Un-Shaming: The Healing Role of the Witness

with David Bedrick

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Seeing, Feeling, Believing and Unfolding

Learning Areas

Everything Unfolds and Flowers: That's How we Heal Shame


What You'll Learn


A child is assaulted by a parent; the other parent looks away, dismisses, minimizes, or simply doesn’t see. What happens psychologically? The assault needs to be addressed in the short term whether it is physical, psychological, or both. However, the way the event is witnessed by the other parent (or community, teacher, relative, etc.) will have a longer-term impact. When this child becomes an adult, they may never seek help, never talk about being abused, or take any effort to heal their injury for one simple reason—they have internalized the viewpoint of the parent who witnessed the event and now they too dismiss, minimize, or deny its occurrence. While the initial assault, like any wound, requires address and redress, the insufficient witnessing wraps the wound in shame, like a bacterial laden bandage, infecting the person’s beliefs, convincing them that their pain and suffering is a result of their own inadequacy.


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About Your Teacher

David Bedrick


David Bedrick, J.D., Dipl. PW is the founder of the Santa Fe Institute for Shame-Based Studies where he teaches therapists, coaches and healers from around the world. David practice law for 10 year, is on the faculty of the Process Work Institute, and was on the faculty of the University of Phoenix for 8 years. He is the author of three books: Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology and Revisioning Activism: Bringing Depth, Dialogue, and Diversity to Individual and Social Change. His new book is You Can’t Judge a Body by Its Cover: 17 Women’s Stories of Hunger, Body Shame and Redemption.

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