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Depth Psychotherapy, Shadow Work & Dealing with Shame

April 2nd, 2012 · dealing with shame, depth psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, Shadow, shadow work, shame

dealing with shame

Dealing with shame is essential psychological work, and it is closely tied to shadow work, from a depth psychotherapy point of view.

Shame is a fundamental aspect and problem of human existence.  We need to find ways to cope with it.  But it’s a thing that we can often find hard to talk to anyone about, even though we may feel a great need.

No One Gets Through Life Without Shame

All of us experience shame acutely in our lives.  Most of us can feel right into times and places where it was acute.  Times when who and what we are was exposed to the core and felt to be lacking.  Depth psychotherapy knows such experiences mark us with wounds that we often feel that we can’t show to anyone.

Dealing with Shame When It’s Toxic

The times when we feel genuinely ashamed of ourselves can be truly toxic.  Depth psychotherapy reveals that we are often most ashamed when we are unable to know and accept who we are.  As Jungian analyst Mario Jacoby states:

At a certain intensity, shame has the power to make us feel

completely worthless, degraded from head to foot,

sometimes without our having done anything bad at all.

When it cuts across the partially conscious image we have within ourselves of how we want to be seen, valued and respected, it does particular violence.  How can we then find value in ourselves?

Dealing with Shame: Escape?

Given the experiences of shame we all carry in our lives, how can we recover our self esteem, and value what we most fundamentally are?  Only in fundamental self acceptance can we hope to move past our bondage.

Shadow Work: What Shadow Knows

A famous radio program in the 1940s and 50s had the tag line, ” Only the shadow knows…”  There’s some truth in that.  The shadow, in the sense of the unacknowledged and unconscious parts of the personality, knows many important things about shame.

Shadow work shows that there is no perfection in this life.  That we all struggle with our inability to match the idealized self image that we carry within.  Only when we begin to encounter that part of ourselves that knows and accepts all that we are, can we put off our pretensions, and with them, our shame, and realize the ways in which our broken-ness and weakness make us one with the rest of the human race.   As depth psychotherapy knows, this enables us to move into our own unique destiny.

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© 2012 Brian Collinson

 

 

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