Shame

Shame is a tricky human experience.

It’s something we all experience at times — when we feel we’ve done something wrong, when we feel different than others, when we are cut off from others, or when we feel we are somehow bad and wrong in ourselves. We may think “something is wrong with me”.

Sometimes shame passes. But for some people, this experience can stick around and become part of their emotional landscape. Shame is an understandable but very uncomfortable feature of many, many psychological difficulties – when we struggle with our lives, we often think something is wrong with us at the core. And struggling with our lives carries a stigma. People who are leaning towards a depression often feel ashamed of themselves, for example. Shame can be hard to spot: it tends to hide while it distorts our thinking – and not everyone identifies with the word “shame”. Shame is so uncomfortable, it drops out of sight, so we don’t always know what is going on for us. Shame can drive some of our more mysterious behaviours (like testing our relationships, or lying to people we love). Shame also tends to perpetuate itself by setting us up to blame ourselves – we feel shame, then we feel shame that we are feeling shame, and so on — it can be hard to escape this loop.

I am a fan of Brene Brown (you can see her TedTalk on youtube). Brown suggests that people reclaim their full sense of self through finding courage, compassion, and connection in their lives, as a way to counteract difficult shame. I can help you do this. Whatever your experience, whether your shame is something private you experience about yourself, or something others have decided about you, I can hear your story. And I can help you find ways back into positive connection with yourself and others.

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