Philosophy of Care:
I strive to treat symptoms and underlying causes rather than focusing on assigning labels or the assumptions tied to specific diagnoses. I prefer to collaborate with my clients and tailor my approach to their specific and individual needs. I place a strong emphasis on transparency and honesty as they are the greatest tools I implement to ensure my clients build the therapeutic skill sets they need to independently reach their treatment goals. I pride myself on knowing when confrontation is essential but recognize that there are still times when a client needs unconditional support and understanding. As such, I appreciate receiving feedback from my clients to ensure that balance between these extremes has been achieved and that they are satisfied with the progress they are making and the therapeutic support they are receiving.
The best part of my job is showing clients how to grow and watching them develop the ability to make significant therapeutic connections. I enjoy encouraging clients as they make progress towards their goals and realize they have successfully learned how to improve their own lives. I believe that a client's journey is filled with infinite opportunities to make improvement and sustain growth and that it is nothing short of a privilege that I get to share in that journey.
Specializations and Typical Clientele:
I have worked extensively with many different populations across a variety of treatment settings and believe I am capable of establishing a strong therapeutic connection with anyone who is committed to learning how to independently make life-altering changes regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual preference, educational achievement, financial ability, or private interests.
I am specially trained in psycho-legal, med-legal, and forensic treatment and evaluation. and have worked collaboratively and conjunctionally with various social service agencies, probation departments, court, legal and justice systems, rehabilitation programs, correctional facilities, and law enforcement agencies in a consultative/advisory capacity and court-ordered treatment provider.
Teenagers, College Students, and Young Adults:
I primarily work with teens and young adults, who have experienced trauma, addiction/substance abuse, sexual and/or gender nonconformity or dysphoria, behavioral issues, interpersonal/relational difficulties, immigration, citizenship, and transitional challenges, athletic/academic involvement, and/or occupational or legal problems.
I completed a formal training program with Orange Coast College’s Student Health Center as a mental health provider and psychological testing evaluator. I provided direct, on-campus services to students seeking psychotherapy, crisis intervention services, and psychodiagnostic clarification evaluations. I also developed a staff training program for establishing ‘Safe Spaces’ for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and ally students and was a designated liaison between the college and the student membership of the Queer/Gay Straight Alliance.
I completed a formal training program as part of a collaboration between County of Orange Health Care Agency, Social Services Agency, and Orange County’s Juvenile Justice System as a court-ordered/social services-mandated evaluator and treatment provider for foster youth, wards of the court, group home residents, and other dependent children of the state and their prospective adoptive parents. In addition to providing individual psychotherapy and foster parent consultations, I was trained in conducting pre-adoptive assessments for prospective adoptive parents and their foster youth, as well as, psychological testing and evaluations for the court and social services regarding placement suitability, service options, and treatment recommendations.
I completed my pre-Doctoral internship at County of Orange Health Care Agency’s Juvenile Drug Court as a court-ordered therapist for adolescents 15-18 years old who struggled with co-occurring substance abuse/drug addictions, legal and academic complications, mental health difficulties, and/or social and behavioral problems. This included providing treatment to therapy-resistant, non-compliant, and defiant or combative teenagers in Orange County Juvenile Hall, drug rehabilitation facilities, alternative education schools, probation programs, and an outpatient community clinic.
Moreover, I coached several high school-level sports teams, tutored 1st grade through doctoral level studies, including ESL dissertation candidates, responded to crisis hotline chat calls, and provided academic, career/vocational, and life coaching and counseling to clients of all ages.
ADULTS AND OLDER ADULTS:
I completed a formal post-Doctoral residency training program providing individual therapy to clients suffering from chronic illnesses, sustained neurological damage/cognitive impairments, physical pain, ongoing surgical treatment, complications due to medical conditions, and/or acute injuries. I also provided treatment to adults suffering from post-traumatic or workplace stress and/or declining performance and productivity due to compromised memory, sleep difficulties, and affective dysregulation caused by personal injury and/or workplace incidents or attacks. I also received specialized training in consulting, evaluating, and treating individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries requiring cognitive rehabilitation training.
I also received post-Doctoral supervision providing individual therapy to adults seeking treatment for a variety of outpatient mental health concerns andself-development treatment goals. I have also volunteered extensively with chronically mentally ill and homeless/transient populations trying to achieve independence, stability, and sustained life improvement.
I have also worked with older adults and geriatric clients receiving cognitive rehabilitation and support services in an assisted-living, Medicare-funded program.
Therapeutic Approach and Modality:
I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing/Therapy to empower my clients to reach their personal and therapeutic goals; however, I prefer to call it an “eclectic” framework due to the fact that my client-tailored approach and collaborative philosophy results in a high degree of variability from one client to the next. I regularly employ transparency, honesty, confrontation, humor, and sarcasm in my approach and therefore call my treatment non-traditional, or “alternative” as a result.
Relevant Beliefs and Guiding Philosophies:
I always advise prospective clients to be selective when choosing their new therapy provider. I recommend that clients speak to or try-out several therapists until they are confident that they have found the best fit/match. A therapy provider’s education, skills, and training is only as good as the therapeutic relationship or rapport that is established with you as a client so, finding the right person who can help you obtain real improvement and successful treatment outcomes may take some time. For this reason, I usually like to start with a free 15-minute phone consultation to provide potential clients with a sense of my personal style and approach to treatment before scheduling an initial appointment or intake.
I advise clients to ask about how their provider conceptualizes cases, develops a treatment plan, and talks about mental health. It is also beneficial to inquire about individual preferences that shape the therapeutic process such as whether the provider is naturally flexible, casual, intuitive, structured, regimented, planned or if the treatment they provide is typically insightful, exploratory, educational, inquisitive, instructional, experiential, interactive, interactional, solution-focused, collaborative, mission-oriented, etc.
"I conceptualize cases collaboratively but individualized to each client, with a focus on being treatment-focused not symptom-dependent and I maintain the belief that I ‘provide’ and facilitate learning therapeutic skills; I do not ‘do’ therapy."
I tell clients that my one and only goal is to get them out of my office ASAP - because therapy should not go on forever! Nor should their suffering! I am not the type of provider that settles for symptomatic clients or obtaining little progress week after week. Since I don't ‘do’ therapy, rather, I believe in being a therapy provider, I focus on teaching my clients the techniques and tools they need to work through their problems, come to terms with their limitations, and overcome their personal obstacles so that they can go on to successfully manage their own lives without staying in treatment or relying on my help.
I also believe in accessible and affordable mental health services for everyone. Though I have a set hourly fee, I do offer a sliding scale for qualifying clients, recognize Open Path Collective membership rates, and occasionally work out special financial arrangements to ensure that economic barriers do not prevent clients from receiving the psychotherapy services they need.
- Ms. Shapiro was an excellent mental health counselor at Orange Coast College. She was an integral part of the treatment team and worked closely with nursing staff to provide optimal care for her clients.
- Dr. Shapiro is super intelligent and I am amazed at her base of knowledge. She has also demonstrated her grasp of the field of psychology in the effective and efficient way in which she has treated patients and the amazing results she was able to achieve. I have received many positive reviews on Dr. Shapiros work and the patients absolutely love her.
- She has well-developed interpersonal skills and excellent work ethics... Ms. Shapiro demonstrates creativity and a strong interest in the profession of forensic psychology.