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Dr Tom Kent

Teaching Fellow
+44 (0)1483 682945
05 AC 01

Academic and research departments

School of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Courses I teach on

Postgraduate taught

My publications


This study aimed to explore the ways that shame is constructed by therapeutic practitioners. It utilised a novel method, called ?story completion? to analyse the stories completed by 45 therapists of various theoretical and professional backgrounds, using Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). The analysis highlighted some of the dominant ways that certain discourses about emotions and shame tend to be taken-for-granted within the therapeutic framework. In most stories shame was constructed around one?s private, ?authentic? self, which was 'hidden' behind shame related behaviours. It was argued that the discourse of shame as a problematic emotion is inextricably linked to the western values of autonomy and self-sufficiency, which are echoed in most forms of therapy. These concepts could be seen as detaching emotions from their context, and not paying sufficient attention to the wider socio-cultural framework. It was contended that clinicians need to be sceptical about taken-for-granted values of psychotherapy, including therapists? ?expertise?. They also need to be mindful of the ways that dominant psychological theories may conceal the power struggles in the therapy room and reflect on the ways they frame their clients? emotions.