Praxis für Psychosomatische Medizin u. Psychotherapie, Coaching, Mediation u. Prävention
Dr. Dr. med. Herbert Mück (51061 Köln)

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How to dimish shame

Shame in connection with a low self-esteem cannot be corrected by the intellect.

Explanations (as given in this text) are not sufficient for the most part. At least, information of interrelations often reduce the feeling of being completely helpless.

Besides, information finally gives you the experience of being accepted and understood just “the way you are” for the very first time.

In every way cure needs healing experiences as there are especially:

  • Self-esteem of oneself together with one’s own experience through the therapist (to have a lot of standing), it’s also a question of learning to join a high self-esteem of one’s own (just the way you are).

  • The experience to share emotions (sorrow, pleasure, anger, etc.) , it helps to regain faith in one’s own perceptive faculty.

  • The frequent experience of being able to behave without anger (especially without expecting devaluation), e.g. going to swim, have a sauna, to attend a rhetoric course at the adult education class.

  • To learn techniques how to obtain feedback (instead of asking oneself “what are the others thinking about me?”)

  • The experience to get over frustration, disappointment without thinking the world might collapse and immediately starting to have suicidal thoughts (you can’t always be the winner!)

This is the moment where behavioural therapy might be useful and helpful (such as mentioned in the anti-shame training) or role plays in order to serve the self-confidence.

At the same time it is useful when therapists make an exception showing themselves more as usual especially by uncovering weakness (in an exemplary way). The practising of
relation’ s competence ( e.g. role-playing) relieves  to neutralise existing isolation and helps to change behaviour that causes shame (not being able to say no, to demand and to please everybody). In this way the person affected will be able to learn not to arouse a sense of shame to the others ( through exposure or humiliation = countershame). Cognitive Therapy can partially qualify the religious assumption given to somebody that one have to feel ashamed for thoughts of one’s own ( even when dreaming). Such an assumption ensures permanent feeling of being powerless as thoughts are difficult to control and dreams not at all. At this point it is helpful to recognise that thoughts are free and that we are being tested on our actions. Cognitive Therapy can also help to stop illness causing thoughts (what are the others thinking about me?). Besides it helps to see that one causes its own hell on earth having unfavourable thoughts and valuations (“I’m too fat”). Not least one can learn to perceive the world in a realistic way by bearing in mind that top models pay a high price for having a dream figure by self-violation and illness causing behaviour. - Bücher versandkostenfrei

Different types of client-centred therapy with sensitive therapists gives you the chance to present yourself in a stressless way, just the way you are, it might be the first time you will be able to talk over difficult and shameful situations concerning the story of your life.

Besides, it applies to change the ingrained feeling of being helpless. Experiences and incidents give you the feeling of being effective. A “normalisation” of great ideals out of someone’s reach prevents you from comparisons which arouse feelings of shame. Often you have to bear in mind the relation in terms of social values ( as ideal of beauty, delusion of youthfulness, sexual potency, the attitude that says: “You are what you accomplish”, certain ideas about “honour”).

Finally, it is also important to regain confidence in your body. Not only in this respect therapeutic exercises might be of tremendous help: sports helps you to feel your body in a more intensive way, and to interpret symptoms as “natural feedback” and the increasing feeling of being effective (fitness, strength, agility).

Finally, the fact that you enjoy the training as well as relaxation exercises and artistic therapies make important contributions in order to promote the perceptive faculty combined with pleasant feelings.

Group therapy helps especially to overcome senses of shame and to gain social competence. In this connection you can also practise how to give feedback to one another in a helpful way and free of devaluation. At the same time frequent external-observation takes the place of most excessive self-observation and one may learn to adjust personal feelings with the others. Intellectual curiosity and the interest to conquer the world may arise instead of one-sided “self-exploration”. A point of view based on a family therapy ( family tree studies , “family setting up”) relieves in terms of family-founded shame: 1. It relieves from the idea being responsible for a (alleged) peculiarity . 2. It reunites the person affected by shame with the family and in that way the person overcomes the feeling of being left out of things; those, who caused shame or passed it on to another person, develop sympathy as they recognise that they are just only a cog in the works in a long history.

Invitations to sense of humour, games and creative elements may revive delight and interest which were guarded by shame.