Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Professor of Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University
Dr. Shapiro has been doing existentially-oriented psychotherapy, teaching and consulting with family businesses for over 50 years. He has authored 16 published books and innumerable journal and popular press articles and has appeared on major media outlets
After a lengthy career Dr. Shapiro has retired from his psychotherapy and family business consulting practice. He remains a full time professor at Santa Clara University, and active author and speaker.
Now available directly from the publisher at https://titles.cognella.com/finding-meaning-facing-fears-9781793527486
For readers in their 40's to 60's. This new edition (2021) includes Generation X and the impact of COVID-19
The first edition won the 2013 Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Universities) Book of the Year Award.
This is the essential guide for expectant fathers. It's "a perfect companion to the many books for pregnant women."
Co-Authored with Dr. Terry Patterson this is also available at
This introductory text brings together experts from existential and cognitive behavior therapy. It has received excellent reviews from professionals and counselors and therapists in training.
Co-Authored with Drs. Lawrence Peltz and Susan Bernadett-Shapiro this is also available athttps://titles.cognella.com/basics-of-group-counseling-and-psychotherapy-9781516532506
This updated introductory text provides step-by-step explanation of group process and offers a well-established and researched approach for group counseling and psychotherapy. It has been a graduate class staple for decades.
This text provides a step-by-step guide to the explanation and process of existential approaches to psychotherapy, both as a primary mode and as an integration into all forms of professional counseling and psychotherapy.
Also available at
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He is a Fellow in four Divisions of the American Psychological Association and is listed as a "Notable Alumnus" (1960) at Boston Latin School. https://www.bls.org/m/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=203830&type=d&pREC_ID=404406#q-u
1n 2020 he received the Teacher of the Year Award. Division 49 (Group) of the American Psychological Association. A lifetime achievement award for his work in the field of group psychotherapy.
Santa Clara University Faculty Senate “Professor of the Year” Award (2016-2017) Highest honor for Teaching, Research and Service
Board of Regents Medal and Award for being selected Outstanding Teacher among Senior Faculty at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, 1981.
Highest Honor for Scholarship awarded by Santa Clara University
Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honors Society) Book of the year 2013-14 for Finding Meaning, Facing Fears in the Autumn of Your Years (45-65)
Manfred S. Guttmacher Award. Highest honor for literature granted by the American Psychiatric Association selected 9/17/90 for 1991.
Winner of a 1995 "Book of the Year" Award from the American Journal of Nursing.
Citation of Appreciation and Commendation, Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Force, 1977; Invited Speaker and Special Commendation, General Staff Commanders Conference, 1976; Letters of Commendation for directing Communications Institutes and Squadron Commanders Workshops, U.S. Air Force, 1975
Finding Meaning, Facing Fears: Living Fully Twixt Midlife and Retirement.
will be available at all booksellers on May 1.
Barnes and Noble
“Through exercises and real-life examples, the author takes the reader on a journey of self-exploration that allows for the personal growth needed to face the autumn years with courage and grace, and to have a successful transition that is happy as well as healthier than many of our generations-ago predecessors experienced.”
—Lynne Trevisan, DC, Assistant Professor, College of Health, Human Services, and Sciences, Ashford University
“Shapiro is able to do what no one before him has -- neither glorify or vilify the 'autumn years,' but instead embrace them...A must read for anyone who either belongs to or wants to understand the challenges of this age group.”
—Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, Developmental and Clinical Psychologist, author of Gender Born, Gender Made
“A wonderful book. Shapiro is wise, entertaining and knowledgeable...a pleasure to read.”
—Elaine Hatfield, PhD, Professor, University of Hawaii, American Psychological Society's 2012 William James Fellow Award Recipient
“...a lovely, insightful, and instructive book that thoughtfully guides readers through the rich stage of life that bridges midlife and old age. Anchored in extensive research, abundant with revealing case material, and leavened with the wisdom, humor and compassion that are the result of Dr. Shapiro's four decades as a practicing clinician, the book offers a unique and reassuring roadmap through developmental territory that, up until now, has been largely left unmapped. Keeping his finger on the steadily beating pulse of our shared mortality and humanity, Dr. Shapiro creatively advances our understanding of how the second half of life can be lived with resilience, resourcefulness, and joy.”
—Brad Sachs, PhD, author of Family-Centered Treatment with Struggling Young Adults: A Clinician's Guide to the Transition from Adolescence to Autonomy
"When was the last time you couldn’t put down a non-fiction book? Dr. Shapiro’s Finding Meaning picks up on the most pressing issue of our time: a rapidly changing world and the need to adapt to it. He laces this concept with much-needed factual evidence and personal stories, and serves it to you with humor and intelligence. This is a must-read for everyone beyond the age of 45."
Gili Adler Nevo, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Head of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Clinic, Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto East Health Network
"This second edition of Dr. Jerry Shapiro’s acclaimed work is the latest in the pantheon of volumes from this author, ranging from works focusing on men, existential, group, couple, and brief therapy. Shapiro’s range and depth are only exceeded by his formidable writing skills.
