Newsletter 3 – Sept 2018

Dear Colleague

I hope this season of Spring, with all its undulating weather patterns, ushers in a breath of new hope into you and the precious ones you journey with. Here is what I have been up to and what I am offering in the near future.

Neuroscience of Attachment seminar

In August I had the joy of visiting Dunedin, the furthest south I have ever travelled in the southern hemisphere. I have the privilege of delivering the Neuroscience of Attachment seminar to a group of eager and earnest mental health practitioners, whose care for their clients exuded every pore of their beings.

I will be presenting this workshop in the lovely garden city of Christchurch (Sept. 15th) as well as in the North Island:  Auckland (Oct 19th) and Whangarei (Nov. 3rd). Places are booking up fast so make sure to book early.  Check out this page to not miss out: and click on your city for the booking form and details.

Shame and shadow: Working with Shame at Relational Depth

I am going to be presenting at talk on working with shame at the upcoming PCT conference – here are the details:

Person-Centred & Experiential Therapies Conference

Transformation through relationship: The essence of therapy

An exciting conference opportunity for professionals and students working in the psychological therapies field. Friday 21 – Saturday 22 September, 2018
Addington Raceway & Events Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand


Here is the abstract of what I will be covering:

“I learned shame in a relationship, now I do it all by myself” said one client to me recently. Shame is, in essence, intrapsychic self-attack. It originates in an interpersonal experience of unbearable pain (early attachment wounds) and has the power to split the psyche, leading to a disintegrated sense of self. In this presentation I am going to explore what Carl Jung, the 19th century Swiss psychoanalyst whose work bridges the gap between psychology and spirituality, understood as our shadow: “where we hide all the bits of ourselves we think are shameful”. Shadow-boxing uses up huge amounts of emotional energy, according to Karen Armstrong. We see this in the lives of our clients, who either experience ‘developmental stuckness’ (Neufeld, 2014) due to early attachment wounds or are circling in self-destructive patterns due to addictions or attempts at self-soothing. Shame will also be examined from an inter-personal neurobiology perspective; the work of Daniel Siegel on shame and integration of the self. Becoming a resilient therapist when working in the realm of shame, involves being comfortable with our own shadow. Unless we have embraced our own shadow, we will not be able to take your clients to the place their shadow scares them. This seminar will give an overview of the dynamics of shame, outlining how to detect shame’s shadow, in our client’s and our own stories, then will move to an exploration of our own shadow-work, in order to expand our capacity to be with our clients in the face of shame. 

In 2019 – Shame and Shadow workshops

The presentation at the PCT conference is just a taster of what I hope to develop in 2019. Did you know that, according to John Briere, psychotherapists/counsellors have the highest levels of trauma in their own history than any other helping professional group? Diane Elliot’s research found that women mental health professionals had the highest incidents of trauma in their background, but relative to other professionals, they exhibited more resilience. In order to continue this resilience-building,  I am planning, along with a colleague, a series of workshops to help therapists explore and build capacity to work with their own and their client’s shame when it shows up in the therapeutic encounter. These workshops with be psycho-educational as well as experiential. The gentler we are at embracing our own shame, the more powerfully present we can be as a healing witness in our client’s stories.


If you are interested in doing supervision with me, I still have a few spaces available. Please go to my website to check out my services. I can do face-to-face or skype and am registered with NZCCA as a supervisor:

Here are my facebook pages if you want to follow them:

Dr. Ruth McConnell – aimed at clinicians on themes of healing/mental wellbeing

Trinity Initiatives – aimed at integrating Trinitarian Theology with healing and well-being

Warmest regards


Dr Ruth A Lawson-McConnell 

MA (Psychology) PhD (Counselling Psychology)

Counsellor, Supervisor, Trainer, MNZAC, NZCCA (Affiliate)

Clinical Neuropsychotherapy Practitioner (IACN trainee) 

Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialist (APSATS trainee) 

Office: 32 Pohutukawa Ave, 

Red Beach, Auckland 0932

New Zealand

phone: +(64)-22-640-2941