Healing Shame
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I want to think you guys again for a wonderful, stimulating, evocative workshop.  I think that the perspective you bring to the central importance of shame in healing the psyche is unique and timely.  The safe environment that you created in the group was special. I Ioved the soft, gentle but persistent way each of you tracked the client – finding ways to connect with and highlight their underlying process.”
— Paul Aikin, PhD, Sacramento

“I am very excited that you and Sheila are doing your work on shame. I appreciate your intense and focused explorations on this important topic. Your work is definitely congruent/resonant with AEDP.”
— Diana Fosha, PhD, Founder of AEDP, author of The Transforming Power of Affect

Bret and Sheila provide a clear and helpful roadmap for understanding and healing shame. With extraordinary clarity and wisdom, they illuminate the ways that shame shows up and skillfully guide us to help our clients (and ourselves) move toward a fuller and richer life.
John Amodeo, Ph.D., author of Love & Betrayal

Each of our workshops has a balance of didactic, experiential and interactive elements. In each, there are live demonstrations to anchor the theory and techniques taught, as well as time for questions and comments. The workshops can be taken in any order, except for the Advanced Experiential, which requires at least two previous workshops.  

We are qualified to provide 13 CEUs for MFTs, LCSWs, LPCs and LEDs for each workshop taken (CAMFT Approved CE Provider #134393*).

Many other states will also give CEUs if contacted by the individual therapist or sponsoring organization. We give workshops in many cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. See schedule for details.

For more information about any workshop, including a detailed flyer, you can contact us. We welcome your questions and concerns.

Healing Shame - Our Core Workshop
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

Shame is perhaps the most painful of all emotions. It is at the root of both “the inner critic” and perfectionism. It binds with and hides behind other emotions, such as anger and fear, so that it is often hard to detect. Many people go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging or even feeling shame – and this gets in the way of making progress in treatment.

In this workshop, designed for therapists and other helping professionals, we will become aware of shame as both a primary emotion and a freeze state, which has a profound effect on personal development and relationship success, and which has been terribly neglected in most psychotherapy. We will learn that shame cannot be worked with in the same way as the other primary emotions and that special care needs to be taken to work with shame in specific ways.

We will learn how to help our clients recognize shame, work through it and move on. We will become more sensitive to the shaming often implicit in the therapy situation and learn how to counter shame in therapy. We will learn how to avoid getting stuck in the shame freeze with clients or following them down the endless shame vortex. We will be able to help clients separate feelings of shame from other emotions. And we’ll learn how to take clients back to early shaming situations and reverse the outcome – helping clients move their energy powerfully outward rather than turning it against themselves.

Sex and Shame
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

Sexuality is a vital, defining part of our identity. We are at our most vulnerable when we experience sexual feelings -- and therefore we're the most prone to feeling shame. We are subject to sexual shaming from early childhood, when we are most vulnerable to moral judgments from family and society -- and to boundary violations from family members and those older than us. Entering our teenage years, we long to be attractive to others and try desperately to "be cool" and fit in. As adults, we seek a partner and try to balance the constraints of monogamy with sexual adventure. In our mature years, our ability to function sexually diminishes and our faces and bodies are no longer as we remember them.

In this workshop, we will offer tools you can use to help clients talk about, explore and heal the sexual shame that can arise at any stage in the life cycle -- and help them towards a life-affirming sexuality. We will:

  • Discover ways to help clients become aware of the many, often conflicting messages they received about body image and sexuality from family and society.
  • Learn ways to help clients repair the disconnect between self and others -- and between parts of the self -- which has been created by shaming, inappropriate behavior or abuse.
  • Understand counter-shaming techniques and develop tools for couples to understand their shame triggers and communicate about taboo sexual topics.
  • Work with the shame that can cause and result from affairs.
  • Identify challenges in being a sexual minority in society and the layers of shame that can occur.
  • Unfreeze shame and open life force in a grounded and embodied way, helping clients to access and safely explore their sexual energy.


