NCCEFT Quarterly Meeting: The Dreaded "S" Word

  • 04 Mar 2017
  • 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley 2407 Dana Street Berkeley, CA 94704
  • 28


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

Registration is closed

The Dreaded "S Word":  

Working with Shame in EFT: Helping Therapists Understand, Defuse and Bring Compassion to Pursuer Shame and Withdrawer Shame

Presented by: 

Sheila Rubin, LMFT, RDT, BCT and 
Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP, BCC
EFT is by far the most effective couples' therapy there is.  EFT stresses attachment longing and abandonment fear.   With many couples this is enough. However, there are couples who have great difficulty deescalating.  For these couples, the issue is not only fear - which relates to view of other, but shame - which relates to view of self.  In some couples, shame in one partner - or both - can completely derail deescalation.  The shame can manifest as a freeze and dissociation in the withdrawer or an explosion and escalation in the pursuer.  The withdrawer may feel and think,  "What's wrong with me, I'll never get it right" and freeze in helplessness. The pursuer, underneath the blaming, might be feeling and thinking, "What's wrong with me that I can't get my needs met, and that I can't control myself. Not only is my partner seeing me as bad, but so is the therapist." Shame is brought into the relationship and can easily be triggered by the partner or the therapist. Therapists, facing this situation, can easily go into their own shame counter-transference and either freeze or shame and judge one of the partners - or themselves.  

The more couples care about each other, the more vulnerable they are to shame. Intentionally or unintentionally, they poke each other in the tender spots. Couples can shame each other and cause small attachment wounds multiple times a day, often without realizing what is happening. This can become a highly reactive cycle, preventing both people from getting their basic safety and attachment needs met. And unhealed shame can distort how they hear each other; the received message may have little to do with the message the partner is attempting to send.

In this workshop we will explore the blame/shame game couples can fall into and how to help them stop shaming each other and work together to create a secure base and heal the wounds of the past through their newly forming attachment bond.

1) Look at some of the many subtle ways shame can be triggered in pursuers and withdrawers in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.

2) Explore shaming moments with great care particularly those that can surface in Step 3 as fears and negative emotions related to attachment are acknowledged, so we can teach our clients how to avoid shame-based reactivity.

3) Learn the gentle art of “counter-shaming”, during the session and how to actually help a partner with his or her feelings of inadequacy in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.


Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT Has co-led workshops in Healing Shame in many cities in the US and Canada. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist, a Registered Drama Therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco. She has trained in EFT with Sue Johnson, in AEDP with Diana Fosha, and in Hakomi with Ron Kurtz.  She is an adjunct faculty at JFK University Somatic Psychology Dept. She has developed techniques integrating somatic, and expressive modalities with EFT and AEDP  to work with all-pervasive shame and trauma. 

Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP, BCC has co-led workshops in Healing Shame in many cities in the US and Canada.  Bret been a teacher of Somatic and Emotional Mindfulness for over 30 years and holds Doctorates in both Psychology and Drama. He is certified in Focusing and Somatic Experiencing® and has trained in EFT with Sue Johnson, in AEDP with Diana Fosha and in Coherence Therapy with Bruce Ecker. Bret has also trained in Reichian Breathwork with Al Bauman, who worked directly with Wilhelm Reich.  He is also a board certified coach.


 10:00 AM - Networking and Professional Socialization                         (not included in CE credits)

  10:30 AM - NCCEFT Announcements (not included in CE                            credits)

 10:50 AM - Training begins

  11:50 AM - 10-minute break (not included in CE credits)

  12 NOON - Training resumes

    1:00 PM - Training adjourns

This training is appropriate for mental health practitioners who work with couples using Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Level is introductory to intermediate.

This training is free to members, who will receive Continuing Education (CE) credit at no charge.  This training is available to non-members for $10, and CE credit is available for an additional $25.  Payment may be made online at  No payments will be collected at the door.

This course meets the qualifications for 2 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences;

Psychologists:  The Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) is approved by the CPA OPD to sponsor continuing professional education for psychologists in California. NCCEFT maintains responsibility for this program and its content. (Provider # NOR055)

NCCEFT is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  NCCEFT maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Provider # 93337

Those who attend this workshop in full, complete the course evaluation and sign in/out will receive CE credits. A certificate of completion will be provided at the end of the workshop. Please note that credit will only be granted to those who attend the entire workshop.  Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credit.


NCCEFT meets all applicable local, state and federal standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42, U.S.C. 12101-12213 (2008)). We hold events only at professional venues that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42, U.S.C. 12101-12213 (2008)

ADA NEEDS: We will be happy to accommodate your ADA needs; please contact us at  at least two weeks prior to the seminar date.


The Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) is fully committed to conducting all activities in strict conformance with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. NCCEFT will comply with all legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in promotional activities, program content and in the treatment of program participants.  The monitoring and assessment of compliance with these standards will be the responsibility of the CPA PAS CE Program Director in consultation with the Board of Directors (Steering Committee).

While NCCEFT works to assure fair treatment for all participants and attempts to anticipate problems, there will be occasional issues which will require intervention and/or action on the part of NCCEFT. This procedural description serves as a guideline for handling such complaints.

When a participant, either orally or in written format, files a grievance and expects action on the complaint, the following actions will be taken:

1. If the complaint concerns a speaker, the content presented by the speaker, or the style of presentation, the individual filing the complaint will be asked to put his/her comments in written format. The CE Program Director will then pass on the comments to the speaker, assuring the confidentiality of the aggrieved individual.

2. If the complaint concerns a workshop offering, its content, level of presentation, or the facilities in which the workshop was offered, the CE Program Director will mediate and will be the final arbitrator. If the participant requests action during a workshop or conference, the CE Program Director or his/her representative will:

a. attempt to rectify the situation, and/or

b. provide a credit for a subsequent presentation, in the event of a program having an attendance fee or

c. provide a partial or full refund of the registration fee, in the event of a program having an attendance fee.

Actions 2b and 2c will require a written note, documenting the grievance, for record keeping purposes. The note need not be signed by the aggrieved individual.

3. If the grievance concerns the business practices of the NCCEFT CE program in a specific regard, the CE Program Director or Administrator will attempt to arbitrate.


In the event that a program presentation has an attendance fee, CANCELLATIONS are subject to a $50.00 processing fee and must be received 14 days prior to be eligible for a refund.

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In association with the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

NCCEFT is a professional association of therapists practicing Emotionally Focused Therapy in Northern California. Serving communities of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, and beyond; we have members throughout California and throughout the United States.
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