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Understanding Shame

tired...Understanding emotions, being able to observe them in ourselves, and knowing the information they give us is an important part of living effectively. For example, fear tells us to take action or freeze to protect ourselves.

One thought on “Understanding Shame

  • January 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I would like to add that some parental environments can create great uncertainty about shame and/or guilt not only through an incorrect or invalidating message, but also if those parents themselves have no vocabulary for shame. Thus, they may not have competence in understanding, facing, or helping a childhood to navigate shame. Without exposure to that emotion, it takes on a mysterious sense by the child and can lead to confusion and misattribution: “What is it that I’m feeling? Why do I feel this way?”

    Such confusion can also result in a client associated shame with something else, such as guilt and guilt and shame can reside (in that client’s thought-world) in an undifferentiate lexical space, contributing to confusion.

    In group Tx sessions, it can be clear that a good number of people have an underdeveloped notion of shame. What I’ve mentioned above may help account for that and take just a bit of the mystery of it away.


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