Individual Counseling with Understanding Shame and the Six Acts of Shame: A Path to Healing and Self-Compassion

Individual-Counseling-110247128 Take Charge May 1

Shame, with its powerful grip on the human psyche, has the potential to impact our sense of self-worth and interpersonal relationships profoundly. Individual counseling helps handle and cope with shame in healthy ways. Shame is a complex emotion characterized by feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, or disgrace about oneself or one’s actions. This emotion must be dealt with delicately; you can discover how to heal with individual counseling. Terri Dichiser of Take Charge Inc. is here to help you.

Before you can understand the Six Acts of Shame, it’s essential to understand what shame is and how it operates in our lives. Utilize individual counseling through your healing process to help with surface emotions and thoughts. Shame is a deeply rooted emotion characterized by a profound sense of inadequacy, unworthiness, and self-condemnation. Unlike guilt, which arises from a specific behavior or action, shame cuts to the core of our identity, leading us to believe that we are inherently flawed or defective. Shame often emerges in response to perceived failures, mistakes, or vulnerabilities, triggering a cascade of negative thoughts and emotions that can undermine our self-esteem and well-being. Through individual counseling, Terri works with clients to understand Shame and how it affects our lives.

The Six Acts of Shame is a concept introduced by psychologist Gershen Kaufman in his book “Shame: The Power of Caring.”  This book explores the dynamics of shame and its impact on individuals’ lives. Kaufman’s work has been influential in the field of psychology, particularly in understanding the role of shame in human behavior and relationships. The Six Acts of Shame encompass common responses to shame that individuals may exhibit, including:

  1. Withdrawal: This involves isolating oneself from others, avoiding social interaction, and retreating into oneself to cope with shame.
  2. Attack Self: In this act, individuals turn their shame inward, engaging in self-criticism, self-blame, and self-loathing. They may view themselves as fundamentally flawed or unworthy.
  3. Avoidance: This act involves avoiding situations, people, or activities that trigger feelings of shame. By avoiding potential sources of shame, individuals attempt to protect themselves from further embarrassment or humiliation.
  4. Attack Others: Instead of directing their shame inward, individuals may externalize their feelings by blaming, criticizing, or attacking others. This act deflects attention away from one’s shortcomings and onto others.
  5. Withdrawal by Attack: This involves withdrawing from social interaction while simultaneously attacking or blaming others. It’s a defensive mechanism to protect oneself from further shame while asserting control or power over others.
  6. Pseudo-Independence: This act involves putting up a facade of self-sufficiency and independence to mask feelings of shame and vulnerability. Individuals may present themselves as strong, confident, and unaffected by shame, even if they struggle internally.

Understanding the Six Acts of Shame is the first step towards cultivating self-compassion and resilience in the face of shame. Recognizing how shame manifests, we can develop awareness and insight into our behavior and thought patterns. Through practices such as mindfulness, self-kindness, and embracing vulnerability, we can break free from the grips of shame and embrace our inherent worthiness and humanity. All these skills can be practiced within individual counseling with a skilled and professional licensed therapist to guide you.

Shame is a universal human experience that can profoundly impact our well-being and relationships. By understanding the Six Acts of Shame and cultivating self-compassion, vulnerability, and authenticity, we can heal from the wounds of shame and embrace a life filled with compassion, connection, and self-acceptance. Individual counseling can be an excellent tool for someone struggling with feelings of shame. For more information about individual counseling in Overland Park, KS, contact Terri Dichiser of Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255.

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