A scoping review of psychosocial interventions to reduce internalised shame

Susanne Norder, Shanara Visvalingam, Peter J. Norton, Melissa Norberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Internalised shame has been linked to psychopathology and consistently identified as a predictor of poor treatment outcomes and premature therapy termination. We conducted a scoping review of therapist-delivered psychosocial interventions to reduce internalised shame to learn how to improve outcomes for individuals experiencing shame. Method: Six bibliographical databases were searched for studies measuring internalised shame pre- and post-treatment. We screened 6846 abstracts; 42 full-text manuscripts were retrieved, with 16 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Of these, 10 studies examined between- and within-subject effects, and 6 studies exclusively examined within-subject effects. Results: Twelve of the sixteen included studies reported small to moderate within-group reductions in internalised shame. Between group analyses showed that shame interventions may be more effective than no treatment or treatment as usual, but not more effective than an active comparator. Conclusion: Successful treatments often involved psychoeducation, experiential exercises, and techniques to increase social support and emotional expression; however, study quality was weak to moderate and the importance of each of these techniques for reducing internalised shame was not determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2023


  • internalised shame
  • psychosocial interventions
  • treatment efficacy
  • scoping review


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