Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Soul of Shame:
Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves
by Curt Thompson, M.D.
"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
"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