The one with Dr. William

Watch live on youtube here!


Dr Madeline William of Adapt Psychological Services (www.adaptpsych.com). Madeline's views are informed by her training as a psychologist. Please consult a personal counselor or therapist of your own for ongoing guidance and support related to mental health concerns.


Challenge: #cushame​ tag us and name your shame, shift your shame, and get support to rewrite your story.


We are talking about shame today and we use Brene Brown’s definition of Shame: “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. Something we have failed to do makes us feel unworthy of connection.” Shame is a label, a hat you put on. No matter what other hats you try on, if you have shame, you can’t cover it up. It is something you have told yourself or others have told you you are and have internalized. How does shame play in with clients, how do you address this? Something has made them feel uniquely flawed or bad. It feels there is little separation. Maddie addresses Guilt vs Shame - because guilt has everything to do with your behavior and shame has everything to do with who you are or your perception of who you inherently are. Example, if you forgot your friend's birthday, guilt looks like feeling bad about it and finding a way to make it up to them. Shame is thinking that because of this you are a terrible friend and person and it will tear you apart and you have to live with the feeling without option for reparation. Shame happens regardless of the type of person you are, you can’t hide from it.


We ask Maddie to tell us about her shame. Because she is a psychologist does that mean she can deal with any emotion her kids throw at her or that she is the most patient person in the world? Shame has come up in many life phases recently - pregnant, new mom, toddlers. Tying shame with her body feels most accessible to her at the moment. She didn’t do much to repair after her first pregnancy, just got back into running and the activities she loved felt fairly straight forward. Running is an identity for her, she loves it, and it completely energizes her so she just kept it up. After her second it felt impossible to get back into high impact work. She believes it must be fairly common (it is) that women realize for the first time that they maybe don’t know how to engage their core like they thought. Hips and glutes can go for days but if it’s up to their pelvic floor and lower ab muscles to stop them from peeing themselves, it’s not happening. Not feeling that she was the person she thought she was because she couldn’t do those high intensity movements any more. She didn’t feel like herself anymore. She didn’t deserve to be considered a runner anymore.


A type of therapy called commitment and action therapy. One concept is, self as content vs self as context. Putting yourself in a box is self as content “I am X”. Self as context is that fluid ability to be the slash, you don’t have to be on either side. Think about what your values are and what brings you purpose in that context. So much shame in the process because she never thought she would be there and have to ask for support. Fixing the problem solves shame but if you are having trouble fixing it then taking these steps of naming it and converting and sharing with trusted people is important.


3 shame reducing tips:

1. Name it and speak it - “sitting on the floor of the shame shower” or tapping on your head. Open the door and pull away the power. It’s not who you are it is what you are dealing with.

2. Shift it to guilt, a more manageable emotion. Focus on your behavior or the action.

3. Rewrite the story. It may turn into some grief.

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