Abstract: Shame, Compassion and the Journey Towards Health

“Shame, Compassion, and the Journey Towards Health,” by Jane Shure, PhD, LCSW and  Beth Weinstock, PhD in Effective Clinical Practice with Eating Disorders: The Heart of the Matter

From the Introduction: Shame is a mighty force. It can make one feel inherently flawed or defective, invalid as a human and essentially unlovable. At its most extreme, it is experienced as an internal and ultimate truth about one’s core being. Shame takes one prisoner, inhibiting spontaneity and draining life’s energy, creating emotional paralysis and an impulse to disappear … There is no question but that shame has become an important point of interest in contemporary psychology. Although theorists differ in how to conceptualize and understand it, they agree that shame is a powerful, often unconscious force, with significant clinical and personal implications …

Compassion is the antidote to shame. It is the willingness to be open-hearted and accepting of our own pain and the suffering of others, with an intention to promote healing. It holds deep awareness that all living beings are ultimately connected and interdependent, bridging the suffering of one being to another.