Understanding humiliation, shame and apology important for caregivers

Expert explores self-conscious emotions in medical practice

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

September 27, 2011
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CME guest lecturer Aaron Lazare, MD, is the author of On Apology.

Humiliation, shame, embarrassment and guilt are painful emotions that can hinder the effectiveness of health care encounters for providers and patients alike. In an effort to increase health care professionals’ understanding of the healing power of apology over these self conscious emotions, and the importance of apology in medical practice, Aaron Lazare, MD, will present a Continuing Medical Education (CME) course called “Humiliation, Shame and Apology: Critical Dimensions of Interpersonal Relations” at UMass Medical School. 

Dr. Lazare, professor of psychiatry and chancellor and dean emeritus at UMMS, initiated an new sphere of scholarly investigation into self conscious emotions and apology in medical encounters. In 2004, he published On Apology, one of the first full-length books to examine the integral components of effective and sincere apologies. After the lecture, participants will be equipped to describe 10 of the most important healing mechanisms in apology; identify common mistakes that result in a failed apology; and describe the relationship of apology to humiliation.

Hosted by the Office of Continuing Medical Education, the program will be presented Thursday, Oct. 13, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Faculty Conference Room on the Worcester campus. A book signing and reception will follow the formal program. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians can register at a newly reduced cost of $50; registration for nurses, residents and all others is still only $25. CME credits are available. For complete information and to register, visit http://www.umassmed.edu/cme/events/onapology.aspx.

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