Healing Shame is Essential

There is a quote by a man who has been my mentor in understanding and healing shame. His name is: Gershen Kaufman. In his book: “ Shame- The Power of Caring” he makes a powerful statement. He says, “Shame is the affect which is the source of many complex and disturbing inner states: depression, alienation, self-doubt, isolating loneliness, paranoid and schizoid phenomena, compulsive disorders, splitting of the self, perfectionism, a deep sense of inferiority, inadequacy or failure, the so-called borderline conditions and disorders of narcissism.

I have seen this over and over in my 30 years as a therapist. And yet, how often is shame directly addressed in the therapy room?

June Tagney- co-author of, “Shame in the Therapy Hour” in an interview is quoted as saying, “although people rarely mention shame during the therapy hour, it’s ubiquitous in the therapy room.?

And yet, how often is shame directly addressed in therapy room?

I believe it is profoundly important and essential in anyone’s healing process, whether in formal therapy or not, to learn the language of shame and bring their shame into healing. If we do not, we will always feel a sense of lack. We will always be triggered and not know what happened, nor know how to stop the shame from overwhelming us.


Shame is a critical component of healing. We may as well work with it now.

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