Laura Santomauro, L.M.F.T.
350 East Broadway, Jackson WY 83001 • (307) 690-2153
Marriage Counseling & Family Therapy

SHAME

What is SHAME?

Shame is difficult to define… it is a healthy human feeling that can become quite toxic and life-destroying.  When shame becomes toxic, it is an excruciatingly internal experience of exposure.  It is the most painful primary emotion felt deep within and disconnects us from others leaving us alone and isolated in our moment of greatest need.

  • Healthy Shame lets us know that we have limits.  Felt as one of several primary emotions, it tells us we have made a mistake.  Healthy shame teaches us about our limits and allows us to evaluate our behavior, see how our behavior has impacted others and encourages us to re-route ourselves and make restitution, if necessary.  It is a well needed guide to help us operate safely.
  • Toxic Shame provides a more insidious message.  It tells us that WE are the mistake.  Instead of the momentary feeling of being limited, a person can come to believe that the whole self is fundamentally flawed & defective.  Therefore, it is no longer the behavior that is the mistake, but the person.  This binds us and leads us to emotional sickness in breaking our interpersonal bridge leaving us isolated, disconnected and hopeless.  In the most detrimental form, we cannot reach for others, nor can we take in their comfort, care, contact leaving us utterly alone.  We have rigid and disconnecting ways to try and deal with our shame: inner critic, controlling, perfectionism, depression, lashing out at others, outwardly critical, etc.
 

Healing & Transforming Shame

As indicted, shame is an important & healthy emotion.  It becomes toxic when is has been put on us during our childhood and we now put it on ourselves & others.

Our work together focuses on healing the shame that binds you through an explicit externalization process.  Through several therapeutic steps we:

  • identify your personal resources & resiliencies
  • connect to sources where toxic shame was put on you
  • heal through giving the toxic shame back where it belongs
  • free you through bringing compassion & empathy to self

This process allows us to heal from the toxic shame that was put on us and transforms that toxic shame we put on ourselves back into the healthy shame we were born with.

 

The importance…

Our focus in on creating a safe atmosphere in order to allow for this very deep, intrapsychic work.  We understand that this process is difficult and painful with great reward.
  • we take care in creating a temporary safe haven to explore
  • we focus on pacing so we don’t go too fast or too slow
  • it is client centered – we listen to you
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