Does Shame Have Utility in a Shameless Culture?

Over the last decade there has been an all-out war on shame. Voices in this battle have denounced all the destructive effects of shame on lives and relationships. The leader in this effort to expel shame was social work professor and shame researcher Brene Brown. Dr. Brown hit the scene in a large way after her TedX talk in Houston went viral. In this talk Brown describes her research on shame and her understanding of the antidote to shame, vulnerability. This talk led to more Ted talks and several books on shame, vulnerability, and shame resiliency in different contexts.


While Staying Relational

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I’ve had a lifetime of trouble saying No, and I’ve come to understand this in a few ways. I value being helpful. Being asked to do things for folks gives my life meaning and purpose. But like all good things there can also be a shadow to these values for me. I over commit. Important projects of mine get put on hold. And eventually I become exhausted and resentful.

Often, in our current time, ways of being relational are pathologized. The term people pleaser for example. In many ways a people pleaser’s way of being gets characterized as some sort…

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There is a growing body of literature on burnout in therapy and coaching. Sadly most, if not all of this advice, points readers in the direction of self-care strategies. You know, yoga, meditation, walks in nature, and the like.

I thought it would be helpful, when mental health and helping resources are becoming more and more stretched in these difficult times, to share my #1 secret for avoiding burnout if you are a coach therapist or healer of any kind. And it has nothing to do with self care. Rather than prescribe more yoga, meditation, or walks on the beach…

So what’s up with white people?

Recently I was challenged, or encouraged, by a good friend. This friend sent me a text after the week of the Jacob Blake shooting, and the killing of protestors by Kyle Rittenhouse. In his text he asked, “what would it look like if every time these moments happened, we called on white voices to be representative voices for the white community and give an account for what is happening?” He went on, “Black voices often have the burden, the weight, of talking about the trauma impact and how the community is dealing with these…

In these difficult times it would be easy to fall into the trap that has us believing that if we just straighten out the world, we will be okay.

This morning, I was revisiting the Dhammapada. For those that might not know, the Dhammapada is arguably the best known and most widely revered text in the Pali Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. According to Theravada Buddhist tradition, each verse in the Dhammapada was originally spoken by the Buddha in response to a particular episode the Sangha was experiencing at the time.

This morning, I was on the section titled Attavagga, or The Self. …

There is no better time than now to address the critical issue of the relational and emotional health of your employees.

Photo by Daniel Reche

COVID-19 is continuing to be disruptive to our lives, communities, and workplaces. It can be argued that all these things will be forever transformed. As leaders, it is our job to chart a course through cloudy and uncertain times, while supporting and sustaining the wellbeing and emotional health of those that work for and around us. In a recent report Mercer surveyed 500 US employers and found that 28% have introduced new programs specific to employee mental health since…

Adapted from a Dharma Talk delivered on April 11th, 2020

To inform this talk I want to share about a couple of things I read this week.

But before I get there, I too like most others, am in quarantine. I’m not sure how long this will last. And like many others, in an effort to find something to do that isn’t staring into one of the several glass screens in my home, I found myself this week, thinking this would be a good time to clean my office. I mean really clean my office.

This leads me to my…

How does happiness happen?

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Recently I saw an advertisement for a therapist of some sort that promised complete transformation with one session. She promised that no longer would no longer need weeks or even years of psychotherapy. That for three thousand dollars, or something like that, you will no longer experience self-doubt, limiting beliefs, or unrealized success, and you will re-tune your mind for uncompromised success in every area of your life. Just like the world’s most successful and fulfilled people.

As a professional psychotherapist I often run into such claims by professionals and non-professionals alike. And I think it is safe to say…

How Might Zen Buddhism Support and Sustain Addiction Recovery?

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This is a piece on how the practice of Zen Buddhism can support and sustain a person on the journey of recovery.

So to begin, how might we define recovery? The term “recovery” is increasingly used in connection with healing from mental illness, but it is perhaps most commonly associated with overcoming addiction to Alcohol and other drugs, as in my case. I hope to relate recovery to not just overcoming addiction to substances, sex, food, etc. …

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In a recent article written for Vice, neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz, challenged the idea of codependence calling it a myth that needs to die.

In this article Szalavitz takes on the belief that “codependency,” the idea that partners and relatives of addicted people basically have a disease just like their loved ones — leading them to “enable” the problem by preventing addicts from “hitting bottom,” is inaccurate, unscientific, and harmful.

Szalavitz also believe its especially important to kill this myth now because of the high stakes involved in our current opioid crisis in America.

One thing is for sure the…

Chris Hoff, PhD

Host of The Radical Therapist Podcast & YouTube channel. Curator of Ideas. Linking Lives. Social Entrepreneur. Zen Buddhist. Bruno Latour fanboy & Vygotskian.

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