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2. Nine Basic Affects: Drive Auxiliaries and Shame


  • Be able to describe the drive auxiliaries and understand Tomkins’s scientific concept of shame.
  • Be able to describe and classify the most common reactions to shame.
  • Be able to recognize the role of shame in therapeutic or interpersonal impasses.


Nathanson S&P, “Dissmell and Disgust,” Chapter 9, pp. 121-133.

TT, Donald L. Nathanson, “Hunger/Disgust/Shame-Questions,” December 2, 1997.

Bulletin, v2, #2, 1995, David O. Wilson, “Dissmell and Shame,” pp. 21-23.

Nathanson S&P, “Shame-Humiliation,” Chapter 10, pp. 134-139.

Nathanson S&P, “The Compass of Shame,” Chapter 22, pp. 305-314.

SAT, Donald L. Nathanson, “Adaptive Value of an Affect,” January 24, 1998.

TT, James Duffy, “Backed up Humiliation,” July 8, 1998.

Bulletin, v4, #1-2-3, 1997, Melvyn A. Hill, “Negative Therapeutic Reaction,” pp. 14-15.

Bulletin, v1, #3-4, 1994, Vernon Kelly, “Intimate Notes,” pp. 24-26.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Describe drive auxiliaries and how they can generalize to situations in which drives are not activated.
  2. Why did Tomkins define shame as an affect auxiliary?
  3. What are the relationships, if any, among disgust, dissmell, and shame?
  4. How is guilt related to shame?
  5. The compass of shame classifies four ways of reacting to shame. What are they?
  6. Give examples of each type of reaction.
  7. How does shame amplify the interruption of positive affect?
  8. What is the social value of shame?
  9. What is backed up affect?
  10. Why does the therapeutic situation give rise to a fear of being shamed?
  11. Give examples of how shame interferes with interpersonal relationships or causes a therapeutic impasse.

Share your reflection here:

Session 2: Drive Auxiliaries, Affect Auxiliary