Kids who grow up in families where emotional needs are not validated and met often develop a deep sense of internal shame for having needs at all. Over time, in order to cope, many of these kids become adults with little or no capacity to experience their emotions (a symptom associated with alexithymia).
Hilary Jacobs Hendel’s work explores how chronic shame is often misdiagnosed as depression. Chronic shame, in fact, may explain some cases of “treatment resistent” depression. Hendel teaches that, through therapy that includes help discovering the physical cues of emotion that remain in the body, people can rediscover their emotional experience, receive validation of their unmet emotional needs, decrease shame, and heal.