Introduction to Shame Competence Training

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Why Consider Shame?

Shame is a strong driver of decision-making and behaviour, and as a result is a significant force to consider when delivering human services such as policing, social care, healthcare, among other services. These are professions where power imbalances, vulnerability and the possibility of shameful exposure are often inherent to interactions between clients/patients/service users and the professionals and practitioners that are trained to help them. In addition, understanding shame and its effects is central to understanding post-trauma states and achieving trauma-informed practice, a paradigm which is increasingly adopted in policing and other services to facilitate more empathic, effective and sensitive care. However, a consideration of shame, along with its impacts and effects, is rarely considered when developing principles and policies for practice within human services.

Shame experienced in encounters with professionals, such as healthcare workers, police, social workers and other care professionals, can lead to withdrawal, avoidance, inaccurate disclosures and other forms of disengagement. Shame also impacts professionals, and evidence shows that shame is related to burn out, stress and trauma.


What is Shame Competence?

Shame is a powerful force that can profoundly impact individuals, teams and organisations, often in a negative and destructive way. To address shame, which often remains unspoken and unacknowledged, and to begin to work constructively with shame, then shame competence is needed. Shame Competence is a set of skills, principles, and practices that can be learned by individuals and applied throughout an organization. The aim is to engage shame constructively in order to create more engagement, wellbeing, dignity and inclusion. Shame Competence involves practitioners having a theoretical and practical understanding of shame. Practitioners must understand what shame is, be aware of, and able to identify, behaviours that are used to cope with shame. Practitioners must also be aware of shame dynamics, how shame circulates interpersonally, and develop on-going competence in identifying their own shame and its effects on their thinking, actions and behaviour within professional practice.


What can a Shame Competent Professional Do?

Recognise shame in themselves and in others; Understand common shame defenses and recognise hidden shame; Respond appropriately to shame and manage shame dynamics for positive outcomes; Recognise shaming and avoid using shaming; Understand how shame shows up in organisations; create psychological safety; enact trauma-informed practice.


Introduction to Shame Competence Training 

The aim of the introduction to shame competence training is introduce the topic of shame and its relevance to professional practice. The Introduction to Shame Competence training is a 2-hour interactive webinar delivered online, with a maximum of 50 participants per training session.

Topics covered in the training are:


If you would like to find out more about how to book a training session, or to hear about costings, please contact Dr James Woodhams:

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