Group Discussion Guide: Counseling Against Shame

Lesson 6 — Practicing Embodiment

  1. As Curt stresses, shame is just a symptom of a deeper illness: loss of purpose. In this respect, therapists are charged with helping folks recover their sense of calling. And what is this calling? To live as God lives—beautifully, creatively, fearlessly.  

    • How does shame shut down our impulses toward creativity and risk?  

    • Take a moment to reflect on Curt’s question: “If shame were not possible for you, or for your patients, what would you create? What risks would you take? What ruptures would you move to repair?”  

  2. The moment we name our shame, we stop it in its tracks, disrupting the corrosive effect it’s having on our neural pathways.  

    • What exercises or techniques can you recommend to help patients them name their shame and stop it in its tracks before it can do more damage?  

  3. Shame pushes us to a kind of hastiness in treatment that needs to be resisted.  

    • Think of a time when you grew frustrated with a patient’s progress. Take a moment to really inspect that feeling. Where is it coming from? What is its source? How might it be shame working its devious tricks in you?  

    • What are some practical steps you can take to cultivate a posture of patience with your patients?