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Deconstructing Shame: A Gestalt Approach to Shame

  • Gestalt Institute of Cleveland 1588 Hazel Drive Cleveland, OH, 44106 United States (map)

Shame is a powerful experience which lives inside the mind and body of every individual and is especially present those who have experienced trauma.  Shame is often at the seat of anger, perfectionism, avoidance of intimacy and somatic suffering.  

As we live and work in a world where trauma is becoming increasingly more prevalent and acknowledged, the need to explore the role of shame and trauma becomes more salient. Our culture is driven by fear and lack of connection, resulting in shame becoming further embedded in the individual and collective narrative of human beings.  

As practitioners, when our own shame stories are often left unexplored and outside of our own awareness, we become less available in our ability to be in relational contact with our clients.  A lack of availability for contact in the therapeutic relationship is problematic in that shame creates an intrinsic sense of being different from our clients and is best addressed with the context of relationship.  Additionally, this phenomenon results in a greater chance for countertransference to develop, as well as the risk of reactivating our client’s trauma responses within the therapeutic relationship. 

Through the combination of didactic and experiential activities, we will explore our unexamined shame narratives and the potential for healing shame within a relational dynamic.  Participants can expect to develop a deeper understanding of embodiment of shame, skills for resourcing and grounding, and empowerment of healing by authoring narratives, which are grounded in connection. 

This workshop is open to all levels of mental health professionals. Others are welcome.

Continuing Education (CE): 7 contact hours

Tuition: $140.00
Early Bird: $126.00 (before 10/19/2016) - use promo code: deconstruction2016

Allison E. Bruce, MEd, PCC

Learning Objectives
Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of unexamined shame stories as a potential roadblock in the clinical relationship; 
  • Develop shame specific self-supports as a clinician to avoid countertransference related to shame;
  • Apply Gestalt principles and methodology to support clients in developing shame resilience and self-support;
  • Explore the embodiment of shame and the research related to new developments in neuroscience/somatic healing; and
  • Practice grounding skills (i.e. use of breath/presence) to support one’s self and clients in processing shame.