Developing a Shame Competent City

Delivering a Shame Competent Plymouth in Partnership with the Trauma-Informed Plymouth Network (2024-2025; funded by Exeter ESRC IAA Fund)

Despite its wide-ranging effects and impacts, shame is often unacknowledged and remains unspoken in healthcare and social care contexts, and even within trauma-informed approaches.

The aim of our recent research has been to demonstrate how shame impacts on the delivery of care (in various contexts) and to develop principles for shame competence which can be implemented by practitioners, organizations and institutions in order to create more humane and shame-sensitive interactions, practices, policies and institutions.

The “Shame Competence for Trauma-Informed Practitioners” was piloted in November 2022 with the Trauma Informed Plymouth Network (TIPN). Evaluation of the training was very positive, with the training described as “ground-breaking”, “incredibly empowering”, “exceptionally useful”, and with 100% of participants saying they would recommend the training to their colleagues.

The aim of the “Delivering a Shame Competent Plymouth in Partnership with the Trauma-Informed Plymouth Network” project, funded by an ESRC IAA Impact Co-Creation Funding. is for The Shame Lab to partner with the TIPN in order to roll out the “Shame Competence for Trauma-Informed Practitioners” training to the TIPN’s networks of practitioners with the aim of transforming Plymouth into the UK’s first “Shame Competent City”. Twenty trainings will be delivered and evaluated during 2024 and 2025, with trainings delivered by Vicky Simms and Sarah Cox.

Training professionals working in care and social services to be shame competent has the potential to improve outcomes and to create more humane and emotionally intelligent practice, for both practitioners and patients/clients/service users. This intervention has the potential to be highly impactful, transforming practice and improving outcomes, while also leading towards concrete policy change, where the aim is to make ‘shame competence’ a nationally and internationally recognised standard for good practice in a range of sectors.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, contact the project PI Luna Dolezal (


Funded by Univeristy of Exeter ESRC IAA Impact Co-Creation Funding (2024-2025)

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