Not Found
Digital Recordings

Janina Fisher: Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma

Does shame prevent your traumatized clients’ recovery and hamper their ability to find relief and perspective despite effective treatment? 

Do your clients' feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy interfere with taking in positive experiences, leaving them to feel hopeless?

Trauma therapists regularly confront the impact of shame on their clients’ ability to find relief and perspective even with good treatment. Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy interfere with taking in positive experiences, leaving only hopelessness. Increased ability for self-assertion gets undermined by belief systems about worth or deserving.  Progress in the treatment, increasing relief from symptoms, even greater success in life tend to evoke shame and self-judgment rather than pride. Despite the therapist's best efforts, unshakeable feelings of shame and self-hatred often undermine the treatment.

This workshop will introduce participants to understanding shame from a neurobiological perspective—as a survival strategy driving somatic responses of automatic obedience and total submission—enforced by the client’s punitive introspection.  Using lecture, videotape, and experiential exercises drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a body-oriented talking therapy, participants will learn to help clients relate to their symptoms with mindful awareness and curiosity rather than automatic acceptance. When traditional psychodyanamic, cognitive-behavioural, and EMDR techniques are integrated with Sensorimotor interventions emphasizing posture, movement, and gesture, issues of shame can become an avenue to transformation rather than a source of stuckness.


Product Details
Janina Fisher, Ph.D.
5 Hours 09 Minutes
Media Type:
Digital Recordings



This online program is worth 5.25 hours CPD.


The Neurobiology of Shame

  • The role of shame in traumatic experience
  • Shame as an animal defense survival response
  • Effects of shame on autonomic arousal
  • Why shame is so treatment-resistant

Shame and Attachment: Its Evolutionary Purpose

  • Shame and the attachment system
  • Rupture and repair in attachment formation
  • What happens to shame without interpersonal repair

The Meaning of Shame in the Treatment of Trauma

  • Disgust, degradation, and humiliation interpreted as “who I am”
  • Cognitive schemas that exacerbate shame
  • Internal working models predict the future and determine our actions

Treating Shame: Working from the “Bottom Up”

  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Physiological state as the entry point for treatment
  • Regulating shame states with somatic interventions
  • Using mindfulness-based techniques to inhibit self-judgment

Healing Shame: Acceptance and Compassion

  • Re-contextualizing shame as a younger self or part
  • Dual awareness of who we are now and who we were then
  • Getting to know our “selves”
  • Bringing our adult capacity to our childhood vulnerability


  1. Describe the role of shame and self-loathing as symptoms of trauma.
  2. Identify the neurobiological effects of shame.
  3. Describe the role of negative cognitive schemas in perpetuating shame.
  4. Assess the physiological and cognitive contributors to shame.
  5. Apply somatic interventions drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy that decrease shame.
  6. Practice memory processing, cognitive-behavioral and ego state techniques.

Please wait ...

Back to Top