Melting The Shame Freeze: Somatic Techniques To Create Safety And Build Attunement
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

Shame is an embodied belief that "something is wrong with me". Because shame exists in the body as well as in the mind, it is helpful for therapists to work with shame somatically. Clients stuck in shame have trouble seeing anyone but themselves. It can be hard for them to receive support from another person as they are caught in the grip of shame.
In this workshop, we will explore how to utilize somatic techniques to connect more quickly with the client and forge a strong therapeutic alliance. We will:

  • Focus on using breathing and grounding to resource the client - becoming more aware of our own breathing and expanding it in the process.
  • Learn how we can resource ourselves so that we don't fall into somatic counter-transference and take on the client's physical shame patterns.
  • Explore how to keep our clients more present in the room with us and counter over-verbalization, dissociation and freezing.
  • Learn techniques and theory from Wilhelm Reich (the father of somatics), Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing), Ron Kurtz (Hakomi) and Eugene Gendlin (Focusing).


Through the Looking Glass: Using Imaginal Resources to Heal Shame
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

We are all born with powerful, imaginal resources. We can easily imagine people, places and things that have never existed in our everyday reality Children learn to cope with life largely through play and fantasy. As we get older, we may use this ability less and less, but it still stays with us. Our imagination not only makes life more interesting, it helps us survive.

When clients get stuck in shame, the most powerful way to help them get unstuck may be to activate their imagination. In the Imaginal Realm, logic and time are fluid and flexible. What actually happened can be explored and changed. What was stuck in the cognitive realm can be reexamined and shifted. Shaming situations from the past can be revisited and resolved.

In this workshop, we will utilize techniques from Drama Therapy, Focusing, Expressive Arts Therapy, Jungian creative imagination and Hakomi. We will explore the critical voices and/or the childhood scenes that are still driving the internal shame dynamic in the client.

We will learn to help clients:

  • Externalize shame so that it can be worked with directly
  • Work with roles, parts and shame-based introjects
  • Access strength, resilience, inner resources and role repertoire
  • Find a deeper understanding by working with objects you already have in your office
  • Utilize imaginal techniques to give the shame back in the Imaginal Realm

Once the shame is worked through in the imaginal realm the client can interact with the world differently.


Healing Shame in Couples
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

The more we care about each other, the more vulnerable we are to shame. Intentionally or unintentionally, we poke each other in the tender spots. Couples can shame each other multiple times a day, often without realizing what is happening. This can become a highly reactive cycle, preventing both people from getting their basic safety and attachment needs met. And shame can distort how we hear each other; the received message may have little to do with the message the partner is attempting to send.

In this workshop we will explore the blame/shame game couples can fall into and how to help them stop shaming each other and work together to create a secure base and heal the wounds of the past.

We will:

  • Look at some of the many subtle ways shame can be triggered.
  • Explore shaming moments with great care so we can teach our clients how to avoid shame-based reactivity.
  • Learn the gentle art of “counter-shaming”, how to actually help a partner with his or her feelings of inadequacy.
  • Help a person give back shame to the original source with their partner’s full support.

If we can free the energy that has been stuck in blame and shame, couples can increase their vitality, joy and intimacy.


Advanced Experiential: Giving Back the Shame
A Workshop for Therapists and other Helping Professionals

This hands-on two-weekend workshop provides a chance to practice specific techniques for working with shame so that you can be even more precise and effective in helping clients gently feel into and integrate their shame.  We will look at the moment-to-moment interaction between therapist and client and how to be both caring and forceful, both gentle and relentless - in helping your client to a more positive and accurate view of self and other. You will gain practical experience in attuning more fully to your clients and developing and keeping a safe container - so that shame can be explored delicately, without overwhelming yourself or the client.

The workshop now includes an extensive exploration on how to give the shame back, the final step in our process, which can only happen after considerable work.  We will teach a variety of ways in which clients can give shame back and release the deadening energy from the past in a way which is ego-syntonic - not scary, but actually comfortable and satisfying for them.

This workshop is open only to people who have taken at least two workshops with us - or by special dispensation - so we can really get down to  business.  If you have taken two or more workshops with us, this is your next step in increasing your competence in working with shame.  It is also a final step on the path to Certification.

Schedule and Registration

To learn dates, times and locations for any of the above workshops, go to Schedule.
To register for a particular upcoming workshop, visit the Registration page.

*MFTs, LCSWs, LPCs and LEDs can receive 13 CEUs for each workshop. Healing Shame Workshops is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for therapists and other helping professionals. Healing Shame Workshops maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. CANCELLATION POLICY: No refunds. The amount paid can be applied toward a future workshop within 12 months. Registrations are not transferable. Healing Shame Workshops welcomes people who have disabilities. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs. Location is wheelchair accessible.


© 2012 Bret Lyon, PhD & Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT. All Rights Reserved. Home | About Us | Workshops | Schedule | Registration | Certification | Consultations
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