Shame is both a primary emotion and a freeze state, which has a profound effect on personal development and relationship success. In spite of it’s universality and it’s power, shame is rarely acknowledged in our culture and has been terribly neglected in most psychotherapy and other helping professions. While Shame is often confused with Guilt, shame is primary and exists in the body while guilt is secondary and cognitive, relating to both shame and remorse.
Shame is perhaps the most painful of all emotions. It is at the root of both “the inner critic” and perfectionism. It binds with and hides behind other emotions, such as anger and fear, so that it is often hard to detect. Many people go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging or even feeling shame – and this gets in the way of making progress in treatment.
Shame often fuels and promotes the negative cycle between members of a couple. Where there is blame, there is shame.
Shame can be viewed as developmental trauma. It causes much of the same physical and emotional freezing as trauma does. Not only do we lose tonus and energy, but it becomes hard to think clearly in a shame state. And shame often accompanies trauma, forming a downward spiral that is hard to break.
The difficulty we feel in dealing with shame carries over into the therapy situation. For many clients who don’t get better in therapy, shame – unacknowledged and not worked through – is the primary factor. Both therapists and clients need to be educated about shame – how it develops, what it is and how it works. And therapists need help in developing a working model of how to help their clients identify, work through and heal their shame.
Our Training Workshops are designed to help therapists show clients how to recognize shame, work through it and move on. We will become more sensitive to the shaming often implicit in the therapy situation and learn how to counter shame in therapy. We will be able to help clients separate feelings of shame from other emotions. And we’ll learn how to take clients back to early shaming situations and reverse the outcome – helping clients move their energy powerfully outward rather than turn it against themselves.
We are qualified to provide CEUs for MFTs and LCSWs registered in California. Many other states will also give CEUs if contacted by the individual therapist or sponsoring organization.
We also offer Private Consultations through Skype or in person. We provide Professional Consultations, helping you work with shame issues with specific clients. We also provide Personal Consultations – while not therapy, these can help in exploring personal shame issues that get in the way of being fully present with your clients.
Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP has been a teacher of Somatic and Emotional Mindfulness for over 30 years and holds Doctorates in both Psychology and Drama. He is certified in Focusing and Somatic Experiencing® and has trained in EFT with Sue Johnson, in AEDP with Diana Fosha and in Coherence Therapy with Bruce Ecker. Bret has also trained in Reichian Breathwork with Al Bauman, who worked directly with Wilhelm Reich. He finds his theater background very helpful with clients and especially in giving presentations.
Phone: 510 – 420- 1441
Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT is a Marriage and Family Therapist, a Registered Drama Therapist and a Somatic Therapist. She has integrated somatic, and expressive modalities with EFT to work with couples, adults and children who have shame and trauma. She has trained in EFT with Sue Johnson, in AEDP with Diana Fosha, and in Hakomi with Ron Kurtz. She is adjunct faculty at the CIIS – Psychology and Drama Therapy Program and JFK – Somatic Psychology Program. She is a CAMFT Certified Supervisor and has been a healing professional for 25 years. She has developed techniques to work with the all-pervasive shame that underlies eating disorders and addictions.