Diana-Mirela CÂNDEA* & Aurora SZENTÁGOTAI
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Romania
Shame is a self-conscious emotion that was recently acknowledged as having a unique contribution to psychopathology, different from that of guilt. Several investigations have pointed out the roles that this emotion may play in the development and/or the maintenance of psychological problems. This article discusses the implications of shame for psychopathology research by focusing on four directions: shame as a predictor, shame as a diagnostic criterion, shame as a mechanism of change, and shame as outcome. We also argue for the relevance of shame in therapeutic practice, and we highlight some particular features which may have a significant impact on successful interventions, by discussing shame assessment and conceptualization, shame and disclosure in therapeutic alliance and ways of tackling shame. Starting from the existing evidence, we point out the gaps in the literature, and offer some future directions and recommendations in order to clarify the role of shame and improve treatment outcome.
Keywords: shame, self-conscious emotions, shame regulation, guilt