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Somatica Sessions #2 – Overcoming Toxic Shame

Have you ever encountered toxic shame in your practice as a coach – and wondered how you can help your client overcome it?

In this second episode of our Somatica Sessions video series, watch Somatica Institute co-founder Danielle Harel walk Dori through shame coaching and explain the psychological effects of shame.

Exploring The Roots of Shame

In her current relationship, Dori feels she is the “more needy” partner, which is not her usual experience of relationships. This causes her to feel a sense of shame for having needs at all. Danielle helps her explore the roots of this shame by taking her into an Inner Child Visualization.

When Dori goes back into her inner child, she lands on a memory where she is left alone in her crib while her parents play with and dote over her brother. As a small child, Dori’s needs and feelings were ignored, which caused her to start to feel a sense of toxic shame. She disconnected from her needs in order to survive the feelings of hurt and rejection.

Celebrating Needs as Beautiful and Necessary

As Danielle brings Dori into this inner child space, she offers her loving attachment and a strong belief in the idea that Dori’s needs and feelings are very important. She helps Dori express her fears and sadness about not being able to have needs as a child and helps her see that her needs are actually beautiful. Just because her parents did not meet her needs doesn’t mean she has to stop needing.

Once Dori begins to embrace her needs as beautiful, Danielle helps her separate this idea from the reality that those needs won’t all be able to be met in her relationship with her lover. A lot of the session is actually attachment work, as Danielle stays connected and celebratory about Dori’s needs, always embracing and never shaming Dori for having as many needs as she has.

Healing Shame by Staying Resilient to Unmet Needs

One key concept of the Somatica philosophy is that a person’s needs are beautiful – whether or not they get met.

The truth of being human is that we all have many needs and that they won’t all get met – and they certainly won’t all get met by one person. When people realize they can celebrate their needs – instead of shaming them – they can advocate for themselves and still stay resilient when those needs are not met. In other words, they can allow themselves to have needs – without feeling like unmet needs are proof that their partner does not love them.

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