The Shame Factor: Heal Your Deepest Fears and Set Yourself Free (Paperback)
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A popular clinical psychologist explores an often misunderstood and unrecognized emotion that's the root cause of many self-defeating and harmful behaviors.
Emotional paralysis, a distorted view of self, a feeling of being a fraud, lack of trust in others, fear of criticism resulting in underdeveloped talents, and a chronic sense of being worthless, invisible, or disposable--these are typical symptoms of shame. In this book, psychologist Stephan B. Poulter delves into this "primary emotional wound." Distinguishing it from commonplace guilt over a particular moral failing, he describes this toxic emotion as a pervasive but largely unrecognized "emotional cancer," with the power of undermining many aspects of life.
Dr. Poulter guides the reader through exercises that teach one to expose this "big secret" and to recognize the triggers in daily life that arouse fears and other negative emotions. Beyond these first steps, he shows how we can continue the healing process of self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, empathy, and a new sense of inner well-being.
Based on thirty years of experience with patients of all ages and from many walks of life, this is a book full of insight and understanding, one that can help most of us discover and realize our full potentials.
About the Author
Stephan B. Poulter, Ph.D., is a renowned Los Angeles based clinical psychologist in private practice with over thirty years of experience. Dr. Poulter brings a fresh and original perspective as a former law-enforcement office, seminary graduate, psychologist, father, and author to some of the timeless questions of families, parents, fathers, mothers, marriage/divorce, and emotional shame. He is the author of The Art of Successful Failure, Your Ex-Factor, The Mother Factor, The Father Factor, and Father Your Son.
“Untreated shame has insidious and isolating tentacles that reach into every area of life. Shame is at the core of much of my work with patients, and the meta-shame that can accompany healing often prevents people from addressing it. The Shame Factor is a compelling book that reveals the pernicious effects of shame, offers readers hope, and gives tangible ideas for how to break the cycle of shame and start healing. Dr. Poulter’s must-read book is informative, multidimensional, and accessible to anyone, and will be especially helpful for those struggling with trauma, healthy relationships, addiction, self-destructive behaviors, feeling like an imposter, or other mental health concerns.”
—Dr. Kate Balestrieri, licensed psychologist, cofounder of Triune Therapy Group, and cohost of Behind Closed Doors with Dr. Kate & Lauren
“Dr. Poulter draws from his decades of experience treating clients of different ages and ethnicities, to illustrate his deep understanding and insight into the problem of shame. His wisdom and dedication have helped his clients discover and heal from their shame-based issues; now Dr. Poulter shares that wisdom with readers. Following his guidance, we can uncover our fundamental emotional wounds and weaknesses; then we can identify and—with the aid of a talented therapist—recover from the formative traumas that caused them. Dr. Poulter’s brilliant insight and sensitivity will help us free ourselves from the chaotic and painful effects of shame.”
—Judith J. Bucholtz, PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
“Shame is a complex emotion that many of us have a difficult time identifying. Thankfully, Dr. Poulter unpacks complicated psychological concepts in a conversational, accessible style. In The Shame Factor, he clearly and concisely destigmatizes shame, revealing not only its root causes in our lives but also how we can overcome it and eventually thrive.”
—Minka Marcom, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
“In this powerful book, readers will discover how shame is affecting their lives, where it came from, and how to eliminate its impact. The conversational tone—combined with real stories about how shame has affected Dr. Poulter’s clients—allows readers to immediately apply its wisdom and begin to feel better. I highly recommend this book to all who want to change their lives or learn more about shame.”
—Juli A. Adelman, PsyD, MBA, principal of Vantage Trial Consulting
“Dr. Poulter’s expertise is crystal clear in this illuminating book about the problem of shame, how it presents in one’s life, and, ultimately, how to heal, grow, and move on from its negative impact. He adeptly directs readers to assess their own lives and the obvious and hidden ways shame plays a role. As the author shows, this common problem inhibits healing and is often ignored or pushed aside—even by introspective people. With his deep understanding of this subject, Dr. Poulter skillfully communicates a wealth of information without talking down to readers. Instead, he walks side by side with those who pick up The Shame Factor, offering them empathy and support on their journey. I highly recommend this book not only for individuals who are struggling with shame but also for their loved ones and treatment providers. It is an excellent reference that readers will want to delve into over and over again, discovering something new each time.”
—Dr. Judy Ho, licensed clinical and forensic psychologist and tenured associate professor at Pepperdine University
“The Shame Factor really helped me understand the toxic nature of how our childhood traumas damage our self-esteem. Dr. Poulter is an expert in his field, and his authentic personal stories show us that we are not alone. I used to think that I needed to be perfect in order to gain approval and to be loved, but this book helped free me from feeling trapped in that lifelong way of thinking. The Shame Factor can help anyone heal, no matter what has happened in the past. I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels they are a bad person. There is hope.”
—Jaime Allen, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate
“Healing toxic shame is tricky business; however, The Shame Factor gives us a blueprint for identifying and vanquishing this insidious imposter. By bringing our shame into the light of conscious awareness, Dr. Poulter shows us how to rid ourselves of this malignant energy—for good! This book puts him in a league with Brené Brown and John Bradshaw as a potent exorcist of shame.”
—John Dietsch, award-winning author and filmmaker
“Dr. Poulter breaks down our struggles with shame into the simplest of terms. I never realized how damaging shame can be in our lives or how it exists as the root of so many negative emotions. Poulter’s anecdotes and stories bring to life the ways in which shame affects people, and he provides tangible techniques we can use to help us become more self-accepting and happier, so that we can experience fuller lives.”
—Jack Levy, senior management consultant, investor, and philanthropist