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Workshop Detail

New York, NY

The Relational Nature of Shame: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Perspective with Pat Ogden, Ph.D

MARCH 19, 2020 - MARCH 20, 2020

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. Because shame inherently pertains to 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 obfuscates 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 emphasis 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. We will explore interventions that directly address the manifestations of shame in movement, posture, and gesture of the body, as well as in a dysregulated nervous system. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approaches will be illustrated through video tape 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. Discuss the impact of shame on posture and movement, and nervous system.

  4. Describe the use of posture in addressing shame.

  5. Discuss why instinctive immobilizing defenses in the face of trauma can lead to shame.

  6. Discuss 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. Discuss why working with the body can ameliorate early, preverbal shame.

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

Register Now (external website)


Times: 9:00am- 5:00pm both days
Location: Faculty House, 64 Morningside Dr, New York, NY 10027.
Tuition: 550 USD.
Contact: SPI Admissions, 3034473290, admissions@sensorimotor.org.