Systemic Mirroring: A Model for Shame Regulation



This chapter presents a model for understanding and regulating shame in relationships. According to this approach, when one experiences a strong shame reaction, three related problems arise in the system: the individual’s problem is loss of voice – we lose the ability to express what is most alive for us. It is a reduction in one’s experience and reflects a disruption in the ability of the self to collaborate with – and to integrate – its constituent parts. The relational problem is loss of connection – we shift from a collaborative mode to an adversarial or disconnected mode. We lose the ability and the will to communicate with others. The third problem relates to the observer’s/group’s loss of empathy – in witnessing the shamed person’s behaviors and relationships, others (i.e., any observing third person) become reproachful, disapproving, or alienating. In the therapeutic setting, this triple effect plays out in three ways: the client losing his ability to adequately express his experience, the client losing his rapport with those family members present or with the therapist, and the therapist losing her own empathy toward the client. The therapeutic task is to recover from these three losses. To do so, the therapist, through the use of the systemic mirroring intervention, assists the individual in finding his or her voice, helps re-establish connections to significant others, and regains her own lost empathy for the client.


Shame Regulation Systemic mirroring Intervention Therapy 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Systemic Mirroring Family Therapy InstituteModi’inIsrael

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