Shame Competence for Trauma Informed Practitioners Training

Shame has ruled my whole life.
– Anonymous Trauma Survivor

Trauma leads to shame. Trauma determines the content of shame. Shame pushes the body into a traumatic response. The more I learn about the two, the more I am convinced of their deep connection to one another.”
 – Lucia Osborne-Crowley

Training Overview

Despite the clear links between shame and trauma, understanding shame has not traditionally been an explicit focus of trauma-informed approaches. While trauma-informed approaches ask the important question ‘What happened to you?’ (instead of ‘What is wrong with you?’), the shame competent approach additionally asks, ‘What are you experiencing right now?’ This gives practitioners a practical understanding of how to best manage interactions and services to respond appropriately to individuals’ emotional and cognitive states in order to work towards positive outcomes and less disengagement. Professor Luna Dolezal worked in collaboration with the Trauma Informed Plymouth Network (TIPN) to develop this innovative and evidence-based Shame Competence for Trauma Informed Practitioners Training.

The aim of the shame competence training is to enable individuals and organizations to begin to create and systematise nuanced and collaborative understandings of how shame is produced and experienced as a result of particular interactions, experiences, policies and practice, enhancing organizational and individual emotional intelligence, in order to understand the impacts and effects of shame within professional practice.

Length: 1 day
Delivery: in-person (remote option available)
Max participants: 30

Topics covered:

- Why Do We Need to Understand Shame ?
- What is Shame?
- Shame and Trauma
- Hidden Shame and the Shame Compass
- Responding to Shame
- Shame Cycles (Disengagement and Violence)
- Recognising Shaming
- Shame in Organisations

Background & Rationale

Shame and trauma are inextricably bound together. Recent research in trauma studies has argued that “post-traumatic shame” is a key experience that shapes post-trauma states (Theisen-Womersley, 2021), and others have come to theorise and describe PTSD as a “shame disorder” (Herman, 2011). Shame is a world-organising emotion for many trauma survivors, and shame is also behind much of the maladaptive behaviour associated with trauma, PTSD and other post-trauma states. As a result, it is clear that trauma-informed practitioners will benefit from a deeper awareness and understanding of shame, along with competence about how to recognise and manage shame dynamics.

Feedback from Participants:

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