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Digital Seminar

Treating Shame in Clinical Practice: Somatic Strategies and Self-Compassion

Matthew J. Modrcin, PhD, LCSW
6 Hours
May 13, 2016
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


  • Help clients overcome their shame – a major underlying reason therapeutic gains aren’t being made!
  • Learn how to work with emergence and the regulation of shame affective states
  • Strategies for somatic processing of shame
  • Strategies for disrupting shame identity and strengthening compassion capacity

How often do you and your clients come to an impasse in the therapeutic process? Change appears stalled and your clients’ progress is limited – and for most of us in clinical practice, navigating this impasse is challenging.

In this workshop you will learn how to identify and work with shame to restore the therapeutic alliance and re-engage the client in their process of change. Shame is not only a highly toxic affective state but also an embodied experience. In a constant state of vigilance against additional exposure to shaming events, the client is unable to access internal healing resources and is often reluctant to engage in therapy.

If you miss the tell-tale signs of shame, you not only rupture the therapeutic alliance – you’ll hinder any progress toward healing. Like me at one time in my practice, and like many others in our field, you have difficulty identifying shame, as the experience is often disguised as avoidance, rage, anger or sadness.

Leave the seminar armed with superior skills of seeing when shame is present, how it is adversely impacting the therapeutic alliance, and why progress has stalled – and give the client strategies to replace shame with self-compassion.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Matthew J. Modrcin, PhD, LCSW Related seminars and products

Matthew J. Modrcin, PhD, LCSW, is a Board Certified Diplomat in clinical social work and former associate professor of Social Work at Portland State University. Dr. Modrcin has over 40 years of clinical experience, specializing in couple’s therapy, group therapy and clinical supervision. 

Attachment theory is his primary clinical lens interwoven with concepts from interpersonal neurobiology and somatic-based approaches. Dr. Modrcin’s current focus is conceptualizing the role of shame in the therapeutic alliance and interventions. He has developed techniques for healing that are centered at the nexus of shame and the emergence of self-compassion.

A seasoned workshop presenter on a variety of clinical topics, Dr. Modrcin quickly engages the audience and provides accessible knowledge skills for therapists across all levels of experience.


Speaker Disclosure:
Financial: Matthew Modrcin is in private practice. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Matthew Modrcin is a member of the American Family Therapy Association and the National Association of Social Workers.


  1. Identify developmental and trauma perspectives of shame.
  2. Facilitate shame and self-compassion affective and embodied states.
  3. Experience shame activation (self and client’s) within the therapeutic relationship and identify alliance ruptures.
  4. Apply strategies to restore the interpersonal connection when shame emerges.
  5. Explore the therapeutic relationship for self-compassion expressions.
  6. Apply strategies with couples and groups.


The Roots of Shame

  • Interpersonal origins
  • Developmental perspective
  • Trauma perspective
  • Affective-somatic perspective

The Therapist Shame Experience

  • How clinical models can shame
  • Barrier to creativity and relational presence
  • Releasing the shame response

Shame and the Distortion of Self

  • Shame-based identity
  • Adaptive qualities
  • Defense against connection

When Shame is Activated – Interventions for Working With:

  • Affective processing
  • Somatic processing
  • Observing and entering the shame activation

Therapeutic Strategies

  • Increasing tolerance of shame states
  • Holding the emergence of affect
  • Amplification of positive affects for connection
  • Compassion modeling
  • Managing enactment moments
  • Transparency and self-disclosure

Engaging and Sustaining Self-Compassion

  • Definitions
  • Affective states
  • Somatic states
  • Narratives of self-compassion
  • Set-backs and restorations

Additional Clinical Contexts

  • Couples therapy
  • Group therapy

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Professionals

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