Embracing Shame: How to Stop Resisting Shame and Turn It into a Powerful Ally (Paperback)

Embracing Shame: How to Stop Resisting Shame and Turn It into a Powerful Ally By Bret Lyon, Ph.D., SEP, Sheila Rubin, LMFT, RDT/BCT Cover Image
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Discover a proven pathway for transforming shame from a self-punishing emotion into a powerful ally for your health and happiness.

Why do we feel shame? Given how painful and destructive shame can be, it’s easy to see this emotion as an inner demon that turns our own mind against us. Yet shame is a universal emotion—and it serves an important purpose. “While toxic shame can keep us stuck in a self-defeating vortex,” say Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin, “there is a healthy expression of shame designed to protect us, help us change, and actually build our self-esteem.”

With Embracing Shame, these expert teachers share an invaluable guide to an emotion so volatile that most of us—including therapists—avoid talking about it. Here this husband and wife team, cofounders of the Center for Healing Shame, examine the dynamics of shame, the reasons it arises, why it causes such harm, and how we can heal its negative effects. Through case studies, creative tools, and body-based practices, they invite you to explore:

• The purpose of shame—How it is meant to protect and guide us, and why it gets distorted into a self-sabotaging emotion
• How shame disguises itself by “binding” to other emotions—and methods for disentangling these complex feelings
• The ways shame forms in childhood, evolves as we grow, is impacted by trauma, and takes residence in the body
• Practical guidance for regulating common shame-based challenges—including the inner critic, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, intimacy in relationships, and much more

While no amount of self-talk, personal success, or therapy can eradicate shame, we can transform shame into the supportive, health-promoting force it was meant to be. Created as a go-to resource for laypersons and healing professionals alike, Embracing Shame offers an achievable path for reclaiming the true potential of this vital emotion to help us grow, connect, and find a new confidence in the way we move through life.

About the Author

Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP has devoted almost two decades of his life to healing shame. Along with his wife and colleague, Sheila Rubin, he is a founder and codirector of the Center for Healing Shame, and cocreator of the Healing Shame–Lyon/Rubin Method. Through their popular workshops, they have taught thousands of psychotherapists, coaches, and other helping professionals across the world how to more effectively identify and work with shame. Bret holds doctorates in both psychology and drama and has taught at Tufts University, Pomona College, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, as well as writing and directing plays in regional theater and off-off Broadway. For more, visit healingshame.com.

Sheila Rubin, MA, LMFT, RDT/BCT, has been researching shame since she was five years old. Along with her husband and colleague, Bret Lyon, she is a founder and codirector of the Center for Healing Shame, and cocreator of the Healing Shame–Lyon/Rubin Method. Through their popular workshops, they have taught thousands of psychotherapists, coaches, and other helping professionals across the world to more effectively identify and work with shame. Sheila is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Registered Drama Therapist, and has taught at JFK University and CIIS, as well as being the eating disorder specialist at a hospital and directing Embodied Life Stories performances. For more, visit healingshame.com.

Praise For…

“Firmly grounding their advice in therapeutic experience, the authors perceptively unpack shame’s complexities and connections to trauma, the body, sex, and relationships. It’s an admirably nuanced look at a complicated emotion.” —Publishers Weekly

“A few times in a lifetime a book comes along that opens up the dark recesses of our lives and illuminates the mysteries of human behavior, including why people act the way they do and why there is so much emotional suffering in the world. Embracing Shame by Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin is such a book. It is engaging, transformative, and eye opening! Shame is itself shameful, and so it doesn’t get talked about, instead lurking in the shadows, interfering with our ability to give and receive true connection. So it’s already a huge contribution to write, as Lyon and Rubin do, in a non-shaming way about shame. But there’s more: chapter by chapter, with personal stories and supportive healing exercises, this book builds up a picture of where shame comes from, what it can do, and how it can be transformed. Embracing Shame is personal, practical, wise, and ultimately hopeful. I truly wish the whole world would read it, because I want to live in what would then be a safer and more connected world.” —Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, CEO of Focusing Resources and author of The Radical Acceptance of Everything

