Shame Fear Counselling
Shame Fear Counselling
Understanding shame is a core element in discerning the ability to relate to oneself and others. Shame is an inevitable consequence of our early life nurturing. We understand and perceive ourselves in a world and to the extent we are able to form healthy relationships with ourselves and others.
The response of our primary carers, as we develop from birth, depends on the love and comfort which generates a sense of worth; “I must be valuable because I am being comforted”. Equally the manner in which boundaries are drawn and mediated.
If we have been left with the need to be respectful to others and ourselves it is likely this is based upon humility; “I may not always be right but that does not mean to say that I am bad”. On the other hand, where we have been left humiliated the seeds of defensiveness, anger and an absence of empathy are sown.
Early life relationships
This is at least why Counsellors pay close attention to early life relationships. This may be obvious where the developing baby and infant has been abused emotionally, sexually or physically. However, the counsellors’ radar will also be on high alert as the client describes an ideal early upbringing. Where a child has been too protected from any challenge. In this case it will have been difficult for the developing mind to have encountered uncertainty and to have learned that feelings of being unsafe do not lead to disintegration.
Fear and anxiety
Another way that the counsellor understands this relational dynamic is in the context of fear or it’s close cousin anxiety. Where there has been an element of healthy correction the emerging person will ideally feel secure and able to meet relational threat with security in themselves. Where this has not taken place, the individual may experience an external environment as threatening. They may feel fear, often at an unconscious level. The Counsellor will be looking for signs of a shameless personality (where other are to blame for all predicaments). Perhaps a shameful personality where the person feels that they are to blame for all difficulties.
Counselling seeks to flush out into the open the symptoms of unhelpful, sometimes known as toxic, shame. The counsellor through the creation of a secure counselling relationship will help the client to look at their beliefs and patterns. This will help to understand their feelings, and through this counselling relationship to give the client the relational experience to counter and to overcome those unhelpful beliefs.