Pre Conference Workshop
Shame in Complex Trauma and Dissociation: Psychology Meets Neurobiology
Thursday, March 22
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Location: Salon 3
Ken Benau, PhD
Private Practice, Psychotherapy and Consultation, SF Bay Area
Rick Hohfeler, Psy.D.
Individual Private Practice
Alternatives in Psychological Consultation (Clinical Director and Supervisor)
Shame can be understood as an emotional process and as a traumatic state of mind and body. Shame lies at the heart of individual and collective human experience, and as such reveals much about our sense of self, other, and relationship. Not surprisingly, then, those of us who work psychotherapeutically with complex, relational trauma and dissociation regularly encounter shame both directly, for example in our patient's self-loathing, and indirectly, when dissociation, both as process and state of mind and body, provides a partial escape from obliterating shame. Shame as emotion and traumatic state reveal much not only about the nature of self and relationship, but also point toward powerful happenings in the brain and body. These shame-related happenings include dysregulating states of hyperarousal and hypoarousal, and further suggest we would be wise to give special attention to the Periaqueductal Gray (PAG) region of the midbrain.
This workshop brings together two psychotherapists with combined expertise working with shame in complex trauma and DID in both inpatient and outpatient settings (Rick Hohfeler, PhD and Ken Benau, PhD), and two seasoned psychotherapists who will share their expertise in neurobiology and brain/behavior relationships as pertains to shame, complex trauma and dissociation (Frank Corrigan, MD and Ulrich Lanius, PhD). Ken Benau, PhD, a psychotherapist with special interest in working with shame and pride in psychotherapy, will also serve as moderator and facilitator of a conversation both between our four presenters, and between our presenters and workshop participants. We hope to foster an exciting exchange of ideas illuminating different ways of understanding the psychology (including phenomenology) and neurobiology of shame with respect to complex trauma and dissociation. Likewise, we hope our shared conversation will further highlight creative ways to apply these understandings of shame, as observed in the mind, brain and body, to our work as psychotherapists. We intend to pay particular attention to those points of intersection between mind, brain, body and behavior as relates to shame and complex trauma, in order to inspire psychotherapists and researchers alike.
- Describe patterns of arousal common in shame as an emotion and shame as a traumatic shame state, and how these related to Porges' Polyvagal Theory
- Identify at least one region of the brain that may be implicated in shame or traumatic shame states
- Describe at least two ways in which shame and dissociation work together as self protective mechanisms in complexly traumatized people
- Identify one way how the CRM (Comprehensive Resource Model) can be applied when working with shame in complex, relational trauma survivors