Why does shame ‘stick like glue’ for decades after the trauma?
Shame can be harder to shake than fear because we attach meaning to shame. Our bodies use shame as a survival response, and it also evokes other powerful feelings and responses such as:
- Accompanying meaning-making that exacerbates the body responses and creates a ‘vicious circle’ of shame.
- Feeling personal: it’s about “me.”
- Being reinforced by other trauma-related schemas, such as “It’s not safe to succeed…to be self-assertive…to have needs…to be happy.”
In Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma, Janina Fisher, Ph.D. explains how persistent shame responses reflect procedural learning, allowing the trauma survivor to respond instinctively, automatically, and non-consciously.
How can you help your patients break these automatic shame responses?
One way to do this is by combating shame through the body. Watch as Janina Fisher, Ph.D., shows you how to stop reinforcing shame with body posture.
What do you think of Fisher’s technique for combating shame through the body?
Tell us in the comments below.
Like what you see? Watch the full version of Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma.