Speaker Mr Simon Archer
The discipline of Psychoanalysis initiated by Sigmund Freud is built upon the concept of the role of the unconscious in determining psychic development, along with the part played in this developmental drama by the repression of sexual and aggressive instincts. Klein expanded Freud's idea about aggression and guilt.
This psychoanalytic framework was embraced by western intellectual and artistic culture, and by analytic psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. However, almost no attention was paid to the existence of the universal human phenomenon of shame. Shame is intimately linked with the idea of failure, self-doubt and humiliation. It remains a peculiarly ignored cause of neurotic and more serious psychological disturbance.
I will outline some historical references to shame and use some examples from my work with patients to illustrate the importance of shame as a cause of psychological distress and conflict.