An ACT of Compassion: Shame and Self-Stigma in Addiction

This three-hour workshop is part of the Northwest Institute of Addictions Studies Conference

Description: Many people struggling with addictive behavior experience a core sense of defectiveness as a human being. This is the core experience of shame, which together with self-stigma can further exacerbate addictive behavior and impede the recovery process.  New research into shame and stigma is finally beginning to identify effective interventions to help people naviagate this difficult landscape. This workshop provides an overview of the how shame and self-stigma function in addictive behavior, along with an overview of how the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help therapists work with shame and self-stigma. In an ACT approach to shame, rather than trying to reduce or eliminate shame, psychological acceptance techniques encourage clients to notice shame and other difficult feelings more fully, while reducing their conditioned link to problematic action, such as avoidance behavior. Negative self-judgments such as "I'm damaged goods" or "I am broken" are addressed by cognitive defusion: noticing the process of thinking, letting go of attachment to the literal content of thoughts, responding to thoughts in terms of the workability of behavior tied to them, and then shifting attention toward values-based actions. Finally, perspective-taking work allows for the development of values-based and compassionate perspectives on self that serve as an alternative to shame and self-criticism.

The workshop will include both experiential and didactic elements. 

You can register for this event or the conference here:  


July 16, 2014 at 9:30am - 12:30pm
Monarch Hotel and Conference Center
12566 SE 93rd Ave
Clackamas, OR 97015
United States
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40th Annual Northwest Institute of Addictions Studies Conference

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