Shame: The Elephant in the Therapy Room
A one-day seminar with Christiane Sanderson
London, 3 December 2016 (Saturday)
Regent’s Conference Rooms, Regent's University, Inner Circle, London NW1 4NS
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. At this practical and unique seminar 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 seminar allows us to promote healing, restore authentic pride and build shame resilience, while minimising the risk of re-shaming our clients.
About the speaker
Christiane Sanderson BSc, MSc. is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton, of London with 26 years of experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence. She has delivered consultancy, continuous professional development and professional training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the NSPCC, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, SOLACE, the Refugee Council, Birmingham City Council Youth Offending Team, and HMP Bronzefield. 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, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd edition, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, and Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths and Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends for the charity One in Four for whom she is a trustee.
10:00AM: 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.
11:15AM: Coffee Break
11:30AM: Session 2: The Origins and Function of Shame
In this session, we will distinguish between healthy shame and chronic shame, between shame and guilt and its relationship to hubristic and authentic pride. Emphasis will be placed on shame as a social emotion that regulates social behaviour but can become toxic - through the intergenerational transmission of shame in shame prone families and through childhood physical and sexual abuse.
1:00PM: Lunch Break (a light lunch is provided as part of the seminar)
2:00PM: Session 3: The Presence of Shame in the Therapy Room
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. We will also identify the primary defences against shame. The focus will be on being able to identify not just our clients’ shame but also our own - and how this impacts on the therapeutic relationship. Awareness of practitioner shame and our own defences against shame is critical so we can avoid the risk of re-shaming clients.
3:00PM: Session 4: Building Shame Resilience
In the last session, the seminar will present a range of experiential exercises that can be used to help clients release their shame and build shame resilience. We will look at techniques including - unpeeling the masks of shame, use of nesting dolls, and re-apportioning shame, with a view to restoration of authentic pride and the building of shame resilience.
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