Minding Shame in the Psychoanalytic Work with Trauma
Presented by Shirley Liao, PhD
May 1, 2024

Live via Zoom
7:30pm – 9:00pm Central Time

1.5 CEU/CE Credits

Members: Free
Non-members: $30


Instructional Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Shame is a complex and multifaceted human phenomenon that has been a specific area of research, and a topic in psychological literature. Psychoanalytic writers from different schools of thought also have offered valuable theories on the role and effects of shame in the intra- and interpsychic spaces. In the consulting/psychotherapy room, shame has many faces and has an insidious presence. Overall, the experience of shame is understood to be shaped by early experiences of attachment and the development of the self. For instance, from a Freudian perspective, shame as an affect is seen as part of the normal developmental process of the ego when the ego temporarily regresses to earlier stages of development as a defense against overwhelming anxiety. Other psychoanalytic schools of thought also have theorized shame from their own unique angle and approach. In this presentation, a brief review of various psychoanalytic concepts of shame will be provided. In addition, Dr. Liao will offer some clinical case material to discuss and demonstrate a way to hold psychoanalytic understandings of shame along with her trauma-informed training and years of experience working with patients from shame-burdened ethnic (e.g. Asian/Asian American) backgrounds, and/or conservative religious (e.g. Evangelical) cultures to facilitate the psychoanalytic process of working through deep early childhood trauma that is felt in the body. Lastly, Dr. Liao will reflect and muse with the participants on further psychoanalytic formulations of shame as an embodied experience and as a defense against loss and grief, with considerations of culture and religion in trauma work.


  • Identify and differentiate the concept of shame from various psychoanalytic perspectives, i.e. Freudian, Object Relation, Self Psychology, and Relational.
  • Discuss how attending to the patient’s shame experience can facilitate effective working-through their early childhood trauma.

Dr. Shirley Liao is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst in Orange County, California. Dr. Liao has been in the field for over 20 years and in full-time private practice since 2008. Dr. Liao received a M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology. Dr. Liao has a certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and a full certificate in Psychoanalysis from Newport Psychoanalytic Institute. In addition to seeing patients and engaging in various professional activities, Dr. Liao is experienced in providing individual and group clinical supervision and consultation for pre-licensed and licensed psychotherapists working psychodynamically at different settings with difficult patients. Most recently, she was invited as a panelist to the annual conference sponsored by California Psychological Association Division 2: Education and Training, discussing the topic–Value Added: What Can Be Gained by Adding Psychodynamic/Relational Perspective in Clinical Supervision. Dr. Liao was the Director of Clinical Training & the Clinical Director at a large community counseling center (CIFT) in Orange County and is the co-founder of Seaside Psychotherapy and Training Center. Currently in her practice, Dr. Liao mainly works with adult patients who suffer pervasive childhood trauma and continue to struggle with the impacts of it in the present day intrapsychically, interpersonally, and in the body. Dr. Liao is also trained in EMDR, and integrates the body/soma, culture, and spirituality in her practice. She is the author of a chapter on Elders: Challenges and Growth in Later Life. In K. Van Lant & R. Bettenhausen (Eds.), Counseling & mental health in the church (pp. 361-389). San Diego, CA: Cognella. Currently, Dr. Liao is a Board member at Newport Psychoanalytic Institute in Tustin, Orange County, California.

Buczynski, R. (Training Facilitator). (2021, September 8). Overcome Trauma Responses Week 4 ~ How to Ease the Pain of Trauma-Induced Shame. [Online training session transcript]. In The Advanced Master Program on the Treatment of Trauma. National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine.

Davies, J. M. (2018). The “once and future” focus of a relational psychoanalysis: Discussion of “vitalizing enactment”, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28(3), 355-360.

Dearing, R. L., & Tangney, J. P. (Eds.). (2011). Shame in the therapy hour. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/12326-000

Shaw, D. (2023). Shame and self-alienation: A trauma-informed psychoanalytic perspective. Psychoanalytic Inquiry. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07351690.2023.2226021

CONTINUING EDUCATION: Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Austin Psychoanalytic is approved by the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners (Provider # 5501) to provide continuing education for social workers and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (Provider #1138). We also meet the requirements to provide continuing education for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 1.5 continuing education credits. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to info@austinpsychoanalytic.org. There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program’s content.