Shame and substance use are not related: Surprising results from the first ever meta-analysis of this relationship
Many researchers and theorists discuss shame as an inherently negative emotion that is always problematic. In this view, shame involves negatively evaluating one’s self and is often contrasted with guilt, which involves negatively evaluating one’s behavior. According to this view, shame motivates people to avoid situations and withdraw from others so that they can protect the “fragile, bad” self.Read more
Regret is a common and painful experience. This is especially true for our therapy clients. Regret is also a common part of shame. Many clients ruminate endlessly about regrets – things they wish they did but didn’t or things they didn’t do that they wish they had. People who have experienced trauma often express regrets about how they acted during the traumatic event or afterwards.Read more
It’s commonly believed that shame, which involves viewing one’s self as flawed or inferior, leads people to drink as a means of escaping the painful emotion. However, there are few studies that have looked at whether shame directly precedes drinking. In fact, some researchers think that shame may actually inhibit drinking for some people.Read more
Newer forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies are on the rise. While these therapies share certain elements (an active and collaborative therapeutic alliance, behavioral strategies, and an understanding that cognition can maintain behaviors), each is distinct. An understanding of these distinctions can help therapists discern when and how these approaches may serve a client. Below, we provide a summary table for a paper reviewing key differences between four third-wave therapies: Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (RO DBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion-focused Therapy. We hope this chart can be a useful “quick reference” tool for your practice.Read more
In countries, such as the USA, the “Golden Rule” (“treat others how you want to be treated”) is a common maxim. Yet, this rule is seldom accompanied by advice on how people should treat themselves. This may reflect how compassion is typically conceptualized in America—be kind to others, but not necessarily to oneself.Read more
Virtual reality could be a valuable therapeutic tool and already has preliminary evidence for helping people who struggle with social anxiety, eating disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. In virtual reality, sensors detect a person’s movements; when a person moves their real body, they move an embodied virtual body. From this first-person perspective, people have an immersive experience of inhabiting different bodies and navigating different situations.Read more
Without realizing it, for most of my life I followed the maxim “If it’s the hard thing, it’s the right thing.” I often pushed myself too far. Exercise would result in injury when I didn’t pay attention to my body’s needs for rest and recovery. I’d get burned out at work when I forced myself to do the hard things and ignored what I enjoyed or found meaningful. I’d lose out on fun and connection because I was so focused on working hard and getting things done.
Many people who are highly self-critical will understand this experience. It makes sense in a way. If you’re constantly being critical of yourself for not being/doing good enough in some way, it might seem like the way to appease that self-critic is to just try harder, toughen up, excel or just GET.IT. DONE! That’s the strategy I tried for too many years.Read more
Extending compassion to others is undoubtedly important. Especially since America is, arguably, more divided now than ever.
But being able to receive compassion is important, too. In fact, research suggests that it may be a crucial factor in promoting wellbeing.
If we’re unkind to others, we’ll likely receive some immediate feedback – perhaps a disappointed look, scolding, or ostracization. But what is the consequence of avoiding the kindness of others?Read more
For those of us, like myself, with a history of harsh self-criticism, it may seem like the last thing in the world we need to do is cultivate self-doubt! We often feel like we’re doubting ourselves constantly, for example, when we second guess or criticize ourselves.
Paradoxically, this tendency toward self-criticism can actually result in us being closed minded with others, because it makes receiving feedback from them even more painful than it might otherwise be. In order to protect ourselves from the pain of receiving feedback, we develop ways to avoid or block it. For me personally, I have noticed several ways I avoid or block feedback. I may not ask for feedback when it might be a helpful, for example, at the end of a therapy session that I felt unsure about, or at the end of a staff meeting. Or, I may present my opinions as facts, making it hard for others to disagree. I may come across as certain and confident when feeling anything but. I may shut down or pout after receiving feedback, making it less likely the person will want to do it again. I may come across as fragile and uncertain in the face of feedback, implying that it’s too much for me. All of these behaviors serve to (usually unintentionally) block feedback from the people in my life.Read more
Does too much self-compassion make a person lazy and self-indulgent? It seems sensible that self-compassion could help a person feel better, but couldn’t it also lead a person to, say, binge on Netflix and eat ice cream all day?Read more