Group Discussion Guide: Counseling Against Shame

Lesson 4 — Shame's Disintegrating Scheme

  1. We are at our most creative and our most beautiful when we are living a fully integrated life, a life defined by curiosity and openness to the world and others. But shame has other ideas for human life: it jolts our curiosity to a halt, it pulls us apart from the inside, and it alienates us from our true selves and from each other.  

    • How have you seen shame do its destructive work of disintegration, either in your own life or in the lives of your patients?  

    • Curt notes that shame is, in a sense, pre-rational: we feel it even before we recognize it. What does shame feel like as a physical experience?  

  2. There is perhaps no more callous way to shame someone than simply to ignore them, and we’ve all felt the pain of feeling invisible.  

    • Rejection is painful in any form, but there is something especially cruel about neglect. Why is the shame of feeling neglected so damaging? 

  3. What are some of the ways that you, as a therapist, can practice seeing your patients more fully, and, in turn, helping them to see others around them?