Shelley Avny, PhD
Shelley Avny, PhD is clinical psychologist with expertise in assessing and treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. After training under and working for many of the leaders in the field, she opened her own practice to pursue her vast programmatic and clinical visions.
Prior to opening CAAP, Dr. Avny was the Director of Training and the Director of the Selective Mutism Program at Kurtz Psychology Consulting PC (KPCPC). During this time, she developed WeSpeak – the first behavioral group intensive for pre-teens and teens with SM.
Dr. Avny was also the director and clinical supervisor of Mighty Mouth Kids (MMK), an intensive intervention developed by Dr. Steven Kurtz for 3-9 year olds with SM. In addition to her leadership, training, and program development responsibilities at KPCPC, she immersed myself in her clinical work, striving to provide optimal care to my patients and families.
Dr. Avny's training has afforded her top-notch opportunities, and helped shape her expertise in multiple areas. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Child Mind Institute (CMI), where she provided weekly and intensive treatment for SM, OCD, and other anxiety disorders; co-led CBITS – a skills-based group intervention in schools aimed at reducing symptoms among children exposed to trauma; and co-led the DBT multi-family skills group, teaching adolescents with emotion dysregulation and their parents effective skills to replace problem behaviors. Dr. Avny completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Florida Health Science Center, where she specialized in assessment, treatment, and consultation across a broad range of difficulties, including anxiety, mood, and disruptive behavior disorders; sleep problems; obesity; and adjustment issues related to acute and chronic illness (e.g., Inflammatory Bowel Disease, feeding problems, encopresis). Dr. Avny received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, but pursued her externships elsewhere to receive specialized training in anxiety and related disorders. Her externships included the NYU Child Study Center, Child & Adolescent OCD, Tic Disorders, Trichotillomania and Anxiety Group (COTTAGe) at the University of Pennsylvania, the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) at the University of Pennsylvania, the renowned Pediatric Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Family Stress and Illness Program at CHOP.
An active participant in academic organizations, Dr. Avny continuously seeks to expand her knowledge and disseminate her work. Dr. Avny is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), and the Selective Mutism Association (SMA), and is a frequent presenter at their annual conferences. She has also co-authored book chapters and scholarly articles, and served as an ad hoc reviewer for several journals.
Inspired by a former supervisor who was relentless in his therapeutic efforts, Dr. Avny strives to identify ways to optimize treatment outcomes for youth with anxiety disorders. She is not only committed to reducing symptoms, but also to improving functioning with friends, at school, and with family. She is particularly interested in identifying mechanisms to translate the progress made in sessions to the real world.
In her free time, Dr. Avny enjoys seeing friends and family, trying new restaurants, and traveling.