Chema Jiménez Orvañanos

Shame and the Queer Clinician: A Jungian Approach

Within a binary, patriarchal, capitalist, white supremacist system, shame is a powerful mechanism of social regulation that encourages queer people to conform to prevailing gender norms in their social milieus. As queer clinicians, who likely have experienced shame throughout our lifespan, it may be that said emotion has effects on our presence in the analytic field. How is it for LGBTQIA2+ clinicians to develop a sense of our queer identities and to operate from that unique analytical perspective? In most contexts, queerness is regarded as other, perhaps even as abject, unhealthy, or potentially dangerous for the dominant system. How, then, does shame stymie or make way for a queer presence in the therapeutic field? What potentials are lost when shame prevents queer clinicians from being visible and present in the temenos? Queerness, after all, is well suited to roil the mud at the bottom of the analytic pond, which is arguably the objective of any Jungian process worth its salt.

This paper strives to explore how visible queer clinicians feel comfortable – or safe – to be in the therapeutic temenos, how it is for non-queer patients to be guided into their unconscious by queer ferrypeople, as well as what implications there are for the therapeutic process in general when the analyst is queer. The paper also seeks to study how it is for queer therapists to take on clients who are LGBTQIA2+, and how that experience may be taken as a referent for more creative, less rigid approaches to individuation. It may be that, because of our particular relation to shame, queer clinicians have the possibility of helping any client individuate from collective norms. Therefore, it is likely that important opportunities are lost when shame is not worked through, and the queer clinician conforms to social expectations of normalcy.


José María Jiménez Orvañanos (Chema) is a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist based in Mexico City. They studied Psychology at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and obtained their master’s in counseling from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Their areas of interest include education, the deconstruction of masculinity, queer theory, and social justice.


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