Shame and self-stigma can be powerfully limiting and harmful, and they are especially common among people with addictions. We’ve discussed on prior episodes of the podcast that there may be valuable and wise forms of shame, but psychotherapy research has also shown that the wrong sort of relationship to shame can also inhibit growth and stand in the way of recovery. So for this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, we dive into the practical aspects of working with shame, guided by Jason Luoma, Ph.D., a psychologist and a leading figure in this field.
Jason is a leading expert in the scientific study of shame, self-criticism, stigma, and the interpersonal functions of emotion in addiction. He has done crucial research on those topics in the context of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) since 2002, and as a practicing clinician and leading trainer in the field, he is a true expert in strategies for dealing with shame.
Jason breaks down the complex process into tangible steps, including viewing the treatment of shame as a continuous learning process in which we work toward looking at shame, rather than living out of it, unconsciously. The answer is not removing shame, but becoming aware of it and working with it: using our pain as a signpost for meaning and purpose, and aligning with personal values to guide us through the challenges of shame.
This is also a great conversation for anyone who wants to hear about an inspiring model of social enterprise in mental health. As an entrepreneur and co-founder of the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center, Jason also gives some insights into his pioneering and unique social enterprise, which dedicates its business revenue to fund scientific research and expand treatment for mental health.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Dr.Jason Luoma is a researcher, entrepreneur, clinical psychologist, and psychotherapy trainer. Since 2002, Dr.Luoma has been deeply involved in researching shame, self-criticism, stigma, and the interpersonal functions of emotion, especially in addiction, including the first randomized trial of an intervention focused on helping people with shame in addiction. Heco-founded the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center, a unique model combining therapy and research funding. As an author of key books on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and a leader in the field, Dr. Luoma also contributes through a popular blog for therapists and has held significant roles in the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
In this episode:
-Jason’s articles and books
-Prior episode with Owen Flanagan
- Slow and steady wins the race: a randomized clinical trial of ACT targeting shame in substance use disorders.
-ACT Manual for Shame in Substance Use Disorder (which contains the “Feared Eulogy” exercise)
-An introduction to loving kindness meditation from Sharon Salzberg
-An investigation of stigma in individuals receiving treatment for substance abuse, Addictive Behaviors 32 (2007) 1331–1346.
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