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The Clinical Management of Shame (Part 1 & 2)

2h 25m

Christiane Sanderson

Senior lecturer in Psychology and Counselling

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Content and aim: Shame is like a virus infecting the soul yet remains largely hidden. As a social emotion, shame regulates social behavior and is often shrouded in secrecy and silence. This training explores when healthy shame can become a chronic or toxic shame and its crippling effect on individuals, in particular those that 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.

This instructional course  examines the complex nature of shame, its origins, and its function. It distinguishes between healthy shame and chronic shame, shame and guilt, and its relationship to hubristic and authentic pride. It will explore the impact of chronic shame and long-term effects, and identify the various defenses against shame, such as withdrawal, attacking self, avoidance, and attacking others, and their link to self-harm, addictions, repugnant obsessions, perfectionism, narcissism, grandiosity, rage and violence. The focus will be on being able to identify not just clients’ shame but also practitioner shame and how this impacts on the therapeutic relationship and the therapeutic process. Awareness of practitioner shame and their defenses against shame is critical in being able to work through shame and minimize the risk of re-shaming clients.  

Alongside enhancing awareness of shame in both client and practitioner in the clinical setting, the focus will be on how to release shame and build shame resilience through a range of therapeutic techniques and strategies as well as experiential exercises. Emphasis will be placed 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 to promote healing, restore authentic pride, and build shame resilience.    

Learning Objectives: This instructional course is designed to help clinicians

  • Understand the different types of shame and their effects
  • Identify shame in their clients but also in themselves
  • Identify defenses against shame
  • Understand techniques, strategies, and exercises to release shame and build resilience 

Produced in 2023


Christiane Sanderson

Senior lecturer in Psychology and Counselling

Christiane Sanderson is a retired senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton.  With over 35  years of experience working in the field of childhood sexual abuse, interpersonal trauma, and domestic abuse.

She is the author of  Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Introduction of Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma,  Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse,  Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 3rd Edition,  The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse; The Hidden Taboo of Sibling Sexual Abuse: Working with Adult Survivors and The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence, The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths, Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends and  Numbing the Pain: A pocket guide for professionals supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and addiction.


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