Taking a break from writing yesterday (what better way than set the timer for five minutes and head over to Facebook for some entertainment?) I stumbled across a piece by Daniela Sieff, Ph.D. on healing shame. She likens it to a high altitude climb – one breath at a time, one inch at a time, one step at a time. (A bit like my writing actually, one word at a time, although sometimes like Niagara Falls it really flows, oh happy day).
Dr. Sieff points out that healing shame is an inside job. Words are part of the process, but healing from the inside out is what’s called for – shame feels pre-verbal in the body, so the body must be included in the process of healing. I wanted to jump for joy! YES! This is exactly how I experience working with shame, both as practitioner and client. I also really appreciated her point about being held by a practitioner who has done their own work – I know that one whiff, one tiny sniff, of practitioner judgment entirely undoes whatever good has been done.
It happened to me recently. I was deep in a process with a coach, not exactly frolicking in my shame history but certainly having a good paddle around, and she exclaimed at something with just a tiny hint of “sheeeez, you did what??” and I was flung into the never reaches of Shameland. Fortunately, having done as much already work as I have, I had the wherewithal to declare “ouch” and we were able to repair and move on. Hallelujah. And all this reminds me how important it is to keep doing my own work so I can be available and aware for my clients’ sake.
If shame and its tentacles reach into your life and you’d like to talk about how I may be able to assist, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.