Brian Shapiro

(M.S., L.M.F.T.)

About Me

ABOUT ME
Hello! Very nice to meet you! Clients have often told me that seeking out a therapist for yourself can be an exciting, challenging and sometimes stressful experience in itself! Which therapist will I be able to relate to? Which therapist might best understand me and my own unique feelings and life experiences? It takes real courage to take this first step on this journey toward self-discovery and change. Perhaps you will choose me to be the one to help guide you.

I have over 35 years of experience in practice as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in California and Idaho. A Masters Level graduate of the University of Southern California's (USC) Graduate School of Counseling, I have extensive experience working with both couples and individuals with partner related issues, such as separation, emotional estrangement, and intimacy related issues. I work with families from many different cultures and experiences. Couples counseling, at its heart, is all about learning how to effectively communicate with one another. You would think that most couples would be pretty good at it as many spend a good deal of time together talking with one another about all sorts of things. But are they really communicating? One of the single biggest complaints that individuals in romantic relationships have is a sometimes overwhelming feeling that their significant other is not really listening to them in a meaningful way. They know this by the response they receive after trying to "get through" to their loved one. We can all recall the icon image of the husband reading the paper at the breakfast table while his wife tries to talk to him. When he is accused of not listening to her, he proudly repeats back her last sentence or two, proving that he is really listening! So why is his wife still so dissatisfied with his response, then? This example, however often used, does illustrate an important point, of course, which is that listening is not about literally hearing and memorization alone.

So, what to do? The first thing I tell all my couples is that listening is not limited to your sense of hearing. Listening to someone, really focusing all of your attention on them to learn what they really are trying to tell you, involves using most all of your senses if you really want to "hear" them. What does the other persons tone of voice tell you?
Is their voice soft, harsh, loud and angry or sweet, sad, or emotionally painfully sounding? What about their body language and the way they hold themselves? Do they appear to be open, or are their arms crossed and in front of them? Most studies show that when we try to assess what a person is saying to us, we note their body language far more than their actual words. This skill may be a throwback to our ancestral origins when we had to quickly assess a potential enemies intentions. Their words can lie, but their body language not so easily. An open mouthed smile and outstretched hand revealing the palm historically showed that you had no weapons to hide. These non verbal cues are given and received so quickly and automatically that they often escape many peoples conscious awareness. But all of these non verbal cues are often used without conscious thought to determine what it is that they are actually communicating.

One of the most delicate forms of communication we can have with another human being is sexual communication, and being one of the most fragile forms of communication it is often one of the first things in a relationship to experience problems. Sexuality requires being open and vulnerable to your partner and being able to trust your partner with your own very intimate feelings and desires. So it is no wonder that it is one of the first things in a relationship to experience difficulties when the relationship itself is having problems. The couples that I work with often ask me, why is it that therapists always want to know about our sex life? The answer is that it is because a couples sex life is a kind of barometer of the health of a couples relationship. If they maintain a satisfactory sex life, then often their ability to communicate is fairly good. This overall ability to communicate is seen as a strength in the relationship that can be utilized when working on many different kinds of problems that can be sensitive and anxiety provoking to face. When a couple ceases to communicate with one another, their sex life is often the first casualty!

In my online counseling practice, then, we practice acquiring these skills, and perfecting them, through talking and listening exercises. I have found that this can best be accomplished through the live video chat platform, which is very effective because all three of us can see one another and communicate in real time. This is much like the experience of receiving counseling in my office. Betterhelp's own secure video platform operates in real time with live streaming and is fully encrypted for security and privacy. In this way I can observe the interactions between couples and more quickly assess where the difficulties lie. A couples body language, tone of voice, the way in which they speak to one another, are all important aspects of a couples style of communication, and are often quite helpful, and more powerful and telling, than the words they speak alone. Of course merely learning to listen to one another does not by itself solve problems in relationships, but without this skill being in good working order, it is much like trying to build a house without any tools. If you can't effectively communicate with one another, you won't be able to build a strong and satisfying relationship either!

