Patti Ashley, Ph.D., L.P.C. owns and operates Breakthrough Psychotherapy and Parent Coaching in Boulder, Colorado. Combining elements of developmental, cognitive, strength-based, and positive psychology, Dr. Ashley has created a psychotherapy model that helps clients excavate authenticity and life purpose. Identifying dysfunctional patterns and treating shame-based disorders are integral parts of her work with individuals, groups, couples and families.
Patti has over thirty-five years of experience in the fields of education and psychology. These include developing continuing education courses for physicians and hospital wellness programs; instructing undergraduate and graduate courses for universities; and counseling individuals, couples and families in mental health agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and private practice settings.
Dr. Ashley completed a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 2002. she is the author of the book Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype, (2014) Dr. Ashley is currently writing two other books scheduled for release in 2018: Reconciliation of the Heart: How Beliefs, Choices and Forgiveness Influence Authenticity and Life Purpose,and Letters to Freedom: A True Story of Grief and Love that Never Dies. Patti is also a featured journalist for numerous publications, and a frequent workshop presenter.
Financial: Patti Ashley maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Patti Ashley has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
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- Discriminate between guilt and core shame and elaborate on the adaptive, social and clinical implications.
- Evaluate the role of attachment in the formation of a shame-based identity.
- Investigate the neurophysiology of shame as seen through the lens of Porges’ polyvagal theory.
- Assess for verbal and non-verbal signs of shame in clients.
- Employ interview questions for assessing shame in clients’ relationships and current patterns.
- Investigate how clinicians can enhance attunement to create trust and openness with shame-prone clients.
- Evaluate how therapists can use co-regulation to create a sense of safety and equal power in the therapeutic relationship.
- Support how clinicians can increase vulnerability and self-awareness of their own shame to overcome barriers of relational presence.
- Investigate how shame acts as a cover for anger and explain how compassion exercises can be employed to help clients let go of anger.
- Evaluate the importance of managing shame in clients with substance use issues in efforts to prevent relapse.
- Employ somatic interventions to help cultivate secure attachment in trauma clients.
- Communicate how shame pushes clients into binge eating and clarify how self-acceptance interventions can be used to reduce emotional eating.
Shame, Attachment and Social-Emotional Development
- The difference between guilt, shame and core shame
- Shame and attachment
- Ruptured interpersonal bridges
- The evolution of social-emotional development
- Why self-compassion is so hard to access
The Neurophysiology of Shame:
Polyvagal Theory, Shame and the Shutdown Response
- Shame and the Vagus Nerve
- Neuroception, shame and felt safety
- Core shame and implicit memory
- Three common responses to shame
- How addressing shame expedites treatment
Recognizing Shame: Assessment Tools
- Why shame goes undetected by clinicians
- Multicultural perspectives
- Perfectionism, rage, blame and other defences against shame
- Reading the body - non-verbal signs of shame
- Interview questions for assessing shame in relationships and current patterns
- Self-assessment: identify your own shame
How to Create a Safe and Empathetic Therapeutic Environment
- Mirror neurons and relational presence
- Attunement as the key to therapeutic change
- Large Empathy and being vulnerable
- Avoid stigmatizing language in therapy
- Co-regulating safety and equal power in the therapeutic relationship
Re-Write the Story of Shame into “I Am Enough”:
Clinical Strategies to Cultivate Secure Attachment and Self-Compassion
- Somatic approaches to cultivate secure attachment
- Self-compassion and gratitude exercises
- The four therapeutic “R”s: Recognize, Respect, Regulate and Re-Story
- Four “C” shovels to calm nervous system and self-regulate shame response
- Exercises to strengthen connections
- Creative arts, music and poetry – increase neuroplasticity
- Playfulness, humour and being in nature can rewire the brain
- Mindfulness and meditations for non-judgmental awareness of shame
- Narratives and visualizations to re-write clients stories to safety and being enough
- Research, limitations and potential risks
Connect Shame-Informed Clinical Strategies to the Treatment of:
Anger and Rage
- Shame of fear: Shame as a cover for anger
- Self-acceptance techniques for internal damage control
- Compassion and forgiveness exercises to let go of anger
- Somatic interventions
- Strategies to survive without guilt
- Exercises to rediscover self-worth
Stress and Anxiety
- Mediate the paralysis of perfection with self-acceptance
- Social anxiety as shame & self-doubt
- Mindfulness-based, non-anxious self-consciousness
- How shame pushes clients into binge eating
- Choice Awareness Training for moderation & presence
- Self-acceptance strategies for emotional eating
Substance Abuse and Addiction
- Addressing the shame of relapse
- Self-assertive trigger avoidance
- Choice awareness techniques for habit modification
- Build craving/impulse control skill power
Depression, Self-Harm & Suicidality
- Recognize how internalized shame can deepen depression
- Developing healthy coping strategies for uncomfortable feelings
- Demystifying shame responses and returning them to their origin
- Licensed Professional Counselor
- Clinical Social Worker
- Certified Addictions Counselor
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- Psychiatric Nurses and NPs
- School Counselor
- School Psychologist
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