Opening Our Eyes



Shame is the emotion responsible for collaboration between people. In western culture, the first description of shame is found within the story of the first collaborative failure – Adam’s and Eve’s eating from the forbidden fruit. Using the biblical story of the Garden of Eden as a background, this chapter presents the emotion of shame and discusses when, why, and how people experience shame. Integrating theoretical and clinical perspectives, the chapter focuses on six main themes which are highly relevant to the therapeutic work with individuals and families. The first theme explores how failures to meet the expectations and standards of others, as well as one’s self, trigger shame. The second theme focuses on how curiosity and joy indicate that shame is regulated. The third theme – hiding, secrecy, and avoidance – describes variations in the behavioral response of distancing. The fourth theme focuses on how accusation and blaming can disrupt interpersonal communication but how they can also provide important clues for the presence of shame. The fifth theme focuses on the role played by mistakes, betrayal, and revenge in damaging relationships and how they ultimately lead to the sixth theme – rejection and pain. The chapter emphasizes the common processes that shame gives rise to in different types of relationships: parents and children, therapists and clients, and teachers and students.


Shame Collaboration Children Expectations Curiosity Blaming Family 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Systemic Mirroring Family Therapy InstituteModi’inIsrael

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