About Anxiety in Athletes

Anxiety in Athletes was developed by the International OCD Foundation to reduce the negative impact of anxiety and OCD in sports.
Meet the members of Anxiety in Athletes:

Lead Advocate Tom Smalley, MS, CSCS

Tom Smalley, MS, CSCS is a Lead Advocate for the IOCDF and a co-founder of Anxiety in Athletes.

Smalley is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA. He also has a masters degree in exercise science from Merrimack College as well as a bachelors degree in psychology from Siena College.

Tom was diagnosed with OCD in 2014 at 16. He then became passionate about spreading awareness about what OCD really is. Now, he speaks regularly at the Annual OCD Conference along with schools, podcasts, and events. Tom was also the recipient of the 2019 IOCDF Hero Award.

He hosts his own podcast, Smalls' Talk, a show that focuses on breaking down the stigma of mental health in athletics. He lives in New York City.

You can learn more about Tom and his journey at struggleintostrength.com.


Advocate Cali Werner, LMSW

Cali Werner’s clinical interests focus on OCD in athletes. She also focuses on anxiety and performance, and mental health stigma.
Werner received her bachelors degree from Rice University. There, she also competed as a Division I collegiate distance runner, receiving a national honorable mention in track. She then received her masters degree in social work with a specialization in OCD from Baylor University.
Werner continues to pursue distance running and competed in the Olympic Trials for the marathon in 2020. Her current research on OCD and athletes coincides with her love for running.
Cali is raising awareness and speaking on behalf of those with mental illness by educating and providing resources and hope



Advocate Sarah Farris, LCPC

Sarah Farris, LCPC is a licensed therapist in Chicago. Farris specializes in treating adults with anxiety, OCD, and related disorders. She also has a special interest in mental health and athletics. Previously, she has worked in research and in university settings.

Farris received a BS in psychology at Roanoke College and an MA in counseling at UTSA. She grew up in New Orleans, LA and began riding horses at the age of eight. Farris then developed a passion for hunter/jumper equestrian sports. Later, in graduate school, she worked part-time as a riding instructor and horse trainer.

Today, Farris enjoys lifting weights and participates in amateur barbell and kettlebell competitions.



Kristen Mackel, LCSW

Kristen Mackel, LCSW is the co-founder of The Center for Grit and Growth. For more than 15 years she has provided clinical mental health services to high-performing individuals. This includes NCAA Division 1 athletes, professional athletes, and Olympians.
Mackel has expertise treating mood and anxiety disorders. She is listed on the United States Olympic and Paralympic Mental Health registry.

Jason Von Stietz, PhD

Dr. Jason von Stietz is a licensed psychologist in group practice at CBT Center of Southern California. He specializes in OCD, insomnia, and sport psychology.

Aside from his clinical work, von Stietz provides team building and mental skills training for collegiate athletes. His previous experience includes a sport psychology fellowship at Whittier College. Now, he is the co-chair of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association's Sport Psychology Special Interest Group.

He also appears on podcasts discussing mental health and sport psychology in relation to TV and film.


About the International OCD Foundation

The mission of the IOCDF is to ensure that no one affected by OCD and related disorders suffers alone. Our community provides help, healing, and hope.

Our vision is that everyone impacted by OCD and related disorders has immediate access to effective treatment and support.

The IOCDF provides up-to-date education and resources, strengthens community engagement, delivers quality professional training, and advances groundbreaking research.

The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization. Founded in 1986 by a small group of individuals with OCD, the Foundation has grown into an international organization serving a broad community of individuals with OCD and related disorders, their family members and loved ones, and mental health professionals and researchers around the world. We have affiliates in 25 states and territories in the US, in addition to global partnerships with other OCD organizations and mental health non-profits around the world.

To learn more about our resources, visit iocdf.org.

Black male runner about to start a race.
Ginny Fuchs!
Kevin Anderson serving in tennis.