativity and humor can relate to healing.

Toward these ends Ms. Ortell participated in the Virginia Master Gardeners program from 2003 to 2009 (and has continued gardening ever since) as well as the Virginia Master Naturalist program from 2014 on.  She is fascinated by the growing body of research documenting positive effects of time in nature on the nervous system, mental health and longevity. Ms. Ortell has also been involved in a meditation practice for over 20 years, participating for over 12 years in a meditation group consisting largely of other therapists and teachers, who focus on the use of silent meditation followed by deep verbal-processing.  Ms. Ortell has also engaged in a life-long exploration of various kinds of music.  She has also pursued an interest in various fiber arts including knitting, crochet, and weaving which led her to become a member of a local Weaver’s Guild.  She is deeply interested in helping her clients to explore their own creative, natural, healthy interests which lead them toward calm and healing.

In summary, Shayla Ortell, LPC is a neuroscience-based therapist, who is devoted to helping clients find their way to a more settled nervous system through the latest in self-awareness and body-based practices, in order for them to be able to form healthy attachments and to engage with life in more joyful ways.


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