Hiding shame - a case study of developing agency

Sami Kivikkokangas, Mikael Leiman, Aarno Laitila, William B. Stiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The hiding aspect of shame makes the study of shame difficult. In this article we aim to show through Hanna’s case study how shame manifests and develops during the course of one psychotherapy process. This will be done using Assimilation analysis (APES) and Dialogical Sequence Analysis (DSA) to show in detail one idiosyncratic developmental path through which the relationship toward the problematic shame experience changes and develops in psychotherapy. Results show how the manifestation of shame toward the problematic experience of being seen was present in the first moments of the first meeting, but also how during the sequence of sessions 7 – 9 Hanna’s relationship toward shame evoked referent unveils and developed gradually through therapeutic work from assimilation stage 2 to reaching stage 5-6 at the end of the 9th hour. This study shows how Hanna was able to reach a new kind of active agency toward the shame that, in the beginning, held the agency in her ’community of voices’, and how this understanding of shame’s developing and hiding nature can be of use in a clinically meaningful way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevue roumaine de psychanalyse
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)85-116
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology

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