Deane H. Shapiro, Jr., Ph.D. devoted his professional life (and much of his personal life!) to seeking to understand how individuals can gain, maintain, and regain a positive sense of control in their lives personally, interpersonally, and in their views of the nature of the universe. His research involved developing a theory of human control, a psychological test to measure a person’s control profile (the SCI), and a specific therapeutic approach (Control Therapy) to match the most effective strategies to a person’s particular control profile. Control Therapy rests on the premise that issues of personal control (e.g., desire for control, fear of losing control, power struggles) underlie most concerns brought to therapy; that individual differences in Control Profiles exist in terms of preferred modes for addressing this central issue of gaining and maintaining a sense of control; and that for a specific clinical problem, matching clinical control-enhancing interventions to the individual’s Control Profile maximizes the opportunity for therapeutic success.
Dr. Shapiro’s research on control was multi faceted. It ranged from a study using Positron Emission Tomography to measure changes in the brain related to control to assessing clinical populations with psychological (depression, generalized anxiety, borderline personality disorder, panic attack, eating disorders) and physical diagnoses (breast cancer, cardiovascular risk), as well as adult children of alcoholics in terms of control related issues. This work also involved identifying control profiles of “psychologically healthy” individuals, and evolving a vision of the role of control in human well-being—i.e., exploring models of exceptional psychological and spiritual wellbeing from several different traditions for their implications for control. Dr. Shapiro’s interest in control took him to Zen and Chan monasteries in Japan and Taiwan to explore meditation; the jungles of Bali to study stress management and trance dances; and the mystical hills of Safed, Israel, where the main obstacle to a good night’s sleep is purported to be the fluttering sound of angels’ wings.
Dr. Shapiro is a Professor of Psychology, emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. He spent several years as the Dean of Academic Affairs, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto, California; as a clinical faculty member, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Medical School; and as co-founder and President of the Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior. He also served as the Director of a Family and Child Community Mental Health Center in San Jose, California, and director of Outpatient Psychiatry at the UC Irvine Medical Center. He was a Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology; and was elected a Fellow, The Academy of Clinical Psychology, ABPP.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, and a recipient of a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, Dr. Shapiro is the author/coauthor/coeditor of five books and over a hundred professional and scientific writings on eastern and western self-control strategies and psychological well-being. His articles have appeared in Science, New England Journal of Medicine, Encyclopedia of Psychology, the American Psychologist, Archives of General Psychiatry, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Behavior Therapy, Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, and American Journal of Psychiatry.
A listing of these books and writings as well as other creative writing e.g., the novel J’s R(evolution), a novella, Seer, short stories and poetry; as well as personal memoirs (A Piece of the Cosmic Puzzle; Crossing the Bridge) may be retrieved at no cost on this website. In addition, the SCI (Shapiro Control Inventory), and the Control Therapy Training Manual are available online at no charge to licensed health care professionals (www.controlresearch.net). The SCI is a reliable and valid standardized multidimensional psychological assessment tool that provides a “Control Profile” for the client, showing sense of control in the general domain, in specific life areas, and in regards to motivation for change, desire for change, and preferred style for gaining control: i.e., an assertive/change mode of control; a yielding/accepting mode of control; and agency of control (self and/or other). The SCI has been/is being translated into several languages (e.g., Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Farsi, Spanish). The Control Therapy Training Manual is a four module guide for students, teachers, and clinicians, and includes an adherence checklist to help ensure therapist competency and skill development in Control Therapy.
Dr. Shapiro’s philanthropic activities have ranged from bringing supplies and encouragement to Jewish refuseniks in the former Soviet Union to teaching computer literacy and English to elementary school Mexican-American children. He has established the non-profit Control Research Foundation (controlresearch.net) to fund research for the purpose of promoting education and understanding regarding the positive and healthy uses of human control and self-control for individuals, families, institutions, organizations, and societies.
In the final phase of this life, as his “external garden” has become smaller, Dr. Shapiro has devoted himself to deepening internal contemplation and self-reflection. He ascribes to the view that each of us is/can be a piece of the cosmic puzzle, and that his “piece” contains a bit of cosmic humor. Despite (or because of?) being deaf in his left ear since the age of three, Dr. Shapiro’s piece of the puzzle, his “gift,” included being an empathic listener who could “hear” himself and others at a deep level. Personally, this involved listening to himself, through intentional, conscious self-reflection so that he could as non-defensively as possible honestly know himself, his strengths and “challenging” areas where more “polishing of the dust” was necessary. Interpersonally, it involved helping guide others (as they were willing) to discover/uncover their own vision of their piece of the cosmic puzzle; and further, helping them recognize, in a discerning yet safe way, the “dust” (challenges) they might need to face and “polish” so that their piece could best be fulfilled. Dr. Shapiro is committed to the belief that as we each compassionately, yet with clarity, are willing to address and “clean” the dust that prevents us from fulfilling our pieces of the cosmic puzzle, we allow our best, wisest, most compassionate selves to “shine forth” and flourish for the healing and positive well-being of all.
Dr. Shapiro was once asked by a colleague why, with such a short time of life on earth, did he decide to devote his entire life with such passion to the issue of human control. In this last phase, he has reflected deeply on that question, including writing a personal memoir detailing his views of the nature of the universe and human nature. After many years of study and contemplation, he has concluded that “control” involves conscious reflection and non-defensive self-awareness, nuance, self-regulation, calm under pressure, and care in speech and action. Gaining, maintaining, and as needed regaining a sense of control involves seeking to find and practice the most effective ways to be personally centered (Chinese “xujing”) and exploring and utilizing the best response for any situation by appropriately blending assertive (yang) and accepting (yin) strategies (Chinese “dongjing”). Attention to these various processes, in his view, provides us with the best means to achieve wisdom and compassion personally, and interpersonally, and for planetary well-being.
The father of three and grandfather of six, he currently lives with his wife of 50 years, Johanna Shapiro, in Laguna Beach, where he writes haiku, plays the flute, and “plays” tai chi by the ocean.