I can help you with improving your communication skills with one another, learning to really listen to one another, as well as to practice, learn, and share with your partner your true feelings and desires for your relationship. Learning and then practicing this essential skill will help you will be able to communicate more effectively with your partner about many different issues while learning more about your own, and your partners issues and desires as well.

I invite you and your partner to join me in this journey of self-discovery. I will help you both to acquire the skills necessary to increase effective and meaningful communication between you, the type of communication that most every couple desires to master!


Specialties

  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Relationship issues
  • Family conflicts
  • Trauma and abuse
  • Intimacy-related issues

I also have experience in Grief, Parenting issues, Anger management, Self esteem, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Coping with life changes, Coaching, Compassion fatigue

Years of Experience: 35

Services Offered


  • Messaging

  • Phone

  • Video

Licensing

LMFT #LMFT - 32 (Expires: 2020-09-30)


Reviews

Written by C.H. on Oct 03, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 5 months on issues concerning relationship

Brian has been working with me and with my partner individually and together. He is astute and easy to speak with. We both appreciate Brian's input and insights.

Written by G.A. on Sep 08, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 3 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Excellent.

Written by L.I. on Sep 07, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 3 weeks on issues concerning relationship

I cant believe how good he is.

Written by L.I. on Aug 19, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 2 months on issues concerning relationship

Speaking with Brian feels more like speaking with a good friend, but with all his experience and expertise to offer as well. This ended up being way more helpful than I ever thought it would be. Thank you!

Written by C.H. on Aug 16, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 2 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Brian has been an incredible therapist for us! He has a natural ability to make us feel comfortable and open to talk about anything without ever feeling judged. We have had three sessions with him and it has already had a positive impact on our relationship. We appreciate that he gave us some exercises to work at on our own time and guides us without ever feeling paternalistic. He is also flexible with our schedules and busy life. We are both very grateful for his expertise and look forward to ongoing therapy with him!

Written by T.R. on Aug 09, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 9 months on issues concerning relationship

Brian is awesome!

Written by S.U. on Jun 01, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 2 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Great listening skills and reflection abilities!

Written by J.A. on Mar 26, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 2 weeks on issues concerning relationship

I’ve only talked to Brian once so far but I feel he really knows what he’s doing I think it’s going to be good, he’s already called me out on some of my bs.

Written by Y.V. on Mar 20, 2019 after counseling with Brian for 3 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Brian was very patient and understanding. It was easy to communicate with him and we felt comfortable to disclose our issues. He has for sure a vast expertise.

Written by C.. on Dec 24, 2018 after counseling with Brian for 2 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Brian has been amazing so far! He is so knowledgeable and experienced! I would definitely recommend him to my family and friends. I've only done 2 sessions so far and am looking forward to the next. Very satisfied!

Written by A.L. on Nov 04, 2018 after counseling with Brian for 2 months on issues concerning relationship

Brian is very easy to talk to and understood my situation very quickly. He’s very quick to respond and gives solid, clear advice that’s very relevant to my questions and issues. He doesn’t beat around the bush, which I really appreciate. He’s direct, very experienced and friendly, making the whole counseling experience productive and illuminating! I highly recommend him for dealing with all sorts of issues due to his extensive experience and clear communication.

Written by M.A. on Sep 20, 2018 after counseling with Brian for 1 month on issues concerning relationship

We are totally happy with our experience with Mr. Brian. He is making our couple stronger. He is a great listener and good advisor. We feel comfortable with him. I would strongly recommend Mr. Brian to couples who want to move forward in their relationship.

Written by A.D. on Sep 09, 2018 after counseling with Brian for 2 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Very knowledgeable, experienced, understanding and dedicated. We feel his concern is genuine and his positive attitude is contagious.

Written by Q.Z. on Aug 28, 2018 after counseling with Brian for 3 weeks on issues concerning relationship

Brian is a good listener, systematic in approaching issues and has a good sense of humor. I had just a few session but I felt comfortable since the first session and he was able to understand all my needs in one session. I am looking forward to reach my target with him.