Part of being in therapy with me, usually means doing some work on your own. I frequently recommend books, movies, workshops, bodywork and medical interventions as well. Therapy is rarely a passive process in my office.
This post is about two of the books that I most often recommend:
The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs
Currently, it is the best book out there on personal shame. It is impossible to grow up as a minority in a majority culture and not have shame. This means shame about race, sexual orientation, etc. Also, everyone has some shame. It is a primary emotion. It is curious that it is omitted from so many lists about primary emotions. It is not one that people like to admit or own.
Shame is feeling bad about who you are. I am bad. I am sick. I am horrible. You get the idea.
We get shamed by our parents, churches, schools, playmates, virtually everyone that we come in contact with. Not fun, but once you start to understand what has happened, then you can begin the process of undoing the damage done.
The Velvet Rage is written specifically for gay men. However, I have given it to african americans, jews, etc. anyone that feels bad about themselves. I just have them substitute whatever adjective for gay if they are not a gay male. I have seen it change lives; giving people a new lease on life.
The second book is: Your Brain on Sex by Stanley Siegel. It is probably the best book I have seen on sex and shame. It is a workbook that takes the reader through the process of really owning their sexuality, whatever it is. Perhaps they like toes. People often have shame about being turned on by something that is not considered mainstream or normal. The books helps the reader come to terms with their particular sexual interest and lays out a process for communicating that with a partner.
One of the central points of the book is the importance of finding a partner that has complimentary sexual interest. Sex is a very important part of a relationship. A bad sexual match will destroy the relationship sooner or later.
So wander down to your favorite bookstore, order the books and start facing some shame and have a much better life without it.
Thanks for spending this time with me and have a great life.