Stop Reinforcing Shame with this Body Posture

If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this…

Why does shame ‘stick like glue’ for decades after the trauma?

Shame can be harder to shake than fear because we attach meaning to shame. Our bodies use shame as a survival response, and it also evokes other powerful feelings and responses such as:

  • Accompanying meaning-making that exacerbates the body responses and creates a ‘vicious circle’ of shame.
  • Feeling personal: it’s about “me.”
  • Being reinforced by other trauma-related schemas, such as “It’s not safe to succeed…to be self-assertive…to have needs…to be happy.”

In Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma, Janina Fisher, Ph.D. explains how persistent shame responses reflect procedural learning, allowing the trauma survivor to respond instinctively, automatically, and non-consciously.

How can you help your patients break these automatic shame responses?

One way to do this is by combating shame through the body. Watch as Janina Fisher, Ph.D., shows you how to stop reinforcing shame with body posture.

What do you think of Fisher’s technique for combating shame through the body?

Tell us in the comments below.

Like what you see? Watch the full version of Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma.

Author: PESIinc

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12 thoughts on “Stop Reinforcing Shame with this Body Posture”

  1. changing posture to get rid of shame is a lot like wishing to get rid of the effects of trauma. First of all, the person has to know they are exhibiting shame. Most who were rejected by the mother/father at birth don’t know they feel ashamed, especially during moments where they would stick out in a crowd, like when they are being praised or display their accomplishments. They grew up with being surrounded by a family which hated them and the best posture then would be one of shame to prevent attacks by the family, to hide their identity, to become the “fly on the wall,” so that they could at least listen and watch what happens to others. They have to learn that no one else around them feels that way, that it is wrong to feel that way, that they have a right to exist.


  2. I am a mental health counselor as well as a certified Blue Belt Nia instructor. This is EXACTLY what we teach! Nia is a somatic work out fusing Martial arts, healing arts and dance arts. I will be starting a Moving to Heal practice (gentle Nia) in a local Psyc practice here. Nia is an amazing practice. To see if there are any classes in your area, please locate classes and practitioners at As an intern I also used this in my DBT groups.


  3. I have been using psychomotor and sensory based psychotherapy for 40 years now, and so it is refreshing to see Dr. Fisher’s work going “out there.” Posture is such a powerful way to “work” with shame. Another is the breath. I have developed a breathing/mindfulness tool called the Flash Awake that only takes some seconds, and works directly with shame-based feelings. If you might be interested, you can learn more at htttp:// Thank you, Dr. Wiedemann


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