Meet Our Coaches

Angelica Shiels, Psy.D.

I'm Dr. Angelica Shiels, licensed clinical psychologist and the creator of The Attunement Method.  As long as I can remember, the science of human behavior has fascinated me.  The summer I turned ten, I begged my mom to buy me an old Abnormal Psychology Textbook from a garage sale, and it  kept me company the whole day waiting in the car while she perused the neighborhoods.  I still remember the conclusion of the first research study I ever read:  When someone does another person a favor, the person who did the favor reports liking the recipient more, not the other way around. Who knew?  

Over the last two decades, I have quelled my curiosity with expertise in several broad categories of psychology, which seem to converge into one larger topic:  Relationships.  While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I worked in a “twin studies lab,” where I interviewed parents of two- year-old twins to determine the contributions of nature and nurture in their development (subsequent students followed them through their lives, and the University of Wisconsin remains a forerunner in longitudinal developmental research). As an undergraduate, I also attended a small graduate-level seminar  on the neurological basis of behavior, where I learned about functional imaging studies and neurological disorders. While earning my doctorate in clinical psychology at the  Illinois School of Professional Psychology, I took graduate courses and completed clinical rotations at schools, clinics, hospitals, and prisons to earn my concentration in “couples, families, and children.”  I completed a large research project on Bowlby and Ainsworth's Attachment models and attended optional seminars on  Emotion-Focused Couples therapy and strategies from the Gottman Institute, and Harville Hendrix's Imago Relational Therapy. Ever still fascinated by biology and the role it plays in social-emotional behavior and communication, I completed my dissertation on the biological causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  This understanding of children, couples, family systems,  human development, and biology became valuable as I have concentrated my clinical practice on couples and children in-particular over the past two decades.  I always say, every partner in a relationship was once a child, and, according to family systems and  attachment theories, early experiences influence how their nervous systems become conditioned to respond to connection and vulnerability in their adult relationships.

All of this has all lead me to the develop The Attunement Method, a unique relationship approach that combines principles of attachment, conditioning, and skill-building to understand, re-establish safety, and truly enjoy one another once again.

Amanda Pfaneuf

Well before training with Dr. Shiels, Amanda  Phaneuf built her career on understanding people’s perspectives and needs and skillfully motivating them out of their comfort-zones and stuck-patterns. Over the last decade she has successfully facilitated conflict resolution workshops with groups of all sizes for a large DC nonprofit. Most recently, she successfully guided the overhaul of a company protocol, on the frontlines sifting through multiple competing needs and resolving complex personality conflicts. Her perspective that all resolutions must be grounded in emotional-safety, and her expertise in cultivating that safety, make her a natural fit with Dr. Shiels’ methodology.

Amanda is an expert communicator, trained in emotion-focused techniques and the Sonder method of professional coaching, and the leader of the public speaking chapter of a large DC nonprofit. She has also received extensive training with Dr. Shiels on attachment, defense mechanisms, family systems dynamics, and key dialogues. However, what sets Amanda apart from other relationship coaches is her unflinching ability to assess and pinpoint key issues systematically, and to zero-in on them in a naturally disarming manner. Her sharp, analytical mind that misses nothing, combined with her ability to make even the most anxious person feel safe and heard, is unparalleled. With Amanda’s relationship coaching, you will reach your goals. 

Amanda  describes herself as “living to learn,” and is constantly reading, listening to podcasts, or attending seminars and workshops on relationships.  She takes it all in critically and with an ear for evidence-based foundations. Amanda is also a mother to two amazing boys, the middle daughter of three sisters, and a terrible pickleball player.  She is an alumna of Gettysburg College and Seth Godin’s altMBA