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Sexuality and Shame – David Richards

Sexuality and Shame – David Richards

Date(s) - Saturday, February 9th, 2019
9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Shame has been identified as the “Cinderella of the unpleasant emotions” (Rycroft, 1972) and equally sex and sexuality remain frequently neglected areas for therapeutic exploration, despite their centrality in Freud’s original thinking. We can see shame and sexuality are intrinsically linked: in early developmental experiences, in the complexities and frequent pain of adolescent development, and equally in on-going adult development. However, particularly in adulthood, it may be extremely difficult for the individual to be able or willing to identify or articulate such shame; and hence within the therapeutic encounter it may remain a psychological state hidden, repressed or denied. Equally for therapists, encountering shame in a patient may lead to a powerful confrontation with their own sexuality and earlier developmental experience, creating a challenging process for therapeutic and relational contact. In addition, for those attracted to their own sex, the malign shadow of homophobia and its potential to be internalised by the individual may lead to a particularly vicious experience of shame and a sense of personal worthlessness.


The day will include presentation and discussion of theoretical ideas, clinical reflection, and experiential components. In particular we will explore the impact on the therapist in working with such shame in the consulting room. It will be valuable for participants to bring examples of their own clinical work and experience to discuss.


David Richards is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals and couples and as a supervisor. He previously worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, initially within the HIV field in the 1990s and then for many years managing a community counselling service for older adults. He is currently a senior tutor on the Birkbeck MSc. He has a long-standing interest in questions of sexuality and identity, and is a member of the BPC Advisory Group on Sexual and Gender Diversity, where he also currently serves on the Executive.


Bookings are closed for this event.

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