August 2016 Shame and Self-Compassion Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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The absence of criticism is not the same as the presence of warmth: shame, responsivity, and adult attachment

“I don’t understand why I’m like this. I wasn’t abused or bullied. My parents weren’t ever critical of me. What’s wrong with me that I hate myself so much?” Statements like this are fairly common when someone who is highly self-critical and shame-prone clients is asked to reflect on the origin of their problems.

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August 2016 Tool of the Month: Learning about Shame Worksheet

Sometimes it can be hard for us to tell when shame is present. It often operates in the background, driving particular action tendencies, thoughts, bodily sensations, social signaling, and memories. When someone is experiencing shame from the inside, it can be sort of like being trapped inside of a dark room without a flashlight. This is especially true in the case of overwhelming shame that may be accompanied by dissociation and disorientation. The client may believe there is something wrong with them or that they have done something terribly wrong while they are stuck in shame. In these times it can often be helpful to foster a sense of curiosity about what the experience of shame is like while it is happening.

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July 2016 Shame and Self-Compassion Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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Lovingkindness Meditation with Highly Shame-Prone and Self-Critical People: A Social Safety System Workout

As mentioned in our previous post about guided meditations for highly shame-prone and self-critical clients, high self-critics tend to have under activated social safety systems. Under activated social safety systems are associated with loneliness, chronic alternation between striving toward achievement and fearing failure (e.g., perfectionism), depression, pervasive anxiety, and other issues that tend to bring people into therapy. Lovingkindness meditation (LKM) can basically be thought of as a workout for the social safety system.

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July 2016 Tool of the Month: Self-Esteem versus Self-Compassion Handout

If you read our recent post about the top 20 science-based recommendations for working with highly self-critical and shame-prone clients, you already know that the pursuit of high self-esteem should be dead. The scientific community has definitively shown that attempts to raise self-esteem don’t generally work, and may even have some negative side-effects (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, & Vohs, 2003). In contrast, self-compassion has all of the positive benefits of having higher self-esteem, without the downsides.

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June 2016 Shame and Self-Compassion Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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20 science-based recommendations for therapy with highly self-critical or shame-prone clients

It’s our anniversary!!! It was two years ago this month that “Team Compassion” started the ACTwithCompassion website. Over the course of those two years the number of people following our work has grown tremendously and we feel very honored and humbled that so many of you seem to have found what we are doing here helpful in some way. Thank you!

top_20_250.jpgFor the last years, Team Compassion founding member Dr. Melissa Platt has been scouring journals and the empirical literature to bring you monthly research updates. In this post, we have pulled together the 20 research findings we feel are most directly applicable to working with highly self-critical and shame prone (HSC/SP) clients. And so on our anniversary, we present to you, our top 20 science-based recommendations for working with highly self-critical and shame-prone clients!!!

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June 2016 Tool of the Month

This month’s tool: Guided meditations for highly self-critical and shame-prone clients

We have updated our resource page with some of our favorite meditations that we find useful in working with shame-prone and self-critical clients. Often, people who are highly self-critical and shame-prone tend to spend a lot of time with emotion systems related to threat activated, or alternatively spend time feeling overwhelmed in response to their internal judgment. Their threat system may be chronically over activated, while their social safety system under activated. The social safety system signals to the person that it is safe to relax and explore, because the person is supported by their tribe or otherwise safe and experiencing a relative lack of aversive stimulation. Lovingkindness and compassion meditations can be very valuable for stimulating the social-safety systems of people who are highly shame-prone and self-critical.

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May 2016 Shame and Self-Compassion Research Update

Every month, we scour the scientific literature for interesting studies that have practical implications for therapists working with shame, self-criticism, or compassion. Below are a few of our favorites for this month:

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