The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe about Ourselves
The Gospel Coalition Top Books
Hearts Minds Bookstore's Best Books
Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year
We're all infected with a spiritual disease. Its name is shame.
Whether we realize it or not, shame affects every aspect of our personal lives and vocational endeavors. It seeks to destroy our identity in Christ, replacing it with a damaged version of ourselves that results in unhealed pain and brokenness. But God is telling a different story for your life.
Psychiatrist Curt Thompson unpacks the soul of shame, revealing its ubiquitous nature and neurobiological roots. He also provides the theological and practical tools necessary to dismantle shame, based on years of researching its damaging effects and counseling people to overcome those wounds.
Thompson's expertise and compassion will help you identify your own pains and struggles and find freedom from the lifelong negative messages that bind you. Rewrite the story of your life and embrace healing and wholeness as you discover and defeat shame's insidious agenda.
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About the Author
Curt Thompson (MD, Wright State University) is a board-certified psychiatrist and the founder of the Center for Being Known, a nonprofit organization that develops resources to educate and train leaders on the intersection between interpersonal neurobiology and Christian spiritual formation. He is also the author of Anatomy of the Soul. Thompson and his wife, Phyllis, a licensed clinical social worker, are the parents of two children and reside in Arlington, Virginia.
"Fans of Brene Brown's work will find in The Soul Of Shame an intelligent, complementary (but not identical) companion to their reading. This book would also be helpful to pastors, spiritual directors, and anyone who finds themselves longing to understand why they do the things they don't want to do--and how to move toward joy instead. . . . 'Every minute of every day we choose between shame and love, ' Thompson writes. It takes intention to combat shame, but, as he reminds us, it is not a battle we fight alone. Our God fights for and with us."--Michelle Van Loon, Patheos, November 5, 2015
"The Soul of Shame provides an in-depth examination of shame and how it affects every aspect of our lives. It is an incredible resource for every pastor who provides pastoral care and counseling. We readily recognize the effects of sin upon the physical body but fail to recognize its impact on the brain that cause neurological changes in the brain which then affects our emotions and thinking. The Soul of Shame will empower pastors and counselors to see that shame is a root issue to most challenges we face in our fallen world. It's a must-read if one wants to be serious about caring pastorally for the Lord's people."--Brad Hoefs, Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year, March/April 2016
"We need to talk about shame. Curt Thompson's recent book The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves (InterVarsity Press, 2015) does just that and is, in my opinion, one of the most important books written this past year. . . . I don't say this lightly, for there are few books I have read that could ever make this list: this should be a book that every Christian pastor needs to know intimately, every parent should read cautiously for the sake of their children, and most Christians should have access to. It is a book that is applicable to everyone on some level, whether you yourself are dealing with shame or you know someone who is."--Randy Hardman, Seedbed, December 31, 2015
"This is a challenging but profoundly life-giving book that teaches us, using many fascinating stories from Thompson's work as a psychiatrist, how to relate to our inner world of thoughts, emotions, and body sensations to the intriguing findings of contemporary brain science, and above all to the biblical story of God's longing that we live openly in the light of his love, delight, and grace. Thus new stories are told."--Richard Winter, Presbyterion, Fall 2015
"Thompson not only provides tremendous insight into these important matters, but also some hopeful practices for a ministry of reconciliation. For those leading spiritual formation and for those teaching others to do so, The Soul of Shame is a worthy addition to the library."--Drew Poppleton, Journal of Spiritual Formation Soul Care, Spring 2016, Vol. 9, No. 1
"Where does our shame originate? And how can we loosen its oppressive hold on our lives? Thompson . . . looks to Scripture and the field of interpersonal neurobiology for insights. 'Shame, ' he proposes, 'is not just a consequence of something our parents did in the Garden of Eden. It is the emotional weapon that evil uses to (1) corrupt our relationships with God and each other, and (2) disintegrate any and all gifts of vocational vision and creativity, ' including 'any area of endeavor that promotes goodness, beauty, and joy in and for the lives of others.' The Soul of Shame gets inside how this process happens--and how it can be reversed."--Christianity Today, September 2015
"I believe (especially after having read through to the very end of this remarkable work) that these insights from a psychiatrist and neuroscientist is just what we need to help us see the exceptional relevance of Biblical truth for daily living. In Thompson's hands, Bible verses come alive, the over-arching redemptive drama makes palpable sense and frames our experience, and God's well-ordered structure of creation--the human brain!--is demystified so we can actually learn to manage what seem like instincts or default reactions."--Byron Borger, Book Notes, September 14, 2015
"You might not expect this to be a faith and work book, but it's amazing how much shame plays a part in our work. It's 'the emotional weapon that evil uses to (a) corrupt our relationship with God and with each other, and (2) disintegrate any and all gifts of vocational vision and creativity.' Thompson's stories, which range from the personal to the professional, illuminate how shame causes us to isolate and alienate ourselves from one another. Yet his stories also have the power to expose shame in our hearts and in our relationships. This is a beautiful and hopeful book that's both intellectually and emotionally moving."--Bethany Jenkins, The Gospel Coalition, "TGC Editors' Picks: Top Books of 2015," December 2015