Sarah L. Weber, PHD, Co-Founder
Sue A. Shapiro, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice since 1978. She is a clinical consultant and faculty member at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and one of the co-founders of the Contemplative Studies Project. She is also the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Trauma Center at the Manhattan Institute for Psychotherapy. She has supervised doctoral students in clinical psychology at New York University, City University, and Psychology Interns at Bellevue Hospital.
Sue Shapiro has a wide variety of interests and is the author of articles on sexual abuse, gender issues in transference and countertransference, the socio/cultural context of psychoanalytic theory and theorists, embodiment, and issues surrounding mortality, especially as they pertain to the relationship between analyst and patient. Throughout her career she has pursued a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding and treatment of psychological problems, especially as this relates to those with more severe disturbances.
She is an associate editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality and Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
"When I was 8 years old, my stepfather stepped into my modern orthodox home and my Hebrew day school education. This was a joyous circumstance. He came with heretical books by Freud, Jung, Bertrand Russell, Indra Devi, Erich Fromm and D.T. Suzuki. My cousin remembers I would invite her over to do yoga as I tried to follow along in Indra Devi’s book. My interest in Buddhism, yoga and psychoanalysis was born.
By the time I left for Brandeis College, my growing up in Manhattan had left me uncomfortable in wild nature, and that early parental divorce had left me anxious with multiple contradictory identifications expressed in awkward body tension and conflicting movement patterns. Not surprisingly, I pursued various forms of body-based therapies: polarity, Rolfing, cranio-sacral work, kinetic and sensory awareness. My stays at Esalen in the 60’s were my first immersion in alternative healing modalities as well as the yoga of a serious teacher. Once tension released, I had the experience of incredible electric energy in my body as though I could light up an entire city. But in the end I wanted intellectual as well as somatic knowledge, and pursued graduate school in clinical psychology.
Unbridling from orthodoxy has made me somewhat allergic to spiritual teachers and institutions, so my studies in the contemplative have been an eclectic and private affair. My exposure to meditation came through body work’s centering on the breath, through lessons given me in the course of polarity training, and in visits with a colleague trained in vipassana.
One exceptional teacher has been my Aunt Shirley, a very orthodox woman, who is the embodiment of compassion and concern for the well being of others. Hers is an authentic Judaism concerned more with Tikun Olam than obeying rules. One of her sons, a rabbi, taught me the resonant power of prayer when he visited my mother on her deathbed. Sitting with death and dying remains a mainstay of my spiritual identity.
A second exceptional teacher has been the Dalai Lama. My first experience of his teaching was in a very large hall. I drifted in and out of his talk, then suddenly, remarkably, felt his presence by my side. I remain most drawn to Tibetan Buddhist teachings on preparing for death and on channeling the Medicine Buddha.
Lastly I’ve come to realize that my years studying classical music and my early immersion in this music offer me a glimpse of the divine. Carnegie Hall is my house of worship. Mozart’s operas and Beethoven’s late works light my path to awakening."