Flourishing Beyond Shame

Agenda | Objectives | Options | Cost | Requirements | Resources

flourish-color200x200.Shame on you” is something many of us heard growing up, when we did something our parent, grandparent, family elder, pastor, or teacher felt was inappropriate. This early programming of shame as social control helps to spread the continuation of patriarchy and gender conformity. ‘Patriarchy’ is a social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children. As a moral emotion like guilt, compassion, regret, and sympathy, shame helps a person to be aware they might potentially be endangering their personal values and placing them in a vulnerable position of emotional pain. A person will feel shame when they are about to compromise their value system or to sustain personal integrity and develop self-respect.

Flourishing Beyond Shame is a workshop where we will examine and discuss the influences of shame upon gender, gender identity, and sexuality. Conservative religious and secular factions utilize shame as a tool of oppression, regardless of sexual orientation or gender presentation. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on their personal understandings of how stigma and shame can affect gender and sexuality and be a hindrance to living a flourishing life. This queer-focused workshop is intended for all types of people, regardless of sexuality, gender, or religious affiliation.

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Typical Agenda:

  • Welcome
    • Workshop Objectives
    • Workshop Boundaries
    • ‘Gender Role Boxes’ Ice Breaker
    • What is Shame?
    • Shame Surrounding:
      • Gender Identity
      • Sexual Identity
      • Owning Your Shame
      • Conclusion
      • Questions, Comments or Final Thoughts

Workshop Objectives:

  • Participants should gain an understanding of ‘genuine’ and ‘false’ shame.
  • Participants should gain an understanding of the influences of ‘false’ shame upon:
    • Gender and Gender Identity
    • Sexuality and Sexual Identity
  • Participants should be able to reflect on their personal understanding of how shame can be a hindrance to living a flourishing life.
  • Participants should begin to understand how unpacking their own false shame can lead them to a flourishing life.

Workshop Options:

  • One Day: 6-7 hours (Typically a Saturday)
  • Two Days: (Typically two consecutive Saturdays)
    • 1st Day: 3 to 4 hours
    • 2nd Day: 3 to 4 hours
  • 4-Part Series: (Typically four weeks in a row)
    • Each session ~2 hours long
  • 90-minute Condensed Version: Typically for conferences and/or part of larger retreats


  • $150-$300 (based on workshop option) + travel if outside SF Bay Area
  • Cost of participant workbook: $1.50 each

For more information and to schedule a workshop at your church, organization or agency, please contact Daniel Borysewicz at leaveshamebehind@gmail.com or (510) 859-4076

Download workshop brochure here – Updated Spring 2013!

Workshop Requirements:

  • Laptop projector and screen
  • White board or poster board easel
  • Refreshments and food – provided by hosting organization (Dependent upon type of workshop option selected)
  • A space that is free of outside foot traffic to ensure a confidential environment for participants
  • Table and chairs to accommodate all of the participants, set up on a semi-circle facing towards the projection screen

Workshop Resources: