EMDR for Shame & Guilt

The association between chronic or relational trauma and intense feelings of shame and guilt is both profound and often misunderstood. Individuals who have experienced such trauma frequently find themselves grappling with these overwhelming emotions, feeling imprisoned by deep-seated feelings of unworthiness or regret. This connection is crucial to acknowledge, as it sheds light on why these intense emotions persist despite a rational understanding of oneself. 

Fortunately, there is hope. Effective therapeutic trauma-informed approaches help individuals understand the origins of their emotional responses, fostering self-compassion and enabling a journey towards a more fulfilling and self-compassionate life.

Rid Yourself of Deeply Seated Feelings of Shame and Guilt

Overcome shame and guilt by addressing underlying stress and anxiety through CBT, hypnotherapy & EMDR.

Rebecca Hoffenberg, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist
Shame, guilt & social isolation
EMDR, trauma-informed & mindfulness
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Irada Yunusova, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist
Guilt, shame & rumination
EMDR, EFT, attachment-focused, & DBT
Read more
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How We Work with Shame & Guilt

The internal struggle with shame and guilt is characterized by a relentless inner critic that constantly undermines one’s sense of self-worth and value. This battle is often hidden, as people may feel embarrassed or afraid to disclose these feelings, leading to a sense of isolation. Over time, unaddressed shame and guilt can contribute to a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and issues with self-esteem.

Our therapists, Clinical Psychologists with expertise in addressing deeply seated shame and guilt, offer a comprehensive approach to treatment that acknowledges the complex relationship between relational trauma and these emotions. They utilize a range of evidence-based therapeutic techniques, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), to support healing and recovery.

The goal of therapy is not just to alleviate symptoms but to guide clients in overcoming the profound impact of deeply rooted shame and guilt. By integrating EMDR with other therapeutic modalities, they empower individuals to confront and work through their internalized shame and guilt, leading to a significantly improved quality of life and emotional well-being.

"Shame and guilt are intense emotions that profoundly affect a person's life, often resulting in a challenging and persistent internal battle. By collaborating, we can develop strategies to unravel these complex feelings, enabling individuals to live more liberated and fulfilling lives."

Our Specialists in EMDR for Shame & Guilt

Dr. Rebecca Hoffenberg

Clinical Psychologist

Rebecca specializes in addressing the complex issues surrounding shame and social isolation. Her approach is deeply rooted in the understanding that these emotional challenges are often intertwined, with shame frequently leading to a withdrawal from social interactions. She employs a combination of relational EMDR, trauma-informed practices, and mindfulness techniques to create a therapeutic environment that is both healing and empowering.

Her work primarily focuses on helping individuals explore and process feelings of shame, which can be a significant barrier to forming and maintaining social connections. By utilizing EMDR, she assists clients in confronting and reprocessing traumatic memories or experiences that are often at the core of deep-seated shame. Through her comprehensive and empathetic treatment, Dr. Hoffenberg guides her clients towards breaking the cycle of shame and isolation, paving the way for improved self-esteem and more fulfilling social interactions.

Read More about Dr. Hoffenberg

Dr. Irada Yunusova

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Yunusova’s expertise centers on treating individuals struggling with guilt and obsessive-thinking patterns. She focuses on helping clients who are burdened by guilt, whether it stems from past actions or is tied to intrusive, obsessive thoughts. Through CBT, she works with individuals to identify and challenge the distorted thinking patterns that fuel guilt and obsessive thoughts, replacing them with more balanced and constructive thinking. ACT plays a crucial role in her therapy, as it encourages clients to accept their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting or feeling overwhelmed by them. This approach fosters a more mindful and accepting attitude towards one’s experiences.

Dr. Yunusova employs EMDR when addressing traumatic or deeply rooted experiences that contribute to ongoing feelings of guilt and obsessive-thinking. EMDR aids in processing these memories, reducing their emotional impact, and enabling clients to move forward.This combination of approaches empowers her clients to overcome the challenges associated with guilt and obsessive-thinking, leading to greater mental well-being and an improved quality of life.

Read More about Dr. Yunusova

How EMDR Helps Individuals Overcome Shame & Guilt

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective therapeutic technique particularly useful for addressing the complex emotions of shame and guilt. To understand its impact, it's essential to first define these emotions. Shame is a deep-seated feeling of being inherently flawed or unworthy of love and belonging, often internalized from negative experiences. Guilt, on the other hand, is the emotion experienced when a person believes they have done something wrong or failed to meet their own moral standards.

EMDR targets the root causes of shame and guilt, which frequently stem from past traumatic or distressing experiences. These emotions can be tied to specific events or a series of incidents that have left a significant emotional imprint on an individual's self-perception and self-worth.In EMDR therapy, clients focus on traumatic or distressing memories while engaging in bilateral stimulation, typically through eye movements guided by the therapist. This process facilitates the reprocessing of these memories in the brain, helping to diminish their emotional intensity and impact. As a result, clients can start to view these memories and themselves in a new light.

This shift in perspective is crucial in dealing with shame and guilt. By processing the painful memories and experiences, individuals often find their feelings of self-blame and self-criticism lessen. They begin to understand that their worth is not determined by past events, and that mistakes or negative experiences do not define their entire being.

Through EMDR, individuals grappling with shame and guilt can experience relief from these overwhelming emotions, leading to increased self-compassion and a healthier sense of self. This therapeutic approach not only alleviates the symptoms but also addresses the underlying causes, paving the way for lasting emotional healing and personal growth.

FAQ About EMDR for Shame & Guilt

How does EMDR work for treating shame and guilt?

EMDR helps by allowing the brain to reprocess traumatic memories that are often the root cause of deep-seated feelings of shame and guilt. This reprocessing can diminish the emotional impact of these memories, enabling individuals to view past events and themselves in a more forgiving and compassionate light.

What can I expect in an EMDR session for shame and guilt?

In an EMDR session targeting shame and guilt, you can expect to identify and focus on specific traumatic memories related to these feelings. The therapist will guide you through bilateral stimulation exercises while you recall these memories, helping your brain to reprocess them.

Do I need to have a specific traumatic event in mind to start EMDR for shame and guilt?

While it can be helpful to identify specific events, it's not always necessary. EMDR can also be effective in addressing more generalized feelings of shame and guilt that may not be tied to a single identifiable event.

Can EMDR eliminate feelings of shame and guilt completely?

EMDR aims to reduce the distress associated with shame and guilt and to help individuals reframe and understand their experiences. While it may significantly reduce these feelings, it may not eliminate them entirely, as emotions are a natural part of the human experience.

How do you incorporate EMDR when it’s done virtually?

We offer our sessions both online and in person in our Soho Office. When done online, we use a HIPAA-compliant video service alongside an EMDR specific video service created to aid in the implementation of EMDR.

Ready To Rid Yourself of Shame & Guilt?

Embark on a path where self-compassion and liberation from fears and phobias converge. Let us guide you towards a more serene state of mind, fostering a harmonious relationship with your thoughts and reactions.