Shame : Theory And Treatment Of Shame

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Shame, a word that can send shivers down anyone’s spine. Shame is a painful feeling of different emotions like guilt, sadness, and embarrassment that are focused on how one feels about self. These feelings are a nasty result when an individual feels that they have participated in something wrong. When an individual experiences feelings of shame, their focus has the potential to become redirected and surrounded around that shame (Kaufman, 1996).
The process of analyzing the various parts of shame with an individual is the diagnostic tool referred to as the Shame Profile created by Gerald Kaufman. In his book, The Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes, Kaufman covers his concepts of the shame spiral. Within the personal stories section of the Big Book of AA, “The Housewife Who Drank at Home” is a story of a woman who experiences her own shame spiral. If this individual was a client in treatment there is a treatment strategy known as ACT that can be employed to assist her with her shame from substance abuse.
The shame spiral is the phenomenology that illustrates the union and interconnection of shame scenes within an individual’s mind. A shame scene is a sequence of a time that the individual was full of shame ("Lecture 3," 2015). As described by Kaufman (1996), when an individual recalls a shame scene in their life all of their thoughts and feelings become revolved around those feelings of shame and that shame becomes paralyzing. If this
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