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Examining the Shame of Trauma

1 hours, 3 minutes
1.0 BACB, 1 IBAO General CE
Rachel Camp
October 6, 2023


Practitioners across professional backgrounds commonly interact with individuals who have experienced trauma. That trauma can result from a range of experiences, including those anchored in shame. In fact, shame can be both a cause and effect of trauma. Although shame is a painful emotion that can result in significant behavioral and psychological effects, it is often mislabeled and misunderstood by those who work with trauma survivors.

This course will provide a framework for understanding the correlation between shame and trauma. First by defining both terms and exploring why shame is such a painful emotion and what conditions contribute to it. Followed by considering shame as a social condition or behavioral intervention, and, through the use of specific examples, identifying what may motivate the use of shame by others. This will lead to exploring two discrete experiences – interpersonal and identity-based harms – and why those experiences can be distinctly shaming as well as the behavioral and psychological effects that can result from shame. This course concludes with suggestions for engaging in practices that anticipate, center, and mitigate shame. From this course, we hope that practitioners in any field will both better understand the intersection between shame and trauma, and, as a result, will be able to adopt practices that allow for better outcomes for those who may shame affected.

Learning Checklist

  1. Define trauma and internalized shame.

  2. Explain the intersection between shame and trauma, focusing on interpersonal and identity-based harms.

  3. Identify social factors that contribute to internalized shame, and what motivates shame as a behavioral intervention.

  4. Describe the range of behavioral and psychological effects of shame.

  5. Create a framework for engaging in shame-centered practices.


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