Shame, Trauma and Addiction

Treating Addiction as an Attempt to Break Out of the Shame-Trauma Freeze

Art by Sheila Rubin

Presented by:

Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT and Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP are the founders of the Center for Healing Shame.
They have been at the forefront of guiding mental health professionals to recognize and move through shame with their clients.

This course will not include CEs. Our upcoming recorded live events will be available HERE free for members and non-members who register for them, as is the case here. Members and event registrants can use their discount code to watch this event for free.


Understanding, reducing and transforming shame is the key to freeing someone from addiction. Shame, like trauma, produces a state of freeze in the nervous system. Shame is designed to bind with other emotions to lower their affect. It effects our ability to fully feel anger or grief. Shame also lowers our ability to feel pleasure. While there seems to be a physiological component that does make some people more prone to addiction, we believe that people develop and maintain addictions to gain a temporary escape from that sense of freeze. In the famous “rat park” experiment, Bruce Alexander showed that rats who were not isolated, but in cages with other rats and lots of stimulating objects, even when offered ready access to drugs, didn’t become addicted. Just as rats need activity and other rats to be happy, people need people. When shame disrupts our ability to gain pleasure from being active or connect with others, we become more prone to addiction. This is especially true when the shame comes from physical or emotional trauma in childhood.

Working with addictions can be challenging because letting go of the addiction is a huge, terrifying unknown. In this presentation, you will learn how to counter the shame that has been causing and maintains the addiction. You will gain tools to become a true support to the part of the client that wants to heal and help them find new paths, while also gently challenging the unhelpful behavior, and help clients both express the anger and grief that is bound with shame and seek out resources - people, places and other sources of pleasure, ease and belonging - that can sustain them.


  • Welcome
  • USABP Announcements
  • Presentation, Demo & Experiential
  • Q & A
  • Overtime discussion (after the event formally concludes)

This event will include our special Overtime!
Overtime allows attendees to continue to ask questions and invite conversation on the event material, other related inquiries, or cases after the formal event ends.

Your Instructor

Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT;  Brett Lyon, PhD,
Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT; Brett Lyon, PhD,

Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT is a leading authority on Healing Shame. She co-created theHealing Shame–Lyon/Rubin Method and has delivered talks, presentations and workshops across the country and around the world, at conferences from Canada to Romania. Sheila has been presenting Healing Shame workshops with her husband, Bret Lyon, for over 10 years; she has been presenting workshops for therapists about working with shame, eating disorders, and child and family trauma for over 25 years.

Brett Lyon, Phd is the co-director, co-creator and facilitator at the Center for Healing Shame. Additionally, he has been a private practice clinician for over 40 years. Brett teaches at Pomona College, Tufts University and is faculty at American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Brett is widely trained in various somatic approaches and holds certifications in Focusing, Somatic Experiencing and he is a Board Certified Coach.

Course Curriculum

  Video and Resources
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
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