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Healing Shame: A Workshop for Therapists
with Bret Lyon, PhD and Shelia Rubin, LMFT, RDT/BCT

•Please go to HealingShame.com for the most current and comprehensive information about Healing Shame Workshops.

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 individuals and couples go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging or even feeling shame – and this gets in the way of making progress in treatment. Shame often fuels and promotes the negative cycle between members of a couple. Where there is blame, there is shame.

The difficulty we feel in dealing with shame carries over into the therapy situation. For many clients who don’t get better in therapy, shame – unacknowledged and not worked through – is the primary factor. Both therapists and clients need to be educated about shame – how it develops, what it is and how it works. And therapists need help in developing a working model of how to help their clients identify, work through and heal their shame.

In this workshop, we will learn how to help our clients recognize shame, work through it and gain a new sense of compassion for themselves – and their partners. We will become more sensitive to the shaming often implicit in the therapy situation and learn how to counter shame in therapy. We will be able to help clients separate feelings of shame from other emotions. And we’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. We will look at working with individuals – as well as unpacking the dance of shame that arises within a couple in the reactive cycle as neither partner gets their attachment needs met.

“Best workshop I attended all year. Essential knowledge for anyone who does any kind of emotionally based psychotherapy. Greatly needed information which will be immediately useful.”
– Richard Doleman, MFT, Certified EFT Therapist

"This may be the best, most helpful CEU workshop I have been to."
– Nancy Gifford, LCSW

“Best workshop I've been to this year.  Loved it. Somatic and experiential focus, with excellent cognitive framing.”
– Jay Seiff-Haron, PsyD

"It was all very helpful – the demos, the sharing, the didactic. Good balance. It was all relevant – personally and professionally."
– Jan Di Santo, MFT, Certified EFT Therapist.

“My work with clients has deepened as I am seeing and addressing shame so much more and educating clients about it, often with dramatically positive results.”
– Dinah Bachrach, LMFT

“I want to thank you guys again for a wonderful, stimulating, evocative workshop.  I do think that the perspective you bring to the central importance of shame in healing the psyche is unique and timely. The safe environment that you created in the group was special. I was touched by your courage in putting yourselves out there to work in front of the group. I loved the soft, gentle but persistent way each of you tracked the client–finding ways to connect with and highlight their underlying process.
Paul Aiken, Ph.D.

Mailing List:

To be added to the Healing Shame email list and receive notice of upcoming workshops, please email Bret at bret@1bret.net

Schedule of Upcoming Workshops

For a current schedule of upcoming Healing Shame workshops in Berkeley, California and other locations in the United States and Canada, click here.

CEUs for MFTs and LCSWs
All weekend workshops meet the qualifications for continuing education credits (CEUs) for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. PCE #4456.


Other Workshops to be Scheduled as Needed

Thanks again for a truly, deeply wonderful workshop!
I have been much more aware of my breathing, and
have been breathing much more fully — and experiencing
my emotions with greater awareness and appreciation —
and generally feeling more joy, energy and aliveness!
Very best wishes,
— Bill

Attend any of Bret Lyon's workshops and receive a free copy of his book, The Bret Lyon Personal Power Program.


Voice, Breath, Feelings

We have been taught for so long to be reasonable, polite and controlled, that our voices have lost much of their range and power. Yet the voice is your most potent tool for reaching out and expressing yourself to others. A baby, when it wants something, can cry for hours without letup and without strain. The breath flows in, the sound comes out -- powered by need, and nothing gets in the way. But as we get older, muscles tighten, breathing becomes restricted, faces rigidify, and we lose the free sound that was ours at birth.

This experiential workshop is designed to help you connect more fully with your body and breathing, find and use your natural, full sound and improve your voice for speaking and singing. Through simple, physical exercises you gain awareness of your body and your breathing, which will become freer and deeper. You will discover how to make sound effortlessly from your center. As you drop habitual controls and allow things to happen, your voice will grow in richness and expression. For most people, there will be a striking change in vocal quality and a greater ability to express feelings and desires.

