Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Hale Martin

Second Advisor

Ambra Born

Third Advisor

Daniel Hettleman


Shame, Shame-of-existing, Parental misattunement, Intersubjectivity


Shame is at the root of many commonly encountered psychopathologies. Its development has often been attributed to early childhood emotional misattunement. In severe cases, individuals can develop an extreme form of shame called the “shame-of-existing”. This paper primarily intends to contribute to the limited research about the shame-of-existing, which includes psychoanalytic perspectives from 1950-1990s, and theoretical analysis in 2014. The concept of shame of existence will be explored through an in-depth case study analysis of a 31-year-old, heterosexual, cisgender, white male who presented to psychotherapy with low-self-worth, and shame in acknowledging his own emotions and needs. This client was treated using an intersubjective systems framework, given its focus on misattunement in the parent-child relationship and the reparative power of validating attunements within the therapeutic relationship. Further, this paper will explore how to address and treat shame-of-existing utilizing an intersubjective approach.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Tal Ginsburg


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


27 pgs

File Size

242 KB