June 2015 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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What an old dog teaches us

For many of us, there is something uniquely vulnerable in our love for our companion animals. These relationships can teach us about love, pain, values, and compassion in ways that are difficult to get from our relationships with other humans sometimes.

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Identifying key relationships or events that have contributed to the person’s current sense of shame, undeservingness, and self-criticism

We have written up some of our thinking to accompany last week’s Tool of the Month - Exploring the Past - Shame and Self-Criticism.

One of the first steps in case conceptualization with shame-prone and self-critical clients is to assess their relational history with shaming/criticizing and compassionate/caring others. As mentioned in our previous blog post, understanding clients’ relational history can help remove blame and may also help to begin defusion from self-critical “programming.”

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June 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month – Part 1: Exploring the Past – Shame and Self-Criticism

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. We don’t go into great depth about what we find, but encourage you to check them out if you think they’re interesting.

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May 2015 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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Review of empirical findings on shame, self-compassion, and acceptance and commitment therapy

We have a new paper out in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology about shame, self-criticism, stigma, and compassion in ACT.

Five studies show ACT helps with shame and self-stigma
In this paper, we reviewed the existing research demonstrating that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help with shame and what is called self-stigma, or buying into negative public attitudes related to a certain characteristic (e.g., “I’m a dirty smoker.”) At the time we wrote this paper, there were five studies showing that ACT helps to ease shame and self-stigma. These studies focused on people struggling with substance abuse, obesity, sexuality-related distress and stigma, and stigma related to HIV.

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May 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month - Shame psychoeducation handout

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. We don’t go into great depth about what we find, but encourage you to check them out if you think they’re interesting.

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April 2015 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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Noticing Compassion Daily Reflection

Research shows that behaviors that we track are likely to change as a result of self monitoring. This strategy can be used to develop more awareness of self-critical tendencies and foster daily experiences of self-compassion. We adapted Kristin Neff's self-compassion scale to a daily format that asks people to reflect on their level of self-compassion once per day. This measure can also be used to assess change over time, if the therapist wants to use it in that manner.

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April 2015 Compassion Tool of the Month: Compassionate Color Exercise

Each month we highlight some practical resources for therapists interested in compassion. We don’t go into great depth about what we find, but encourage you to check them out if you think they’re interesting.

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