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Toxic Shame Therapy & Counselling

Toxic shame is a sense of shame that is so strong or pervasive that it negatively impacts on day-to-day living.

Everyone experiences shame at one time or another.

It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful and when shame becomes toxic, it can ruin lives.

Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction.

We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves.

We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves.

We all have our own specific triggers or tender points that produce feelings of shame. The intensity of our experience varies, too, depending upon our prior life experiences, cultural beliefs, personality, and the activating event.

Unlike ordinary shame, “internalised shame” hangs around and alters our self-image.

For some people, toxic shame can monopolise their personality, while for others, it lies beneath their conscious awareness, but can easily be triggered.

Toxic Shame banner - woman pointing directly at the camera

Characteristics of Toxic Shame

Toxic shame differs from ordinary shame, which passes in a day or a few hours, in the following respects:

  • It can hide in our unconscious, so that we’re unaware that we have shame.
  • When we experience shame, it lasts much longer.
  • The feelings and pain associated with shame are of greater intensity.
  • An external event isn’t required to trigger it. Our own thoughts can bring on feelings of shame.
  • It leads to shame spirals that cause depression and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • It causes chronic “shame anxiety” — the fear of experiencing shame.
  • It’s accompanied by voices, images, or beliefs originating in childhood and is associated with a negative “shame story” about ourselves.
  • We needn’t recall the original source of the immediate shame, which usually originated in childhood or a prior trauma.
  • It creates deep feelings of inadequacy.

Unhelpful Beliefs Based on Toxic Shame

The fundamental belief underlying shame is that “I’m unlovable — not worthy of knowing.” Most frequently, internalised shame manifests as one of the following beliefs;

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m unattractive (especially to a romantic partner)
  • I’m a failure
  • I’m a bad person
  • I’m a fraud or a phony
  • I’m selfish
  • I’m not enough (this belief can be applied to numerous areas)
  • I hate myself
  • I don’t matter
  • I’m defective or inadequate
  • I shouldn’t have been born
  • I’m unlovable

The Causes of Toxic Shame

In most cases, shame becomes internalised or toxic from chronic or intense experiences of shame in childhood.

Parents can unintentionally transfer their shame to their children through verbal messages or nonverbal behaviour.

For an example, a child might feel unloved in reaction to a parent’s depression, indifference, absence, or irritability or feel inadequate due to a parent’s competitiveness or over-correcting behavior.

Children need to feel uniquely loved by both parents.

When that connection is breached, such as when a child is scolded harshly (for example ‘you should feel ashamed of yourself‘), children feel alone and ashamed, unless the parent-child bond of love is soon repaired.

However, even if shame has been internalized, it can be surmounted by later positive experiences.

If not healed, toxic shame can lead to anger, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction problems.

It generates low self-esteem, anxiety, irrational guilt, perfectionism, and it limits our ability to enjoy satisfying relationships and professional success.

Toxic Shame sufferer in therapy session

Therapy & Counselling for Toxic Shame

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Toxic Shame and related problems.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had the problem.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your problem is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for Toxic Shame on the following links:

Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Furthermore, research also suggests that therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.

Free Initial Consultations for Toxic Shame Banner

Free Initial Consultations for Toxic Shame

We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your Toxic Shame prior to commencing any treatment plans.

The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.

During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.

Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.

At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.

Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.

Tranceformental CBT course for toxic shame on a PC screen

Overcome Toxic Shame with our CBT Course

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is clinically proven to be effective across a range of different psychological problems.

Using our online learning platform, it is available with 2, 5 or 10 sessions of clinical support either face-to-face in the Wombourne offices, or using Zoom video facilities.

It can also be taken as a self help CBT course that will teach you the fundamental tools and techniques used throughout the mental health profession.

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Buy Your CBT Course Here

You can purchase a course of Tranceformental CBT in our shop by clicking on any of the links below.

Self-Help CBT Course - £149

Course + 2 Clinical Sessions - £299

Course + 5 Clinical Sessions - £499

Course + 10 Clinical Sessions - £799

Get in Touch

Psychotherapist Paul Lee in Wombourne Clinic

Contact Paul

View Paul's Profile

Tel: 07434 776125

paul@tranceformpsychology.com

Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist Joan Lee in Wombourne Clinic

Contact Joan

View Joan's Profile

Tel: 07434 776504

joan@tranceformpsychology.com

Contact Binder

View Binder's Profile

Tel: 07931 517241

binder@tranceformpsychology.com