“Heartwarming, empowering, vulnerable, and brilliant. Every so often, a book comes along that will inspire your mind, touch your soul, and remind you that you are not alone. Embracing Shame by Sheila Rubin and Bret Lyon is a groundbreaking book that can help you break free of the chains of shame. Through stories, concrete practices, and research, Sheila and Bret bring us face-to-face with shame’s power to paralyze our lives while also offering a way out through embracing it. Steeped in a deep understanding of the body–mind connection, this remarkable guide offers essential strategies for connecting with oneself and with others—and creating a new way forward, one in which shame doesn’t define who you are. If shame has been holding you back, Embracing Shame can help you let go of those chains and live your life fully. Through powerful stories of recovery and personal growth, the authors show you that it’s possible to move beyond shame and create a new path for yourself, your clients, and those you love.” —Albert Wong, PhD, director of the Trauma Certificate Program at Somatopia

“Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin have already transformed the trauma therapy field with their Healing Shame workshops. Now anybody who picks up this book can benefit from their radical healing approach to shame. They have written a gem of a book that anybody can read, understand, relate to, and apply to themselves, to clients, to loved ones. Expect to learn, expect to have ‘aha’ moments, expect to be moved, expect to be transformed. Not only do Bret and Sheila explain and teach with clarity what shame is, how it affects body and psyche, and what to do when it overtakes us, but with skill, compassion, and bravery they model for us the transforming power of vulnerability and transparency. Leading by example, they show us how to embrace shame by sharing not only examples from their own therapy and coaching practices but also their own experiences of both shame and its healing. I love this book and am grateful that it now exists. Get this book, and your nervous system, as well as your friends and family, will thank you for so doing. Kudos to Bret and Sheila for a spectacular and accessible achievement.” —Diana Fosha, PhD, developer of AEDP, editor of Undoing Aloneness and the Transformation of Suffering into Flourishing, and author of The Transforming Power of Affect

Embracing Shame is the clearest, most brilliant, user-friendly book that I’ve seen on this powerful and misunderstood emotion. Bret and Sheila are among the world’s leading experts on shame. They shed a bright light on this elusive emotion and the sneaky ways it shows up in our lives and suppresses our life energy and joy. Through striking examples and carefully crafted exercises, this easy-to-read book will help you understand the toxic effects of shame—guiding you to turn gently toward it rather than experience it as a dreaded enemy, empowering you to learn, grow, and transform your life. I highly recommend this book if you want to recognize and heal the shame that may be holding you back in your life, which can free you up to live a richer life and deepen your relationships.” —John Amodeo, PhD, author of Dancing with Fire and Psychology Today contributor

“This book is an exquisite work on shame. It is revolutionary, insightful, and brilliant. Embracing Shame has the capacity to inspire individual and cultural transformation. Sheila and Bret beautifully incorporate both social and psychological aspects of shame, which is essential for any real understanding of shame. Their superb illustration of emotional binds illuminates the importance of how shame binds with other emotions—anger, grief, fear, joy—in everyday life, trapping us in old patterns. Working with shame is multidimensional work, they say. When we recognize where we have broken interpersonal bridges, work to repair them, and accept our imperfections and limitations, then we can finally begin to transform our shame. Though it is written in a way that can benefit anyone, no professional should be without a copy of this book.” —Suzanne Retzinger, PhD, MFT, coauthor of Emotions and Violence

Embracing Shame is a remarkably insightful and thorough guide to the inner experience and complex inner workings of shame. It is wise and compassionate counsel from two superb teachers, communicated with warmth and humanity, and will be of enormous help to anyone who struggles under the oppressive power of this life-choking emotion.” —Bruce Ecker, LMFT, codirector of the Coherence Psychology Institute, co-originator of Coherence Therapy, and coauthor of Unlocking the Emotional Brain

“Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin have created a much-needed resource. Shame is something we all need to learn much more about, as it is an insidious emotion that has great power to harm us if we are not aware of shame in our daily lives and interactions. This book can truly help us understand and soften shame so it causes far less harm—and can even be helpful. As a trauma psychotherapist and emotions educator, I’m thrilled to have a powerful new book that focuses on healing and transforming shame to recommend to my clients.” —Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW, author of It’s Not Always Depression and mental health consultant for AMC’s Mad Men

Embracing Shame is not only a gem of a book, it makes an extraordinarily important contribution to an area of psychology that is largely overlooked. With powerful examples and mindful exercises, Bret and Sheila show how easy it is to rebalance your nervous system and transform shame in a way that will revitalize your life.” —Mark Robert Waldman, faculty at Holmes Institute, neuroscience researcher, and coauthor of How God Changes Your Brain

