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Workshop Detail

Boulder, CO

Brain to Brain, Body to Body: The Relational Nature of Shame

AUGUST 2, 2019 - AUGUST 3, 2019

Exploring and resolving shame, especially pre-verbal, chronic shame, has always been challenging for even the most effective therapists and clients. Shame is a painful interpersonal emotion that first develops in relationship with attachment figures. We see ourselves through their eyes, and if we perceive that they are disapproving, humiliating, ridiculing or hold us in contempt, our sense of self, bodies, emotions, thoughts and self-esteem are deeply affected. "Shame" is thought to be a derivation of an earlier word referring to "cover" as in concealing oneself. Indeed, we typically wish to hide the parts of ourselves we feel are shameful--the perceived badness or the parts that do not feel "good enough" in our own or in another's estimation. Because shame inherently has to do with parts of the self that clients wish to disguise or conceal, they often do not readily talk about their shame for fear (implicit or explicit) of further humiliation or rejection. Therapists, sometimes because of their own shame, also might avoid bringing shame to the fore in the therapy hour. The avoidance on the part of both parties obfuscate shame itself and renders its treatment inconceivable.

This workshop, explores the early roots of shame, its impact on the body and nervous system and on patterns of emotions, thoughts and beliefs. We will address the various manifestations of shame, and how shame is so often disguised and veiled, sometimes even to our clients themselves. Since the first shameful encounters occur between the infant or young child and attachment figure primarily through non-verbal communication, such as prosody, eye contact, and touch, we will explore the role of these in the therapy hour in terms of healing shame. Foundational principles that create a therapeutic container, or atmosphere, that maximize the possibility of working through shame will be illustrated and operationalized in clinical practice. With an emphasize on the relational nature of shame, special attention will be given to the importance of the therapeutic relationship, including both implicit and explicit communication between therapist and client, to resolve shame. The use of touch will be clarified including cautions, transference and countertransference, and potential benefits. A prominent feature of this workshop is to explore Sensorimotor Psychotherapy interventions that directly address the manifestations of shame in movement, posture, and gesture of the body, as well as in a dysregulated nervous system. We will look at avoidance, compensations and defenses against shame, including the flat affect and inability to connect that often accompanies chronic shame. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approaches will be illustrated through video tapes excerpts of consultation sessions with clients.


  1. Explain the relational nature of shame.

  2. List three reasons why resolving shame is challenging in clinical practice

  3. Describe the impact of shame on posture, movement, and nervous system.

  4. Describe the use of posture in addressing shame.

  5. Identify at least 3 problems, risks and potential benefits of using touch to address preverbal shame.

  6. Identify at least 2 reasons why clients often do not bring up shame directly in the therapy hour.

  7. Describe three principles of the therapeutic container conducive to working through shame.

  8. List three common defenses against shame.

  9. Explain why working with the body can ameliorate early, preverbal shame.

  10. Explain the importance of the therapist's implicit communication when addressing shame.

Continuing Education

This program is co-sponsored by Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and The Institute for Continuing Education. The program offers a total of 10.00 contact hours ( 6.00 hours - August 2, 2019 / 4.00 hrs. - August 3, 2019 ), with full attendance required. There is no additional fee to receive continuing education credit.

Attendees who wish to receive continuing education MUST complete and submit the CE materials that will be available on site; sign in/out at designated locations; and complete an evaluation of the program. CE verification is mailed to applicants following the event. If you have questions regarding continuing education, the program, faculty, grievance issues, or learning objectives, please contact The Institute at: 800-557-1950; e-mail:

Psychology: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Counseling: For counselors seeking continuing education credit, The Institute for Continuing Education will submit a co-sponsorship application to NBCC for this program.

Social Work: For social workers seeking continuing education credit, The Institute for Continuing Education will submit an application to NASW for this program.

Marriage / Family Therapy: The Institute for Continuing Education, Provider 56590, is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This Course meets the qualifications for 10.00 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCC, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Skill Level: This program is appropriate for mental health professionals of all skill levels ( beginning, intermediate, advanced). Participants are urged to review the workshop description for appropriateness for professional and personal development.

Instruction Methodology: May include lecture, audio-visual, demonstration, case vignettes, experiential practice of techniques, large and small group discussion

ADA: For accommodations on the basis of disability please contact: SPI Admissions, 303-447-3290

Register Now

Times: Friday, August 2, 2019
9:00am-4:30pm (two 15-minute breaks; 1.00 hrs. lunch )
Contact Hours: 6.00 contact hrs.

Saturday, August 3, 2019
9:00am-1:15pm (one 15-minute break)
Contact Hours: 4.00
Location: 1140 Lehigh St., Boulder, CO 80305.
Instructor: Pat Ogden, PhD
Tuition: 350 USD.
Contact: SPI Admissions, 3034473290,