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The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves Paperback – August 26, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 541 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Who would want to embark on an expedition into the unknown and painful regions of our own soul where evil has caused disharmony and disintegration in body, brain and heart? But this is what Curt Thompson invites us to do. Like a skillful surgeon encouraging us through a difficult but necessary procedure, he works to set us free from our old stories in which shame holds us captive to the common, core fear of having our inadequacies exposed. Naming that fear is the road to healing and hope, not only in our own soul but also in our marriages, families, communities, churches and places of work. 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 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, psychotherapist, professor of practical theology, director of counseling, Covenant Theological Seminary)

"Curt Thompson critiques shame as an elusive phenomenon, hiding in the shadows. In The Soul of Shame, using a theological lens, he drives shame into the light by framing it as a ubiquitous and intrusive force that creates chaos in the mind, isolation in relationships and suffering in the soul. Since shame is relational, he locates healing in nurturing communities rather than the isolated self. Everyone will be enlightened by this illuminating analysis, entranced by the elegant language and filled with hope by the availability of communal healing." (Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Making Marriage Simple and Getting the Love You Want)

"First and foremost, Curt Thompson is a wise, kind and generous guide through the foul thicket of shame. No word or topic sends people hiding more readily than shame, yet it is the brooding, merciless killer of joy in all our lives. Curt weaves biblical wisdom, neuroscience research and powerful stories into a covering that doesn't hide our shame but enables us to name what is keeping us from freedom and wonder. This is a magisterial work―thoughtful, compelling and transformative." (Dan B. Allender, professor of counseling psychology and founding president, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology)

"There is a beautiful freedom in moving without fear into the science of the mind and soul. To assume that God is good, that his word and work in the world are real, and then to assume that there is much to know about the physical science behind his work is, to me, a thing of honest beauty. I am blown away by Dr. Thompson's ability to so completely integrate the narratives of science, faith, the ever-raging battle between good and evil and the human experience. In addition to my own struggles, I can think of several close friends whose shame-filled narratives cause much heaviness and sadness. I am inspired by this book to continue to carry my 'stuff' into the light, and to help others do the same." (Sara Groves, singer-songwriter)

"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)

"Under the rapid-fire pace of modern life, Dr. Curt Thompson provides laser focus to the dynamics of the human soul and especially the crushing weight of untreated shame. With the heart of a pastor and the training of a surgeon, Dr. Thompson excavates layers of shame and then demonstrates their life-destroying aspects when left untreated. His training in psychiatry and medicine and his love and commitment to the life and spirit of Jesus uniquely qualify him both to diagnose and treat the ailment while pointing us to the one and only source of true life. Every individual who suffers under the weight of shame will benefit from this important book." (Gayle D. Beebe, president, Westmont College)

"Though shame often exerts hidden, destructive power over us, The Soul of Shame invites us to find freedom with each other and in God's story of love for us. Curt Thompson weaves together experience, insightful stories, science and Scripture to invite us into a story of healing and flourishing together. This excellent book will help to guide my thoughts and relationships for a long time." (Kent Annan, author of After Shock and Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle)

"Curt Thompson has written a book that is both truthful and honest: honest about our self-diminishment and truthful about alternatives. He is a shrewd observer of human reality and reads the Bible in knowing and compelling ways. The result of these qualities is a book that is potentially transformative and emancipatory for many readers. An important byproduct, in my reading, is the recognition that the church has spent much too much time on the issue of guilt. The move from guilt to shame is a move from rules that may smother to relationships that may hurt but that also have the capacity to heal. This is a wise book that knows about our present tense and our possible future." (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary)

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.

Product details

  • Publisher : IVP Books; International Trade Paper edition (August 26, 2015)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0830844295
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0830844296
  • Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 9.02 x 0.59 x 6.1 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 541 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
541 global ratings
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Mark Meynell
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read on the subject
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 6, 2016
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Rajé
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and empowering
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2017
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aa0287
5.0 out of 5 stars I heartily recommend.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 10, 2017
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shame matters.
Reviewed in Australia on July 27, 2018
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livinginthepark
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I have ever read
Reviewed in Canada on June 14, 2019
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