This latest version of Finding Meaning Facing Fears: Living Fully Twixt Midlife and Retirement is not the usual minor update, nip-and-tuck version of the first, but an up-to-the moment guide for GenXers, those embarking on a transition to a period before retirement, which can be the most productive phase of life. It also adeptly addresses common issues faced during the pandemic and racial and political turmoil of 2020, and examines cultural and gender factors that interface with major life transitions. Although there have been numerous books and articles on each phase of the lifecycle, Shapiro brings the practical and existential issues to the fore in an extremely vivid and accessible manner.
Drawing upon his penchant for philosophy, literature, and baseball, Shapiro uses practical examples from his clinical practice and personal life to illustrate both the commonality and uniqueness of questions we face as we move through various life stages.
A question that has universal appeal is explored in the chapter: How old are you—It Depends? Some would answer we are only as old as we feel, but the text discusses the intersection of chronological age, individual identity and perception, health, career, relationships, and other factors that influence our awareness of where we stand in the aging process. Rather than the aphorism that Sixty Is The New Forty, Shapiro asserts that Sixty Is The New Sixty, with the understanding that accepting the chronological reality of our phase of life and integrating the diverse aspects of our unique situation are really who we are. Such level of acceptance allows us to live fully in the present, without holding on to who we used to be or projecting ourselves onto who our parents or grandparents were at 60.
Shapiro’s primary acumen, however, lies in exploring the essential dilemma of finding meaning, which becomes more and more crucial as we age. In early adulthood we become busy with relationships, career, and independence and often feel dissatisfied that our situation does not match who we are and our core values (if we are even aware of them). Middle adulthood requires us to consolidate the disparate aspects of our lives, and if we have not done so by pre-retirement and later life we feel unanchored and without purpose. Shapiro focuses on the realities of creating meaning from philosophical, clinical, and pragmatic lenses, and provides exercises throughout the book to assist readers in this quest.
I have given the first edition of the text to friends and relatives going through transitions at all stages of life, and will do so with even greater enthusiasm with the second version. There are few other works with appeal to clinicians, philosophers and the general public that meets so many needs for understanding and addressing the essential question of meaning that we face at every phase of our lives."
Terry Patterson, Ed.D., ABPP, Board Certified Couple and Family Psychologist, San Francisco
"In this excellent book, Dr. Jerry Shapiro brings a lifetime of scholarship, teaching, and clinical work to helping us find more meaning and fulfilment in the middle years of life. Dr. Shapiro discusses all aspects of the years between mid-life and retirement, the inevitable losses and challenges of this phase of life. He writes about the ways we become stuck and helps us find a way forward. He offers guidance, but he is never simplistic or prescriptive. Instead, as an expert therapist, he encourages self-reflection in the service of finding opportunities and solutions, antidotes to feelings of loneliness and isolation. He wisely teaches that enriching our adult lives does not always require a major change in career, relationships, or lifestyle; often, a small refocusing of attention can make a profound difference. Anyone who reads this book, whatever their concerns or life circumstances, will find some new perspective and new possibilities for enhancing the meaningfulness of their life."
Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology, Weill Cornell Medical College
Author of Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child’s Emotions and Solving Family Problems
"In this new edition of Finding Meaning, Facing Fears, Dr. Jerry Shapiro once again provides readers with essential opportunities for purposeful reflection at the crucial midlife inflection point, helping them to realistically look at who they have been, who they are, and who they can still become. Encouraging us to reweave our experience into a broader, richer, and more textured fabric, we come away with the belief that the second half of our lives can be characterized by the beginning, rather than the conclusion, of an adventure, and thus become better able to create an integrated vitality that heralds and signals what is most important, leading us in the direction of positive growth and change."
Dr. Brad Sachs, Ph.D., Author of The Good Enough Therapist: Futility, Failure, and Forgiveness
"You can find meaning in this book! It could just as well have been called 'A Manual For The Journey Between 45 and Retirement.' Chock full of wisdom, the book is a treasure trove of ideas and the experiences of people that can be used to help the reader along on their personal journey. The book deals with all aspects of the journey: job issues, relationships, children, finance, sex, and others. It even has an extended section on preparing for retirement. Readers are given guidelines on the most important issues to think about. In addition, it goes beyond the practicalities of retirement to address the psychological and emotional aspects. The book is full of stories that help readers to learn about their own fears, and to get insights into their own journey. In this sense, it is a self-help book. To enhance the self-help quality, there are exercises at the end of each chapter that can assist the reader in enhancing their self-knowledge. The book is written in an engaging and folksy style, and the chapters are broken up into easily digestible sections. Finally, it includes a timely section on dealing with the COVID crisis and what it means for people as they age."
Dr. Arthur Bohart, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, California State University Dominguez Hills
"Finding Meaning, Facing Fears is the book I didn’t know that I needed in my life. As an individual approaching this era of my life, as well as an existential psychotherapist myself, I found this book to be exceptionally affirming of my experience as I approach this life stage. Shapiro writes with wisdom, wit, and compassion and has done a phenomenal job of weaving all of those elements into this book. While it is possibly accelerated by the many existential threats of 2020, I found myself reevaluating my life and pivoting into new directions and passions in my early 40’s. Shapiro’s book provides the framework for why this is a natural part of this phase of life and how to navigate it successfully.
