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A Triple-Certified Trauma Therapist & Mental Health Expert – Exclusive Interview With Masha Shapiro

Masha Shapiro is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York and is the owner of We Rise Mental Health Counseling Services, PLLC. Masha is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Masha has been recognized as an expert in her field and has been on numerous podcasts discussing mental health. Masha is a triple-certified trauma therapist, holding certifications as an Individual Certified Trauma Specialist, a Complex Certified Trauma Professional, and an EMDRIA-certified EMDR therapist. Masha also specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, self-esteem issues, perinatal mood disorders, couples counseling, and narcissistic abuse recovery services.

Image photo of Masha Shapiro

Masha Shapiro, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Sure. I graduated from Fordham University in 2013 with a degree in Mental Health Counseling and went on to complete my externship at Lutheran Healthcare, where I worked with co-occurring disorders and provided both individual and group therapy sessions. I also worked at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island following Hurricane Sandy and provided therapy to those who were impacted by PTSD as a result of the damage that was caused by this storm. Later, I obtained additional experience working at other counseling centers before going off on my own in 2016, which is when I opened a private practice called Doors To Freedom Mental Health Counseling Services, PLLC. In June of 2022, I expanded into a group psychotherapy practice, known as We Rise Mental Health Counseling Services, PLLC.

Could you tell us about some of your specialties?

I am a triple-certified trauma professional, and have obtained certifications as an Individual Trauma Therapist, a Complex Trauma Specialist, and am also a certified EMDR practitioner via EMDRIA. Additionally, I incorporate a lot of somatic experiencing into my work as I believe there is a strong mind-body connection. I also incorporate elements of CBT, NLP, EFT, and SBFT into my work. I am a solutions-focused therapist and am very hands-on in sessions. Additionally, I specialize in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perinatal mood disorders, narcissistic abuse recovery, and self-esteem issues.

Could you tell us more about your specialty in trauma?

I work with a range of traumas, including single time occurrences and complex trauma that ensued over a period of years. One of the major elements of this work includes teaching clients how to regulate their nervous systems, providing appropriate psychoeducation about the mind-body connection, and utilizing EMDR and trauma narratives to help clients reprocess and rewrite their stories (where necessary/wanted).

Could you tell us more about your specialty in anxiety and panic disorders?

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health concerns in the world. Everyone has anxiety, but in some clients, the amount of anxiety they experience surpasses what is deemed normal. In these cases, I work with both the body and the mind to restore a healthier and more realistic way of applying logic to situations that anxiety has clouded with fear and doubt. I also use systematic desensitization, fear ladders, and exposure therapy where needed, as each of my interventions are specialized to the client’s specific needs.

Could you tell us more about your specialty in obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder consists of intrusive obsessions (thoughts) and compulsions (actions) that a client takes to remedy the anxiety experienced by these thoughts. Most commonly, I use exposure and response prevention therapy to teach clients that they do not have to perform compulsive actions to relieve their suffering. In a gradual manner, I start exposing clients to what they fear most, and clients often report feeling better within a few short weeks.

Could you tell us more about your specialty in perinatal mood disorders?

I once read a quote that said, “postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy-- but is also the most undertreated.” As someone who has suffered from postpartum depression twice, I know first-hand that support goes a long way in helping the women, children, and families that have been impacted by illness. Together, my clients and I make a recovery care plan which often includes their entire care team.

Could you tell us more about your specialty with narcissistic abuse recovery?

Many of my clients report being in relationships with narcissistic individuals, which often encompasses layers of toxic underpinnings. Therefore, psychoeducation and insight-oriented therapy are vital and necessary components of the therapy process. From there, I work with clients on their self-esteem, self-worth, boundary-setting skills, and assertiveness training which fosters a sense of empowerment. As a result, clients expand their perception in regard to the way they feel about themselves and develop new meanings of what toxic relationships entail for themselves and for their futures.

Could you tell us more about your specialty in self-esteem issues?

None of us were born with low levels of self-esteem; in fact—these beliefs were inflicted upon us at some point in time as a result of experiences that have been encountered. The good news is that the stories we tell ourselves can be changed. I use narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and subconscious reprogramming to help clients change the narratives they are telling themselves, some of which are on autopilot. I help clients become more aware of the thoughts they are thinking and teach clients how to consciously reprogram their beliefs.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Being able to be present and supportive for my clients during their time of need is a great privilege to me and thus--I am honored when clients choose me to be a part of their healing journey. There is no better feeling than seeing my clients work towards achieving their goals and experiencing relief from the presenting issues they came to see me for.

Follow me on Instagram, and visit my website for more info!



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