Workshops for Therapists, Nurses, Teachers, Coaches, Ministers and Other Helping Professionals – Online and In Person

These training workshops are designed to help therapists, nurses, teachers, coaches and other helping professionals show clients how to recognize shame, work through it and move on. We will teach you how to become more sensitive to the shaming often implicit in the therapy situation and learn how to counter shame in therapy. You will learn how to help clients separate feelings of shame from other emotions. And you’ll learn how to take clients back to early shaming situations and reverse the outcome, helping clients move their energy powerfully outward rather than turn it against themselves. 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 Workshops, which require at least two previous workshops.

“Clinically, shame is at the root of depression, trauma, addiction, eating disorders and substance abuse. What keeps these psychological issues in place is toxic shame. In place are the are automatic thoughts, and secret or not so secret inner conversations that the person has with him or herself and their inner child age 2 or 5 or ten or the inner teen. And the shame loop that keeps things in place.”
–Sheila Rubin

“ I loved the online course. Zoom made it as close to reality as technologically possible. The class size was perfect, enough people for stimulating questions and conversation and small enough to feel intimate. The charts you provided will be so useful. Sheila and Bret, you and your assistants are providing a greatly needed service. Thank you so much! I’ve learned a lot from you and look forward to attending another workshop. Until then, I’m already benefiting watching the recordings, gleaning even more the second time around.”
Charlette Mikulka, LCSW, author of “Peace in the Heart and Home”

“I’ve been thinking lots about today’s workshop and how incredible it is that the 2 of you manage to seamlessly create a sense of connection and community among a group of people from all over the world. I was also struck by how compelling the content was and  how as I mentioned earlier I learn more every time I participate in one of your sessions. I feel that this session in particular deepened my understanding of how to pendulate the work w/ shame and broadened my repertoire of possible ways to invoke protectors. Bret, the demo was beautiful and so moving. What a visceral impact it had!”
–Fran S., PhD, LCSW, New York

The Center for Healing Shame is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs in California - CAMFT Approved CE provider #134393. PhDs in California and PhDs and licensed therapists outside of California may be able to receive CE credits through the co-sponsorship of R. Cassidy Seminars.

Healing Shame Core Workshop


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, you 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. You 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.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Melting the Shame Freeze - Somatic Workshop


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. 
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Through the Looking Glass: Using Imaginal Resources to Heal Shame


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.

We have developed our Imaginal Workshop to provide new and powerful tools that have been incredibly under-utilized in most therapy trainings. Working with shame cognitively can only get us so far. When clients get stuck in shame, the most powerful way to help them get unstuck is to activate their imagination. What was stuck in the cognitive realm can be reexamined and shifted. Shaming situations from the past can be revisited and resolved. Utilizing the Imaginal Realm can greatly expand your toolkit and give you powerful and exciting new ways to heal shame.

In this workshop, we will utilize techniques from Drama Therapy, Focusing, Expressive Arts Therapy, Jungian active imagination processing and Hakomi. We will explore the critical voices and/or the childhood scenes that are still driving the internal shame dynamic in the client.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Healing Shame in Inner Children — and Actual Children

Using Imaginal techniques, we join and explore the world of the child. We learn how to work effectively and add a healthy coach or caring inner parent to repair the shame-ruptured parts from neglect or simply misattunements. We say hello to the part that wants to eat healthy and the part that wants ice cream. And say hello to the bully and the scary places.  We learn to listen deeply—and provide the champion or protector that the child didn’t have. We get to explore and re-enact scenes from childhood when a person was shamed and repair or replace what they wish they could have said.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Healing Shame in the Inner Teenager — and Actual Teenager

Our inner teenager lives on! Though we may develop adult bodies and think our teen years are long behind us, somewhere inside that frustrated/scared/ornery/embarrassed/desperate-to-fit-in teen is still alive, deeply influencing our thoughts, words and actions. One of the most important relationships we have is the relationship we develop with our inner teen.

In this workshop, we will teach you how to help your clients reestablish a healthy relationship with their inner teen—how to both listen and talk to that sensitive, creative and essential part of us. We will teach about developing identity, boundary setting, relationship dynamics, body image, nourishment, healthy eating and healthy self-care, and understanding the shame and fear that get in the way.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Sex and Shame

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.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Healing Shame in Couples


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.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Shame and the Body: Body Image, Eating Disorders and Embodiment — Learning to Love our Bodies at any Age


Our relationship with our body is our first and most important relationship. Even Freud reported that “All ego is body ego.” Yet many people feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Many feel flawed due to society’s demand that they meet impossible standards of looks and size at every stage of life.

This workshop focuses on aspects of body image and embodiment, including working directly with eating disorders. It will include theory and also be a process group with an experiential component. We will explore embodiment through somatic embodied processes, expressive arts and drama therapy. We will learn to help the client listen to the secret conversations inside, because those conversations have to do with perfectionism and shame.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Shame and Aging


We all go through it. No one is immune. And nothing produces more universal shame in our society than aging. Whereas many societies have deep respect for people as they age and see a vital role for elders, our society still worships youth—still idealizes the Pepsi generation.

In this workshop, we will explore and learn to be more comfortable with our own aging process. And we will explore ways to help clients talk about, explore and heal their own shame around aging.
No prerequisite. Can be taken by itself or as part of a sequence.

Advanced 1: Giving Back the Shame

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 that is ego-syntonic—not scary, but actually comfortable and satisfying for them.
Prerequisite: You must have already taken two Healing Shame workshops.

Advanced 2: ShameShifting - Transforming Toxic Shame into Healthy Shame

In this advanced workshop, you will learn to help yourselves and your clients shift the shame,
transforming it from toxic freeze to helpful change agent. How do we learn from and modify
our words and behaviors without going into the toxic freeze state of shame? Even when we
have been shamed or abused, how do we take responsibility for the part of what happened
that is ours, even if it is quite small, and learn from it? We will cover the shame produced in
many situations in which we feel we have let someone down or broken some important
rules, including affairs. 
Prerequisite: You must have already taken two Healing Shame workshops.