Theresa Shank, Ph.D. has been effectively and successfully treating anxiety disorders, pediatric and adult obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and body focused repetitive disorders (BFRBs) such as skin picking and hair pulling for over 20 years. She has developed an effective approach that has helped numerous clients with OCD, social anxiety, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, fear of vomiting (emetophobia), separation anxiety, skin-picking, and hair-pulling successfully manage their symptoms and return to calmer, happier, and more fulfilling lives.
Dr. Shank uses a combination of individual and family therapy and provides developmentally appropriate education to the client and their family. When treating OCD, she uses exposure and response prevention (E/RP), which teaches clients to manage their intrusive thoughts, refrain from performing their compulsions, and tolerate the anxiety that comes when the OCD cycle is interrupted. When appropriate, she provides in-vivo therapy to clients in public settings to help them learn how to manage their symptoms in real time.
Dr. Shank holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Union College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. After completing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at the University of Michigan (Flint), Dr. Shank came to Maryland for a post-doctoral fellowship program in Developmental Pediatrics at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She began focusing on building expertise in anxiety disorders, particularly OCD and emetophobia when she realized there was not enough training or tools to help her clients.
Dr. Shank is a past board member of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (IOCDF). She has received advanced training in treating OCD and BFRBs and participates in a monthly peer-consultation group with four other local OCD experts. She regularly speaks to parents and other health professionals about working with children and teens with OCD and anxiety.
Dr. Shank is in the process of raising teenagers, which enables her to bring empathy, humor, and a realistic perspective on what it means to be a parent to her work. Dr. Shank works with the providers at CPE Clinic, LLC in Columbia and Annapolis so that she could serve the community where she and her family live.