Free Lecture: 

Clinical Case Formulation Using a Shame-Informed Model

Are you missing signals about how a client handles the “master emotion” of shame? Is this causing barriers to client improvement in therapy? Learn why it is important to identify shame in client presentations, as this primary emotion is trans-diagnostic and causes essentially all psychological distress. Learn how to formulate cases using a shame-informed model and how self-compassion is the antidote to feelings of unworthiness. 

Date: Thursday, January 27

Time:  9 am -11 am 

Presented via Zoom

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Unfortunately no continuing education credits are offered for the lecture at this time. However, participant feedback will be very valuable in helping me consider whether to offer this course for CEs in the future. 

Course Description:

Because of the power of the emotion of shame to influence intra-personal emotional wellbeing and inter-personal behavior, the mental health profession should consider adopting a shame-informed model to assess emotional and behavioral problems, rather than the disease model of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD). While shame is often ignored by clinicians and clients, it is considered a trans-diagnostic influence on conditions labeled as mood disorders, personality disorders and even childhood behavioral disorders. Clinicians can easily learn to identify indicators of client negative self-image and beliefs of unworthiness by assessing for trauma history, attachment patterns, view of self and other, affect/presentation, and interpersonal functioning. Because compassion is the antidote to shame, compassion-focused therapy models provide evidence-based interventions that directly address the cause of emotional distress. A shame-informed case formulation would lead to simplified, but meaningful, case conceptualization and treatment planning for clinicians and — most importantly — improved outcomes for clients. 

Course Objectives:

Clinicians will learn:

  1. The lack of evidence for the disease model or chemical imbalance theory of “mental illness” and why it should be abandoned
  2. How the stigma of the disease model worsens shame and blocks treatment
  3. Trans-diagnostic power of the emotion of shame as cause of psychological distress
  4. Benefits of a shame-informed case formulation model
  5. Five causative factors of shame intolerance
  6. Impact of shame Intolerance on interpersonal relationships
  7. Impact of shame Intolerance on intra-personal functioning
  8. Brief introduction to self-compassion interventions as antidote to shame
  9. Case studies in identifying impact of shame on patient psychological functioning


Harper West, MA, LLP, ( is a psychotherapist in private practice in Clarkston, Michigan. She is certified in Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (SCIP), has completed Mindful Self-Compassion training, is experienced in Compassion-Focused Therapy and was trained in transcendental meditation in 1978. Harper has completed two levels of advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Harper graduated from Michigan State University and earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology following a career in corporate communications. She presented on her shame-informed model at the International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry conference in 2018. She has served as editor of a special edition of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and wrote in that edition about shame. Her chapter in the bestselling book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President was on  the impact of shame on abusive or narcissistic relationship patterns. Her self-help book Pack Leader Psychology won an IBPA Ben Franklin Award for Psychology. Harper serves on the Michigan Board of Psychology. Contact: