I'm Michael Shaw, a licensed clinical psychologist based in the Oakland/Berkeley area. His practice provides an effective approach to psychotherapy, as well as professional and personal development.
I bring a range of skills and background to my work, including over two decades of clinical work and experience with the worlds of design, information technology, marketing communications, staffing, media and academia. I also write and lecture widely on media literacy and visual culture.
This site explains my background and my approach to therapy. It also describes how I can enhance your professional identity and make you more effective and satisfied in your professional life, or do the same for your employees.
I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1993 from the California School of Professional Psychology with an emphasis in Health Psychology. I have a clinical psychology private practice and I provide coaching and personal development services to executives, organizational leaders and creative professionals.
In parallel with my private practice, I have been providing clinical and personal development services to businesses and academic institutions for the past twenty years.
For eight years, I managed the Coaching and Professional Effectiveness Program at Volt Information Sciences, a Fortune 500 staffing company. I was an organizational and clinical consultant at The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) for six years. And I spent five years in the same role at Otis College of Art and Design. In all three settings, I originated the role and also designed custom programming tailored to the needs of the organizational culture. More recently, I was a consulting psychologist with Matter.vc, the San Francisco media accelerator, and I am currently affiliated with “The House Fund," the UC Berkeley’s incubator/venture fund investing in top alumni, faculty, and student startups.
I have also worked with dozens of business and creative professionals on an individual basis on all facets of work, productivity and work/life balance.
Prior to my career as a coach and a clinical psychologist, I worked in private industry. That experience included an executive-level marketing position at a publishing automation company, the development of specifications and documentation for large-scale computer systems, the management of multimedia production and also involvement with purchasing. I have also been involved in East-West comparative research, stress management and mindfulness practice. I’ve also taught and supervised clinicians.
The theory I apply is derived from my training in health psychology, including stress management and mindfulness, as well as Characterological Psychology, which is based on the understanding of character or personality style. Character consists of attitudes, ways of thinking or modes of action that are often highly consistent but not necessarily the most effective. Although the theory sees everyone as essentially healthy, a person can lose touch with his or her own true instincts. Insight and opportunity for growth occurs when that person has the conscious, "in the moment" experience of genuine thoughts and feelings (or else the experience of being who they're not). For a clear and simple explanation, you can read my description of the theory here.
Bottom line, though, the approach has been highly effective in the short run with therapy clients in reducing symptoms. For coaching clients, it establishes a clear window on the business identity and modes of operating. In both setting and with both types of clients, the approach also leads consistently to meaningful and long-term behavior change.