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The Web of Shame in the Therapeutic Space: Video Course


Speaker: Christiane Sanderson

Product: Video Course
Price: £249

CPD Hours: 10

CE Credits: 10

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

For more information on ticket types and order processing times please click here

There is no known commercial support for this programme.

As practitioners, we often witness that shame can become chronic or even toxic, having a crippling effect on our clients, especially those who carry the burden of intergenerational shame and are raised in shame prone families, or who have histories of abandonment, prolonged or systematic emotional, physical or sexual abuse, neglect or exposure to domestic violence. Our therapeutic interactions can be even more complicated if there exists practitioner shame that we are either not aware of or haven’t fully addressed.

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Full Course Information

At this practical and unique workshop which would be relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, across modalities, Christiane draws on her extensive experience in working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse to examine the complex nature of shame, its origins, its functions and its long-term effects, to explain how we can:

  • distinguish between healthy and chronic shame, shame and guilt – while looking at their relationships to hubristic and authentic pride
  • assist our clients through the process of defences against shame – these defences could be manifest as withdrawal, attacking self, avoidance and attacking others and bear linkages to self-harm, addictions, repugnant obsessions, perfectionism, narcissism, grandiosity, rage and violence
  • identify our own patterns of shame and the impact these might be having on our therapeutic relationships
  • build shame resilience for clients and ourselves through specific therapeutic techniques

Through experiential exercises, case vignettes and emphasis on creative, right brain-based exercises such as the embodiment of shame, unpeeling the masks of shame, use of nesting dolls, re-apportioning shame and compassion focused exercises; the workshop allows us to promote healing, restore authentic pride and build shame resilience, while minimising the risk of re-shaming our clients.

Seminar Schedule

Session 1: The Web of Shame

The first session introduces us to the complex dynamics of shame through an experiential exercise in which we witness webs of shame. This experiential exercise will enable practitioners to enhance their understanding of their own experience of shame. In creating a web of shame, they will be able to explore what shame means to them, the silence and secrecy that shrouds shame; how to break the silence and share shame with others. In embracing our own shame, we will feel more equipped to tolerate and work with shame in our therapeutic settings.

Session 2: The origins and Function of Shame

In this session, we will distinguish between healthy shame and chronic shame, shame and blame, shame and guilt and its relationship to hubristic and authentic pride. It will also examine the shift from external shame to internalised shame and the impact of vicarious shame. Emphasis will be placed on shame as social emotion that regulates social behaviour but can become toxic – through the intergenerational transmission of shame, the nature and impact of shame prone families, and shame that is induced through childhood physical and sexual abuse, and relational trauma.

Session 3: The Presence of Shame in the Therapy Room

Awareness of practitioner shame and our own defences against shame is critical so we can avoid the risk of re-shaming clients. Building on our understanding of the nature and function of shame, this session will look at the long-term effects of shame and how these manifest in clinical practice, including the role of dissociation and the perpetuation of shame through self-shaming strategies such as negative self-beliefs and negative self-talk and rumination. We will examine how shame is evoked in the therapeutic space – how clients might shame us, and how we in turn might shame clients. This will enable us to identify the primary defences against shame in both clients and ourselves and how this impacts on the therapeutic relationship.

Session 4: How we can Work with Shame

This session will explore a number of therapeutic strategies to dissolve shame. It will focus on how we can introduce talking about shame in a safe, non-threatening way, and how we can navigate the exploration of shame in a non-shaming way through the use of language and non-verbal communication. Emphasis will be placed on working relationally with clients through mutuality and connection; so as to restore relational worth.

Session 5: Exercises to Aid Working with Shame

The focus of this session will be on introducing a number of experiential exercises and skills that we can use with clients to facilitate the release of shame. It will present exercises that identify the domains and location of shame such as the body, mind, sexuality, gender, relationships, cultural shame and ageing, and the many layers of shame. Attention will also be placed on the felt sense of shame and how this is embodied. To unpeel the masks of shame, the use of nesting dolls will be explored, and we will consider the re-apportioning of shame. Participants will have an opportunity to practice these skills as well as look at how they can integrate these exercises into their practice.

Session 6: Building Shame Resilience

In the last session, the seminar will examine how we can build shame resilience and help restore authentic pride. It will look at the role of kindness, self-acceptance and self-compassion that helps to dissolve shame and minimise the recurrence of chronic shame. Exercises to enhance self-compassion will be explored alongside strategies to continue to build authentic pride. We will consider how these restore vitality and spontaneity to clients and release them from inhibiting effects of shame.



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