Believing in Self-Compassion: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The golden rule prescribes that we treat others how we would like to be treated. Yet, it does not offer guidance on how we should treat ourselves. Oftentimes, a puzzling phenomenon emerges—people treat others with kindness and consideration yet treat themselves harshly. We may, for example, call ourselves names that we would never dare utter to a loved one.Read more
Spanish language materials for working with highly self-critical and shame prone clients
We recently did a workshop on working with highly shame prone and self critical clients in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was fantastic! The people who attended were so warm and welcoming. We've never had so many people come up to us after a workshop to say hi and take photos. It was so fun (and a bit overwhelming too for someone like me that has a tendency toward shame). As an aside, Buenos Aires probably has the best gelato in the world (sorry, Italy). If you ever have a chance, visit Buenos Aires. It's great and there's an awesome set of ACT therapists there as well that you can connect with if you want.
As a result of this workshop, a number of therapists and researchers from Argentina graciously took time to translate a bunch of the handouts and meditations from the workshop to the Spanish language. Big thanks to Fabian Maero, Manuel Pando, Clara Zito, Pilar Solanas, Gabriela Caselli, and Manuela O'Connell for taking the time to put all these materials together. If anyone else is interested in translating materials on this site, let me know and we'd be happy to have you do that.
Our goal is to get help to people who are stuck in the isolation and lack of belonging that is part of chronic shame. We'll do this best in community, as we come together to serve shared goals. These translated materials are a great example of that. I hope that some of you are able to use some of the materials for your clients who speak Spanish and pass on the well wishes and generosity.
You can download Spanish language handouts, exercises, meditations, and other materials for working with highly shame prone and self-critical clients here.
Compassion in the Medical Field and Beyond
“Is compassion important?” may seem like a no-brainer question, akin to “Do you like puppies?” But just how important is compassion in the medical profession?
Dr. Stephen Trzeciak, a physician in an intensive care unit and self-proclaimed ‘research nerd’ dove into the evidence base to investigate. After reading more than 1000 abstracts and 200 papers, he came to the conclusion that compassion isn’t just nice, it’s vital. It’s not just the cherry on top, it’s the whole sundae.Read more
Key Differences between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (RO DBT)
Newer forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies are on the rise. These therapies share certain elements (e.g. an active and collaborative therapeutic alliance, the use of traditional behavioral strategies and an understanding that cognition can maintain behaviors). Yet, each type of therapy is distinct in important ways, with unique underlying theories, assumptions, mechanisms of change and treatment approaches. An understanding of these distinctions can help therapists discern when and how these approaches may serve a client.Read more
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
Self-Compassion and Regret
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
New Research Shows How Shame Leads People to Drink Alone
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
Cross-Cultural Compassion Conceptualizations
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
Can Virtual Reality Help People Develop Self-Compassion?
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
Sometimes the hard thing isn’t the right thing: How taking it easy can help you learn
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