As a member of Gen X, it was especially helpful to learn about why I feel so differently than many members of the Boomer generation in terms of retirement and continuing to work. After reading this insightful book, I feel less alone and unsure as I approach this epoch and more confident in myself and my decisions. The way Shapiro weaves research, his clinical experience, and personal stories of those he interviewed (as well as sprinklings of his own life), make for a compelling, engaging, and educated read.
I would make this required reading for all Gen Xers and those approaching 45 and older. I was fortunate enough to have been a student of Shapiro in graduate school and I can attest that his warmth, sense of humor, and caring for others rings as true in his writing as I did as when I was his student."
Heather Valentine, LMFT, Head Counselor, Notre Dame High School, Founder of Families Belong Together San Jose
"Dr. Jerrold Shapiro's Finding Meaning, Facing Fears welcomes readers into the world of existentialism with a sure and gentle hand. In so doing, he accomplishes something remarkable—he takes the angst one might experience watching time march on and transforms it for readers into a parade of possibility and opportunity. This isn’t a textbook, it’s a book about the text of our lives, that we will continue to write—one hopes—into midlife and beyond."
Lee Daniel Kravetz, M.A., LMFT
Author of SuperSurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success and Strange Contagion
“...offers baby boomers and subsequent generations a richly developed map as they go through the precious years between midlife and old age. Readers will benefit from Shapiro's thoughtful writing, research, and humorous perspective on a crucial life phase too easily overlooked in our culture's manic penchant for staying ‘young.’” —Michael J. Diamond, PhD, ABPP , author, My Father Before Me: How Fathers and Sons Influence Each Other Throughout Their Lives, and co-author, The Second Century of Psychoanalysis: Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action Lili 5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Meaning, Facing Fears This book is an inspiring and helpful book! It helped me as a person and as a future therapist. As a person in the age group that Dr. Shapiro writes about, it helped me face my fears, as well as understand the phase of life that I was experiencing. It also energized me to look at my own life and it's meaning. As a future therapist, it helped me understand how to work with future clients in this age group. Dr. Shapiro's ability to understand the essence of human nature and to explain difficult topics comes through in this book. One person found this helpful Helpful Dr. Ed5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book Reviewed in the United States on August 27, Dr. Jerry Shapiro, Ph.D. has written a wonderful book about the Autumn Years, ages 45-65, that is actually very relevant for anyone over 45. Based upon 122 in-depth interviews, over 50 internet interviews, 40 years of his clinical practice as a psychologist and that of his colleagues (he is Professor and former Department Chair of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University),
and a rich understanding of the literature, Facing Meaning Finding Fears is
accessible, practical, eloquent, and wise. It is also very comprehensive--
covering everything from different kinds of age to meaning to loss to
relationships to the nature of time to retirement to recreation to health
to spirituality to honoring our heroic selves. Ultimately, it is not only
accessible, practical, eloquent, and wise, it is also warm, reassuring, and
inspiring. It is outstanding. I give it my highest recommendation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this Book This book was one that was assigned to me in a class that I took regarding existential psychotherapy. I found it so compelling and well written that I gave it to my father as he is approaching retirement. Not only has he gotten a lot out of this book, both practically and in the big picture, but I (a 30 year old) have also. Lorraine 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is an extremely relevant, thoughtful, helpful, This is an extremely relevant, thoughtful, helpful, and engaging book to give to all your baby boomer friends as they turn whatever age they are turning. I have used it both professionally as a psychologist and personally as one of those baby boomers.
Ian C Fischer5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and inspiring "Finding Meaning Facing Fears" is an insightful and thought-provoking look at the myriad of issues facing the so-called “Baby Boomers”. In a relatable and often humorous way, Dr. Shapiro produces a comprehensive account of the challenges and potentialities that accompany the beginning of the latter-half of life. Gently and eloquently, he guides readers through joys and sorrows, opportunities and tribulations, always taking care to suggest, not tell.
Although at its most specific a book about the autumn of life, "Finding Meaning Facing Fears" is relevant and profitable for any person going through transition. More than that, this book is useful for any person who wishes to nourish and invigorate his or her life. Put simply, this book is essential reading for all those hoping to become more fully human. Davey 5.0 out of 5 stars Wise and insightful. Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2014 The perfect word for this book is: Wise! It addresses the challenges, opportunities, and beauties of the autumn years of life in a way that everyone--absolutely everyone--can benefit from. It's not every day that reading a book makes you a better person. This one does.
Carol B. 5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book about being introspective in your older years Reviewed in Canada on Very good book about being introspective in your older years. It isn't judgmental, but discusses various possibilities with personal anecdotes
for fulfilling onesself and staying active and involved with family, friends and interests. I would highly recommend this book!
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After a lengthy career Dr. Shapiro has retired from his psychotherapy and family business consulting practice. He remains a full time professor at Santa Clara University, and active author and speaker,