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A Letter from Dr. Shelly Harrell

Dearest Soulful Ones,


I would like to personally invite you to join me on a journey to live MORE…more fully alive, more connected, and more meaningfully– a life infused with “soulfulness”.  

Soulfulness was born from the union of my Detroit born-and-raised African American cultural sensibilities and my 30+ year career as a psychologist-therapist-professor. The soulfulness approach is a culmination and integration of my professional and personal expertise and passions. It has emerged out of the influence of my ancestors known and unknown, the creative and colorful people in my family and community, my educational and professional pursuits, and the adventures of my own personal life journey. Present always and threaded through everything in my life has been music, dance, social justice, love, passion, and Spirit. Soulfulness integrates all of this and locates itself under the umbrella of contemplative practices (a diverse set of consciousness, communal, and empowerment strategies for deepening and expanding experiential and critical awareness by bearing witness to one’s own experience- somatically, emotionally, cognitively, relationally, sociopolitically, and spiritually). The Soulfulness Center builds upon my earlier “Focus and Flow” approach and represents an evolution of the initial introduction of soulfulness through "Soulfulness4Life".  This work is ultimately in the service of healing, wellness, empowerment, liberation, and mental health. I like to say that soulfulness moves us from being “stressed out to energized within”.


The Soulfulness Center is dedicated to awakening, nurturing, illuminating and liberating soulfulness. The work of The Soulfulness Center honors the preciousness of life and seeks to support in living fully and optimally, a life infused with wisdom, meaning, aliveness, deep connectedness, and joy.  Soulfulness is all about making contact with the personal and collective truths that live and move within us, between us, and all around us. Living soulfully involves the courage to "feel what's real" and liberate ourselves to creatively, powerfully, and meaningfully manifest and express our soul's deepest truths and highest callings. Soulfulness invites us into the depths of our being and to the heights of our human potential. Soulfulness is life-affirming and life-enhancing. And soulfulness is always about CONNECTION– living our lives in a deeply connected and connecting way.  Living with soulfulness means cultivating, honoring, manifesting, and celebrating the wholeness, complexity, beauty and truth of who we are.  

I am committed to developing and building The Soulfulness Center, to share resources and practices with you that reflect my expertise and creativity, that emerge from what I have experienced and what I have witnessed through the gifts of clients, students, colleagues, friends, and family who have bared and shared their souls with me, allowing me to walk closely with them during some of the most vulnerable times of their lives.  I also want to share the lessons, successes, joys, and wisdom that I have been honored to witness, as well as that which has been born of my own struggles and triumphs. All of this has resulted in my being 100% convinced that soulfulness is the essence of what heals us, uplifts us, connects us, sustains us, and transforms us. 

Soulfully Yours,
Dr. Shelly P. Harrell 


Born and raised in Detroit, Dr. Shelly Harrell is an award-winning Harvard-educated and UCLA-trained psychologist, as well as a certified meditation teacher.  As an experienced psychotherapist, mentor, and professor she has been helping, healing, teaching, and training for over 30 years. She is a researcher and published author in the areas of culture and psychotherapy, sociocultural and sociopolitical aspects of stress, racism and mental health, and  psychological well-being among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Her soulfulness approach to wellness and resilience represents an integration of her work that is informed by cultural, African-centered, and liberation psychologies, contemplative practices, and stress science.

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  • Born and Raised in Detroit, Michigan

  • B.A. Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors from Harvard University

  • M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA

  • Tenured Full Professor, Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology

  • Practicing Psychotherapist for over 30 years

  • Certified Meditation Teacher (CMT) - International Meditation Teacher Association

  • Visiting Professor, UCLA

  • Consulting Faculty Member at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy

  • Expert Therapist with NICABM's Next Level Practitioner Program

  • Advisory Board Member & Consultant, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute

  • Guest Faculty Member at Embodied Philosophy (Mind-Body Therapy Certificate Program)



  • Association of Black Psychologists

  • American Psychological Association

  • Community Healing Network

  • Imoyase Community Support Services

  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute

  • National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM)

  • Bridge Builders

  • Insight Timer Meditation App

  • Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

  • Wisdom 2.0 

  • Mindsight Institute

  • Compassion in Psychotherapy Summit 

  • Community Coalition - South Los Angeles

  • UCLA Semel Institute

  • Maple Counseling Center

  • Emory University

  • Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

  • Ivy Planning Group

  • Kennesaw State University

  • California State University, Fullerton

  • California State University, San Bernadino

  • Marin Community College

  • Global Stress Summit 

  • Wise@Work 

  • Wisdom Labs

  • National Medical Association

  • California Psychological Association

  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  • Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA)

  • Leading Edge

  • Embodied Wisdom

  • Academy of Therapy Wisdom 

  • Emory University

  • Western Positive Psychology Association

  • Veteran's Administration (VA) Health Care System (West Los Angeles)

  • Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

  • National Multicultural Conference and Summit

  • Western Youth Services

  • Nubia Wellness and Healing

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Bemi Fasalojo, Ed.D., Program Director 

Dr. Bemi received her Master’s degree in psychology and her doctorate in organizational leadership at Pepperdine University. Her dissertation was on the experience of BIPOC mindfulness consultants in corporate environments. As a facilitator and coach, Bemi uses strength-based approaches, somatic, expressive arts, and contemplative practices to enhance resilience and well-being. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).

Ionna Henderson, M.A., Senior Intern  

Ionna was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC. She has always been a helper, asker of questions, and advocate for others. As a military combat veteran, she experienced the benefits of therapy firsthand and began her healing journey. Ionna is an associate psychotherapist and certified yoga teacher. She is interested in art, somatic + soulful practices to healing and wellness that center Black, Indigenous, and Folx of Color (BIPOC) and their lived experience.

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