Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients

General Information

Title: Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients

Presenter: Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA

Date: Wednesday, August 7, 2024, 12:00 AM-3:00 PM ET

Fee: $95. Earlybird discount (until 6/1) $70. Includes handouts, 3 CE credits, and 2 months access to recordings.

Venue: Online Webinar

Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients


The experience of trauma, abuse, or neglect impacts clients’ thoughts, feelings, and behavioral choices in a myriad of ways. However, there is a universal component as well: most trauma survivors grapple with varying degrees of guilt and shame. These emotions are so pervasive they are often accepted and “normalized’ as an inevitable and intractable part of a trauma survivor’s daily existence. 

Yet “trauma-informed” therapists know that until these powerful and debilitating emotions are identified and addressed, it is nearly impossible for clients to achieve the level of healing they deserve and need. Regardless of the therapeutic approach, when clients continue to live with unmetabolized guilt and shame therapy can stall and a glass ceiling gets placed on the extent to which they can move forward in their personal and professional lives. These clients remain vulnerable to negative self-talk, are far more likely to engage in a wide range of self-destructive behaviors, and either stay in unfulfilling and emotionally abusive relationships or refrain from any emotional intimacy at all.

This workshop will provide a clinical framework so therapists can compassionately assist their clients in understanding and addressing the root causes of guilt and shame.  We will explore the importance of incorporating psycho-education so clients gain insight and awareness about the inevitable byproducts and coping strategies that are associated with trauma. We will also identify creative strategies that use the power of the therapeutic relationship, cognitive re-framing, addressing the Inner Critic, somatic and expressive modalities that allow for the processing and releasing of these debilitating emotions.



Lisa is a recognized expert in the strengths-based, de-pathologized treatment of trauma and has been in private practice for over 40 years.  She presents workshops and keynote addresses nationally and internationally, and is a clinical consultant to practitioners and mental health agencies in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland  Israel, and Spain.  She has been an Adjunct Faculty member at several Universities, and is the Founder of “The Ferentz Institute,” now in its seventeenth year of providing continuing education to mental health professionals and graduating thousands of clinicians from her two Certificate Programs in Advanced Trauma Treatment.  In 2009 she was voted the “Social Worker of Year” by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.  Lisa is the author of “Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Traumatized Clients: A Clinician’s Guide,” now in its second edition, “Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope and Healing,” and “Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons From the Therapist’s Couch.”   Lisa also hosted a weekly radio talk show, writes blogs and articles for websites on trauma, attachment, self-destructive behaviors, and self-care, teaches on many webinars, and is a contributor to Psychologytoday.com.  You can follow Lisa’s work on her website, theferentzinstitute.com, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients


  1. Describe the differences between guilt and shame and why shame is so difficult to resolve.
  2. Identify at least three specific dynamics of trauma and the subsequent early childhood coping strategies that promote and sustain shame.
  3. Explain how the phenomenon of secondary gain and “protective parts” impact clients’ willingness to let go of shame
  4. Explain the role the therapeutic relationship plays in helping clients process shame.
  5. Describe and implement how to cognitively, somatically, and creatively strengthen the two antidotes to shame: self-compassion and curiosity.

CE Information

Continuing Education Credits (3) are granted through Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC for the following professions: Psychologists, Social workers, Mental Health Counselors, LMFTs, and LCATs. It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often, and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling. 


Neuhoff Psychological Consulting is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 



Neuhoff Psychological Consulting PLLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7503. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 


New York State Social Workers  

Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0785. 


New York State Mental Health Counselors  

Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Mental Health Counselor #MHC-0195 


New York State Psychology  

Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0072. 


 New York State Marriage Therapy 

Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0121. 


New York State Creative Arts Therapist  

Neuhoff Psychological Consulting, PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists. #CAT-0112. 




Brown, L., Belli, G., et al (2019) A review of the role of negative cognitions about oneself, others and the world in the treatment of PTSD. J of Cognitive Therapy Research. 43(1) 143-173

Buckley, T., Punkanen, M and Ogden, P. (2018) The role of the body in fostering resilience; a sensorimotor psychotherapy perspective. Journal of Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy. 13 (4) 225-233

DeFrance, K., Lanteigne, D., et al (2016) A new measure of the expression of shame: The shame code. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 1-36

Kennedy, A, and Prock, K. (2018) I still feel like I am not normal: A Review of the role of stigma and stigmatization among female survivors of child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Journal of Trauma, Violence, Abuse.  (5):512-527. doi: 10.1177/1524838016673601.

Miceli, M. and Castelfranchi, C. (2018) Reconsidering the differences between guilt and shame. European Journal of Psychology. 14 (3): 710-733

Saraiya T, Lopez-castro T. (2016) Ashamed and Afraid: A scoping review of the role of shame in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. J Clin Med. 2016;5(11). doi:10.3390%2Fjcm5110094

Sheehy, K., Noureen, A., Khaliq, A, et al (2019) An examination of the relationship between guilt, shame and self harm: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review.   doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101779


Satisfactory Completion:

Participants must have paid the tuition fee, signed in or logged in and out each day, attended the entire webinar, and completed an evaluation to receive a certificate.  Failure to sign/log in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available. Certificates are available electronically after satisfactory course completion. A link will be provided for those who have completed the training.

Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients


Application Deadline:  August 5, 2024 or until all training spaces are filled, whichever comes first.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants will be notified, via email, of acceptance when registration is complete, and payment is received.

Refund/Cancellation Policy 

Tuition/registration payments are refundable until July 7th. Cancellations after this date are non-refundable. In this situation, we will attempt to find someone to take your slot (based on our waiting list).


Conference is via webinar. For live options, there will be handicap accessibility.

Course level


Level of clinician 



If you require ADA accommodations, please contact our office 30 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification

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Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients


August 7, 2024

12:00-1:30        Defining guilt and guilty cognitions


                         Guilt and trauma, guilt and sexual abuse- client examples


                         When is guilt productive? When is it unproductive?


                        Defining shame: the trauma survivor’s DSM                      


                        Shame and the “freeze” response-client example


                        Addressing the Imposter Syndrome


                       Working with the “Inner Critic”


1:30-1:40         Break


1:40-3:00       Understanding the secondary gain of Inner Critics- writing prompt

                    Addressing the antidote to Shame

Working with Curiosity- shifting self-blame

Working with Self-Compassion- the impact of self-talk

Installing a remembered resource

The healing nature of the therapeutic relationship

Processing additional creative strategies: externalizing with art prompts, the somatic manifestations of guilt and shame,

Understanding Guilt and Shame in Traumatized Clients