Working with Shame & Guilt
Laurence Heller, Ph.D.
November 12, 2016
10:00 AM– 5:00 PM
The roots of lifelong feelings of shame and guilt are often found in the distress states caused by early developmental and shock trauma. Shame and guilt develop as a response to distress and neurophysiological disorganization and in turn potentiate subsequent cycles of distress and further disorganization.
Shame and guilt become the basis for crippling identifications and self-judgments that can last a lifetime. The negative beliefs about themselves such as “I am bad, ” and the many variations of that belief, are built upon the early experience: “I feel bad.” Understanding that shame and guilt have more to do with environmental failure than with personal failure helps people see themselves in a new, more compassionate light.
Children are unable to know themselves as “a good person in a bad situation.” They experience attachment and relational trauma, and parental misattunement, as their personal failure, feeling that there is something wrong with them rather than something is wrong with the environment in which they live. When children experience ongoing parental misattunement, they tend to experience themselves as unlovable rather than seeing their parent’s capacity to “love” as inadequate. They need to protect their attachment relations with their parents.
This course will teach participants how to work with shame and guilt from the NARM™ perspective. NARM is an integrated top-down and bottom-up approach. In developmental trauma, individuals incorporate the environmental failure they have experienced in a bottom-up process of disturbed regulation and a top-down process of distorted identifications. Knowing how to work with the complex interplay between nervous system and identifications greatly expands our therapeutic effectiveness.
NARM brings the current understanding of self-regulation into clinical practice. This resource-oriented, non-regressive, psychodynamically informed non-pathologizing model emphasizes helping clients establish connection to the parts of self that are organized, coherent and functional. It helps bring into awareness and organization the parts of self that are disorganized and dysfunctional without making the regressed, dysfunctional elements the primary theme of the therapy.
This course will use lecture, demonstrations and experiential exercises to help participants work with these themes in themselves and with clients.