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Seminar on Shame Dynamics

 

Anna Janicki, M.D.

Anna Janicki, M.D.

The Northern Ohio Clinical Social Work Society is presenting a brief seminar dealing with Shame Dynamics. The instructor is Anna Janicki, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice, and a training analyst with the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center.

Date: Sunday, March 06, 2016

Location: Hanna Perkins School 19910 Malvern Rd Shaker Hts, OH 44122

Time: 1:00 – 4:00pm

 

In addition to the article at the end of this announcement, please read one or all of these books:

  1. Thomas, H., (1997) Shame Response to Rejection, Albanel Publishers, Sewickley Pennsylvania
  2. Wurmser, L.,(1981) The Mask of Shame , Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1994
  3. Wurmser, L., (2000) Power of the Inner Judge, Jason Aronson, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Volume 19, Issue 3

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  1. Become familiar with basic neuroscience of the shame affect and definition of shame
  2. Be able to differentiate shame from guilt, and apply it clinically
  3. Discuss dynamics of verbal and non-verbal signs of shame in psychoanalytic practice
  4. Become familiar with dynamics of shame derivatives
  5. Be able to recognize shame as resistance to treatment and effectively deal with it if
  6. possible
  7. Learn about shame dynamics of those with severe personality disorders and
  8. how to differentiate between shame and guilt derivatives in clinical work with these clients
  9. Understand differential diagnosis of shame derivatives in any personality disorder and antisocial personality structure, and its implication in clinical practice

 

RSVP to: Duane Culler at duane.culler@gmail.com or 216-761-4861

CEU’s: 3.0 hrs.

Fees: Free to members and students; $45.00 non-members

Ohio CSWMFT Board #RCS091201 approval for Social Workers and Professional Counselors

See www.nocsws.org for information about all programs

 

SHAME DYNAMICS

The intrasystemic conflicts within the conscience (the system of processing moral and ethical dilemmas) involving shame and guilt are hard to address. The phenomena described as having to do with the ideal human have been either neglected or described in a fragmented, unintegrated fashion. Developmental and neurotic conflicts arising in the process of humans forming their ideal are only described in the literature on shame dynamics (Lansky). The successful processing of shame derivatives, like embarrassment, humiliation or mortification, just to name a few, leads to freeing up the capacity for empathic and forgiving responses and the lifting of depression.

Shame, one of the most crucial non-verbal affects traditionally related to the exposure of personal qualities and limitations, contributes to an early resistance in treatment. The capacity to address shame, especially in the opening phase of therapy can make or break the therapeutic alliance and the possibility for engagement in treatment.

The effective therapist depends on recognizing hidden signs of emotions, and therefore relies on recognizing the signs of shifting non-verbal tension in the body. Shame is often a non-verbal state, accompanied by shifts in the autonomic nervous system function. It may become apparent as sudden redness of the face, excruciating chest pain or a blasting headache. Nathanson and Shore (1994) refer to these changes as being on a pride and shame axis. The concern about exposure encompasses a wide range of moment-to-moment bodily experiences, mostly unconscious, implying signs of embarrassment, disgust, envy, resentment, humiliation or mortification.

In the beginning of a therapeutic relationship, the therapist and the individual in therapy do not know each other. The intensive exposure to each other creates a need and an opportunity to understand what is being hidden behind these autonomic discharges. Often the person in therapy, the child, adolescent or adult, is convinced that in the eyes of the therapist, he or she is seen as different, inferior, out of control, without equal power and a social cast-off. The ability to tolerate and explore different degrees of shame in the presence of another person is experienced as acceptance of the most vulnerable and the very private self. This is what makes dynamic treatments effective. Therapy does not remove suffering – it creates an effective way to deal with it by reliance on the personal courage to observe and self-heal in the presence of another. How can a therapist together with the client/patient address a conflict about being a person who can make things happen?

This conflict that often impairs one’s effectiveness is a conflict between seeing oneself as a person who has dignity or confidence, and seeing oneself as a person who is without dignity or who will be stripped of it and shown to be wrong. This conflict between being right and being wrong has repercussions in every aspect of life. It is experienced as a shameful inability to save face. The failures to save face at school, at work, in relationships lead to being ineffective as a person, disconnected from his or her authentic private self, thus feeling like a fraud or being a fake. Winnicott observed that when one is immersed in a false self, there is a sense of unreality and futility, and that this inability to believe in one’s effectiveness can pervade the entire personality, “People with such feelings are convinced that they can never make things happen.”

The visceral responses, if attended to, contribute to the continual updating of one’s self-image, which is as close to the true self as any human being can tolerate. Shame is experienced as a need to hide when one becomes aware that, in the eyes of another, one might be seen as different, inferior, out of control, without parity and disaffiliated. This affect, when attended to early in a consultation with the therapist, makes the therapeutic alliance not only possible but highly regarded.

What I shall describe is likely to remain unknown to all parties involved in treatment. In fact I will show you that there are compelling reasons why both, the therapist and the individual in therapy alike, will selectively ignore the experience of shame. They both will do their best to hide their personal qualities, peculiarities and limitations, to avoid the feeling of being weak, confused or defeated. Often unrecognized yearning for a relationship, inspiration and acceptance from another person are experienced as bad and corrupt and evoke shame. No one will admit easily that when shame comes to the surface it goes hand in hand with questioning ethical motivations, even feeling evil, or facing one’s evil. The definition of evil includes “exceeding due measure” and “overstepping” a proper limit. We will discuss shifts between shame and self-respect in the renewal of respect for the selfhood, bonds to others, and the right to love and be loved.

 

Sources

Lensky, M., and Morrison, A., (Eds.). (1997) The Widening Scope of Shame. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press. Psychoanalytic Perspective section.

Shore, A. (1994) The Dyadic Origin of Internal Shame Regulation, Ch.18 Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence

Carr, Elizabeth M. (1999). “Wounded But Still Walking. One Man’s Effort to Move Out of Shame,” Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19:289-308

Pulver, Sydney E. (1999). “Shame and Guilt,” Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19:388-406

Gillman, R.D. (1990) “The Oedipal Organization of Shame—The Analysis of a Phobia,” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 45: 357

Kilborne, B. (1995) “Of Creatures Large and Small: Size Anxiety, Psychic Size, Shame and the Analytic Situation,” Psychoanalytic Quarterly, LXIV, p.672

Milrod, E (1990). “The Ego Ideal.” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 45:43-60

Case illustration -Lansky, M (1997) “Sophocles, Philactides and the Issue of Forgiveness,” (unpublished). Written discussion by Anna Janicki

Fred Wright, Ph.D., John O’Leary, Ph.D. and Joseph Balkin, Ph.D. (1989). “Shame, Guilt, Narcissism, and Depression. Correlates and Sex Differences,” Psychoanalytic Psychology, 6:217-230

Retzinger, S. The Widening Scope of Shame. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.

“Review by Pierre Doucet of Helen Block Lewis. (1989). The Role of Shame in Symptom Formation.” Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1987. in the International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 16:126-128.

Léon Wurmser (1996). “Trauma, inner conflict, and the vicious cycles of repetition.” Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 19:17-45

Broucek, F. (1991) Shame and the Self. New York: Gilford Press.

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