Kirsten Robertson, Psy.D, is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

Dana Waters, Psy.D., APBB, Committee Chair

Mark Russell, Ph.D., ABPP, Committee Member

Kathryn Sherrod, Ph.D., Committee Member

Document Type


Publication Date



The relationship between shame and trauma has been documented in research beginning as early as the 19th century. Not until the second half of the 20th century did extensive research clearly define both trauma and shame, with the addition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an official diagnosis in the field of mental health. Many researchers and clinicians believe an additional diagnosis should be added to the list of trauma-related mental health diagnoses—one that includes repeated traumatic experiences during childhood. Despite the known relationship between shame and various traumatic experiences, direct shame interventions have yet to find a place in standard therapeutic trauma-specific protocols. By implementing a group therapy curriculum designed by Dr. Brené Brown, based on her Shame Resilience Theory (SRT), this study was designed to assess possible empirical support related to the need for, and benefits of, addressing shame directly in participants who suffer from internalized shame and who have experienced traumatic childhood trauma, which has led to complex PTSD.

Pre- and post-group measurements were quantitatively analyzed. The outcomes confirmed the initial hypotheses and resulted in significantly decreased internalized shame, a decline in traumarelated symptomology, with reason to pursue further clinical treatment for trauma-related issues. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Kirsten Robertson, Psy.D., 2019

ORCID Scholar ID # 0000-0002-7188-9527