Shame, Guilt and Sexuality A one-day workshop with Jan Hepburn and David Richard London, 9 February 2018 (Friday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
Shame, Guilt and Sexuality are inextricably linked but remain frequently neglected areas for therapeutic exploration, despite their centrality in Freud’s original thinking. As therapists, the triad of shame, guilt and sexuality can present multiple challenges: We understand that the presence of persecutory guilt in our clients can be a considerable obstacle to internal change. While through the therapeutic process we can try to replace persecutory guilt by feelings that lead towards reparation; progress can be challenging and can often be thwarted if the client feels too worthless to be reprieved. Our therapeutic challenges are further exacerbated when guilt coexists with shame, although it may not be explicitly manifest. To make any therapeutic progress now, we need to overcome the fact that shame is more than a primitive precursor to guilt; for shame to exist there has to be a person. If the self has been depersonalised, there is essentially no one to feel shame. We can see shame and sexuality are intertwined: in very early developmental experiences, in the complexities and frequent pain of adolescent development, and equally in on-going adult development. However, particularly in adulthood, it may be extremely difficult for the individual to be able or willing to identity or articulate such shame; and hence within the therapeutic encounter it may remain a psychological state - hidden, repressed or indeed denied. At this practical and unique seminar, which would be particularly relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, Jan McGregor Hepburn draws on her longstanding experience in social work management and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, while David Richards taps into his extensive experience of working with issues of identity and sexuality, and particularly with homosexual men and women. Together, they help us comprehend the elusive connections between shame, guilt and sexuality, helping us comprehend: How do we distinguish between feelings of remorse and wishes to make reparation, which are in the service of development, and persecutory guilt, which is experienced as crippling and pervasive but which cannot be mediated by forgiveness or reparation, and is sterile and anti-development How can we comprehend shame as a failure of the ego to reach a narcissistic ideal, an extremely painful psychic state likely to lead to repression and fear of exposure (including in the consulting room) As therapists, encountering shame in a client may lead to a powerful confrontation with our own sexuality and earlier developmental experience, and create a challenging process for both therapeutic process and relational contact – how do we recognize and work with such a confrontation The perceived malign shadow of homophobia and its potential to be internalised by the individual may lead to a particularly vicious experience of shame and a sense of personal worthlessness – how can we work with that in the consulting room? When childhood remnants of shame create therapeutic impasse – how do we persevere with therapeutic engagement? Jan and David will not only present material based on published evidence; but also, use group discussion and clinical case studies as part of the workshop. Participants are welcome to bring vignettes of clinical material that can be shared and discussed within the normal boundaries of confidentiality. About the speakers Jan McGregor Hepburn has been the Registrar of the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) since 2005 and has a background in social work management and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is a trainer for the North of England Association for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is the author of a number of journal articles and regularly speaks at national and international conferences. She is on the Reading Panel of the British Journal of Psychotherapy and is currently conducting doctoral research in Infant Observation at the University of Northumbria. David Richards is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals and couples and as a supervisor. He has worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, initially within the HIV field in the 1990s and then for many years managing a community counselling service for older adults. He is also a senior tutor on the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy at Birkbeck. He has a long-standing interest in questions of sexuality and identity, and is a member of the Advisory Group on Sexual and Gender Diversity within the BPC, where he also currently serves on the Executive with a portfolio of diversity.
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Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.