About Me

Photo of Sheila F. Flaherty
Photo of Sheila F. Flaherty

I am an award-winning writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in helping people navigate life changes with grace and ease. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Houston. I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.

Growing up an “Army brat” and as a young woman I lived in numerous places in the United States and overseas, including Germany and Singapore. My life experiences and education have contributed to my goal to be a kind, intuitive, and life-transforming therapist. I’ve had a thriving counseling practice in the Chicago area for many years, except for one year spent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I have always been passionately drawn to righting injustice. While living in Saudi, my compassion led me to practice counseling secretly, helping to empower the American and Saudi women I met. My experiences fueled my passion for writing East of Mecca, a novel about women living within the confines of a violent, oppressive, male-dominated society.

In screenplay format, East of Mecca has placed in numerous screenwriting competitions, including the Nicholl Fellowship, Big Break, BlueCat, and Table Read My Script: London. East of Mecca was a Finalist in the 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival in New York, a Gold Finalist in the 2016 Beverly Hills Screenplay Competition, and a Finalist in the 2005 CineStory Screenwriting Competition. In 2017, I was selected as a Top 50 Writer in ISA Fast Track Fellowship VI.

East of Mecca was awarded a Silver Nautilus Book Award in Fiction for 2015, is IndieReader Approved with a 5-star review, was named one of the best self-published books of 2016 by IndieReader, and one of the best self-published books by Rebels Market in 2018. East of Mecca currently has over 100 reviews averaging 5 stars on Amazon, and has been an Amazon Best Seller in Middle Eastern Literature for three consecutive years. I have been awarded residencies at the Ragdale Foundation for my work in fiction in 2010, 2013, and 2016.

My life mission is to enlighten, inspire, and empower others for the greater good.

My Core Values

  • Equality: Respecting the rights of all, without taking from some, to empower others.
  • Integrity: Doing the right thing guided by inner spiritual values.
  • Love: Attempting to bring passion and heart to all relationships and endeavors.
  • Faith: Action without expectation or proof of outcome—only hope.
  • Service: Striving to always work for the greater good, not expecting personal reward.
  • Humility: No need for external praise or reinforcement.