Creating Safety and Building Empathy through Reichian Breathwork, Focusing & Non-Verbal Communication: A One Day Workshop for Therapists

Some studies suggest that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal. Yet as therapists, we often give great emphasis to words -- ours and our clients'. While words are indeed important, much of the work in therapy takes place in silence. Indeed, in creating safety and building empathy, much of the conversation is non-verbal. When words are feeling-based and body-based, arising out of the non-verbal, they are fewer and more effective. Often, our challenge with clients is to bring them out of their heads and into their bodies -- and to slow them down so they can find words for what is really going on. In this workshop, you will learn new skills which will help both you and your client gain the benefits of increased body awareness and full, free breathing. When you are breathing fully, your very presence will make clients feel more comfortable and open. Noticing variations in the clients' breathing and body language can lead to new insights. You will learn to use subtle, non-verbal communication to help clients stay in their feelings and in their bodies. You will explore new ways of creating safety, building empathy, increasing rapport, and reducing anxiety -- while avoiding the stress and exhaustion that comes from trying too hard to be helpful.

For more information on training for Therapists, see Training.

Full Body Breathing

This workshop takes place on a Saturday from 10am to 5pm. The workshop is small enough to allow for individual attention. It is gentle and slowly paced, giving plenty of time for exploration. The workshop is designed to allow students to experience how the body and the breath actually work when we don't try to control them. This involves a process of unlearning what we thought we knew.

We begin with simple, subtle movements designed to increase flexibility and awareness of how your body works. Then, in a safe, supportive environment, without forcing or trying, you can gently allow your breathing to deepen and grow — from survival breathing to full-body breathing. As you follow the breath, your mind relaxes. What is tight and blocked lets go. You experience just being, appreciating the joyful life energy that is constantly flowing through you. You are more able to sense oneness — with yourself, others and the whole world. For a more detailed explanation, see About Body, Breath & Being.

While the workshop is largely experiential, there is also time for explanation and discussion to put the experience into context and provide feedback to the conscious, rational part of us. This leads to a true integration of mind and body. Students leave with a new, expanded sense of freedom, aliveness and peace, as well as a new understanding of how to treat the breath as a powerful ally.

Expanding Your Energy

The more you breathe, the greater the energy flowing through your body. In this workshop, we will learn how to sense energy in ourselves and others. Drawing on the energy work of Wilhelm Reich, as well Chakra Balancing, Chi Gung, Tantra and Jin Shin Do, we will be able to experience where energy is flowing and where it is blocked. We will learn to use our breath and our hands to free blocked energy and create a smooth, expanded flow all through the body. For a fuller explanation of how energy flows, please see article Sex and Pleasure: As Much As You Can Stand.

Making Friends with Your Emotions

When we try to "control" our emotions by holding them in or denying their existence, we fight against our very nature. In order to shut down emotions, we have to tighten our muscles and inhibit our breathing. In this workshop you will learn to make friends with your emotions, letting them flow through you in their own natural rhythm like waves that crest and subside. As you breathe through emotions rather than trying to stop them, you will ultimately get back to the pleasure and joy underneath. You will learn that when emotions are felt fully, they change, like the colored handkerchiefs that emerge one after the other from a magician's magic hat. As you witness your feelings flowing through you, you can gently guide them — choosing when, where and how you express them. As you accept and experience the full range of your feelings, you expand your ability to love yourself and others. Please see article I'm a Lot Happier When I Breathe and quotes by Rumi, Gendlin and Cornell in the Inspiration section.

Receiving — for Givers

With every inhale, we receive lifegiving breath from the universe. With every exhale, we give back. Many of us are good at giving to others, but have trouble receiving. For us, there's something scary about really receiving. It's hard to "take it in" when someone tries to give to us. And it's especially hard to ask. We may suffer in silence. Or we may demand or just take, not really going through the process of asking and receiving — and feeling and expressing gratitude. In this workshop, using body and breath, we will explore the physiology of giving and receiving, discovering what it feels like to actually give and receive — and what gets in the way. We will then experiment with asking for what we want — and learn to ask effectively. And we will learn how to receive while we are giving, so we don't get drained. The workshop will help you develop your receiving skills so you can get more joy and satisfaction out of life. It will also help you achieve more balance and pleasure in your relationships.


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