achieving, being perfect, intellectualizing, sexually relating, shopping,
trying to look attractive, cleaning, rescuing, or some other habit. Many
of these people suffer from shame. But, supposedly, according to
Bradshaw, shame can't be cured without years in a 12-step program
plus long-term Psychoanalytic psychotherapy in which (a) an
emotional bond is established, (b) the old hurts and repressed parts
are uncovered, (c) the inner child is nurtured and protected by the
adult, (d) false beliefs and irrational ideas are challenged, (e) the
images and voices that convince us that we are weak and unworthy
must be replaced with optimistic ideas, and (f) we must have a
"spiritual awakening." That is a lot of therapy for two billion people or
so. Bradshaw is, nevertheless, right to emphasize the importance of
preventing shame (see Bradshaw On: The Family on PBS). And,
although the psychoanalytic theory sounds good, we need to look for
more efficient and effective therapies.
Perhaps (it is an empirical question) some or much of this therapy
can be done by ourselves. Pollard (1987) recommends "self-parenting"
which consists of learning how to support, nurture and love your
"inner" child. Another of the early and more original writers about
shame, Gershen Kaufman (1992), says that an effective antidote to
shame is caring, warm relationships. People bothered by shame need
to be loved and accepted, and they need to give to, care for, love, and
relate warmly with others. Helping others is good self-therapy too.
Boredom, apathy, and tiredness or exhaustion
Boredom, a lack of interest, tiredness, and the "blahs" are signs of
silent depression. Millions of us are bored with work, school, marriage,
etc. Why are we so bored? First, maybe we just aren't doing anything
interesting or challenging. The Greeks defined happiness as doing
one's best and using all of one's potential. That seemed like the
problem for Judith Hennessee, a popular writer, who has described her
discovery of boredom. She was an active wife and mother, busy in
community activities. One day she noticed all her days were alike. She
wondered if this was all there was going to be to life. Then she
suddenly realized, "I'm bored out of my mind and don't even know it."
It seemed like she was missing her life. It was terrifying. She had
always wanted to write, so she started. She felt happier and more
fulfilled. We all want to do what we are good at doing. Second, even
demanding work can be boring if you have no autonomy and simply
"follow the rules" made by someone else. We need to feel "in charge"
of something; we need to be flexible, adapting to the situation; we
need to use our judgment. Third, even challenging work involving
decision-making can be boring if we do not consider the work
worthwhile and commendable. Life must have meaning. Otherwise, we
burn out. Cherniss (1995) studied burnout during the first 12 years of
being a social worker, teacher, therapist, nurse, or lawyer. He shows
how these professionals sometimes recover from it.
Therapists frequently ask their clients what he/she see him/herself
doing in one or five years. Or, what would you do if you had only three