“Sheila Rubin and Bret Lyon have long focused their psychotherapeutic and educational work on healing shame. Now readers can access their experience, teachings, and wisdom through their book, which offers hopeful, down-to-earth, and compassionate reflections, as well as guidance, on transforming shame. Embracing Shame is a practical and inspiring book not only for clinicians but for everyone who experiences shame—meaning everyone!” —Renée Emunah, PhD, author of Acting for Real, co-editor of Current Approaches in Drama Therapy and The Self in Performance, and founder/director of the Drama Therapy Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies

Embracing Shame shines a spotlight on the most deeply disturbing of all human emotions. Here we see shame’s impact on identity, its role in shaping self-esteem, and how it becomes an impediment to intimacy. Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin illustrate the power of shame to capture and cripple us and reveal the hidden power released by healing shame.” —Gershen Kaufman, PhD, author of Shame: The Power of Caring and The Psychology of Shame, coauthor of Coming Out of Shame

“Bret and Sheila are pioneers in the work of healing shame, and this book is an essential text. They lay out a clear therapeutic pathway that integrates the latest science of the brain and nervous system, as well as clinical skills. I’ve learned so much from them that informs my own work.” —Ruth L. Schwartz, PhD, director of Conscious Girlfriend Academy and coauthor of Conscious Lesbian Dating and Love

“As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, I have seen many people whose everyday lives are greatly limited by their shame. I am thrilled that I can now recommend that they read this book. It gives them the theoretical concepts and the practical tools to help them to both understand and transform their shame. It is filled with powerfully moving stories of case examples and demonstrations, as well as exercises you can do on your own or with a trusted partner. After reading and practicing some of the exercises in this book, you may find yourself much more able to get mad and to laugh and to cry and to love.” —Barbara McCoard, MD, coauthor of Sandplay

Embracing Shame is a wonderful book! I’m delighted to see Bret and Sheila’s powerful, transformative, and deeply humane approach to healing shame presented in this engaging format. I love its organization, layout, and accessibility, and I’m eager to share it with colleagues and clients.” —Fran Schwartz, PhD, LCSW, anthropologist and psychologist

“I was brought to tears reading through this book. I am so delighted and moved that this now exists in the world. Only through starting to heal my own lifelong shame with the help of Bret, Sheila, and the Healing Shame community have I been able to accept, sit with, and guide my clients through transforming their own. This is life-changing work, a book that is easy to follow and grasp yet has the potential to shift the way you see yourself and the world around you. I believe it contains the power of an earthquake—shifting the tectonic plates of our culture and mindset about shame.” —Lauren Gray, LMFT, Healing Shame Practitioner

“As a longtime student of the profound work on healing shame that Bret Lyon and Sheila Rubin have created, I am beyond excited that they have been able to bring so many of their concepts and stories into this book. They teach that healing shame is very possible when we stop fearing it and embrace its purpose for us. In my years of working with shame, I have felt the loosening effect of recognizing it for what it is, how it shows itself, and why. This more compassionate way of seeing shame as an overprotective part that needs tactful attention has brought transformation within myself, in my marriage, and to the educators and students I have worked with over the years.” —Elizabeth Davidge, Center for Healing Shame workshop coordinator and founder of re-SOURCING Resiliency for educators and youth

“With clarity and compassion, Bret and Sheila have provided a Rosetta Stone–like guide to understanding, unearthing, and healing this painful, mysterious, and often invisible emotion. The effects of shame are pervasive throughout medicine and the health-care world—the healing profession is in dire need of healing.” —Harald Bettger, MD, educator on shame in medicine

“Sheila Rubin and Bret Lyon have written a masterful, transformational, comprehensive, and user-friendly guide to understanding and working with shame. It is written in a style that feels as if the authors were having a relaxed conversation with you. The easy-to-follow explanations and creative experiential exercises will help you ‘embrace shame’ by transforming toxic shame into healthy shame. This book is especially important for parents in raising secure, confident children and for couples wanting a more loving relationship. Reading this reconnected me with how to work more creatively with my own shame and that of my clients. I would call this book ‘the ultimate guide to healing shame.’” —Jan DiSanto, RN, MFT, Gottman and EFT couples therapist and author of Myrtle the Turtle Discovers Hug Power

“If you’re human, you must read this book! All that you need to understand shame is within these pages. The tools and exercises can and should be used by everyone. If you’re raising a child who has been separated from their family of origin, Bret and Sheila have provided the tools you need to heal the pain that these childhood wounds create. What a world we could create if we could all turn shame into valuable medicine. Bravo!” —Juline Aguilar, director of the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program at Folsom Lake College

Product Details
ISBN: 9781649630469
ISBN-10: 1649630468
Publisher: Sounds True
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English