Group Discussion Guide: Counseling Against Shame

Lesson 3 — Domains of the Mind

  1. As Curt explains, we miss critical data about our mental state simply because we are not paying attention to what our bodies are telling us in the vertical domain.  

    • In your experience, how have you seen the relationship between spirit and body play out in the lives of your patients? What are some ways that you can learn more about a patient’s mental state by helping them to be attentive to their bodies?  

  2. One of the tasks of a therapist is to help patients connect their implicit and explicit memories so that they can tell truthful narratives about their identities and their worlds.  

    • In your experience as a clinician, how have you seen inattentiveness to memory or a malformed application of memory negatively impact your patients?  

    • What are some therapeutic techniques available to help patients pay attention to their memories in ways that promote mental flourishing?  

  3. Memory matters because it shapes the way we tell our own stories—and not just the content of the stories, but the way in which we tell them.  

    • What are some of the ways that we can narrate ourselves falsely? What are some of the most common ways in which patients struggle to tell their story in healthy ways? What therapeutic techniques are available to help with this?  

  4. Everything that happens in our minds happens in relationship to other minds, so everything that we experience is experienced between us and others. We are interpersonally connected all the time—even when we’d rather not be—so we had better pay attention to this domain of the mind.  

    • In your work as a mental health professional, how have you seen shame isolate people from those around them?  

    • What are some of the ways you can help your patients to be mindful of their interpersonal relationships?  

  5. As Curt explains here, the confines of temporality are simply part of what it means to live a human life, so this, too, requires our attention.  

    • How have you seen the “personal eschatology” of your patients play out, for good or ill, in your experience as a clinician?  

    • In your view, what does a healthy relationship with our finitude and temporality look like?