Debunking Shame, Part 1

Well, this is awkward. This is my first time logging in to my blog in eight months. Literally, the sentence on my dashboard reads “It’s been 8 months since…” It’s tempting to feel all sorts of shame and embarrassment:

  • How could you just not log in for 8 months?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What about your new year’s resolutions?
  • What about your goals?

To top off those questions, I’m reading a few books on shame and how to deal with that emotion, so now I’m shaming myself on feeling shame. Urgh. Where does the cycle begin and end? I’ll continue this discussion on shame, but I want to update you on where I’ve been the past eight months.

Earlier this year, I learned that my mother’s cancer (multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow) had progressed to the point of her requiring treatment. Since learning of this progression, I have been her full-time caregiver. I haven’t had the time or the energy to craft an article on my blog, and I feel terrible about it. My apologies, especially as I endeavored to supply a weekly list of NCE study terms. While I may have my own plans, God has His, too. I moved home at the right time, and I was at a point in my career in which I could use this time to care for my mom.

Returning to the issue of shame, people often ask me if I have a job, and they try to prod me to find part-time work at least. I mean, I’m a year and some odd months out from having graduated seminary and am not working. Talk about shame. It preys on your circumstances and thrives in the shoulds (“This is where you should be,” “This is what you should be doing,” “You shouldn’t be doing that,” and the list continues.) People have dared to tout these shame-laden words, but to that I respond, “What else should I be doing? Should I just go on with my life as if my mom doesn’t have an incurable form of cancer? Should I have pursued my career regardless? That sure is selfish.”

If I didn’t agree to being her caregiver, no one else would be available to help out, and treatment for my mom would not be possible. Patients who undergo the extensive treatments for multiple myeloma must have a caregiver present with them.

However, when people press me about finding a job, they fail to understand that being a full-time caregiver is a full-time job in regards to the time and energy that it requires. During the short weeks in between treatment, you just don’t have the time or the energy to devote even to a part-time job because of the responsibilities you have as a caregiver.

Shame is such a silly, nonsensical contraption. If we’re walking in obedience to God, He’s not going to punish us. When we experience sharp changes in our plans, God isn’t going to judge us for adjusting to those changes. There is nothing shameful about deliberately choosing to follow God in seasons that are different than what we had in mind.

One thing I know for certain, despite what shame tries to tell me, is that God is faithful. He throws us into community with people who turn out to be your saving grace in crucial circumstances. I wouldn’t be able to care for my mom, and my mom wouldn’t be able to heal, without the prayers, faith, support, and encouragement from those in our community.

I don’t know what you are going through, but I do know that God is faithful and that we can trust His lovingkindness, especially in our toughest seasons. If you’re having to make hard choices, don’t let shame ensnare you. Debunk shame by trusting yourself to make the necessary decisions and by listening to what God says about you.

Thank you for reading. More to come in this Debunking series.

NCE Study Terms

You’ve set out to take the National Counselor Examination so you can continue the process toward becoming a licensed professional counselor. If you’ve visited my other posts, welcome back! If you are new around here, you are in for a treat. Each week I compile a list of study terms to help you prepare for the exam. The best way to use these is in conjunction with other study tools. See my first set of terms for my recommendations.

The more you study, and the smarter you study, the more confident you will feel taking the National Counselor Examination. Even if you are one of those types that doesn’t have to study in order to pass a test, I still recommend studying for the NCE. The reason is because you aren’t only studying to pass a test, but the material that you learn along the way will be helpful for you when you provide counseling services to clients.

Study Tip: Find at least two books to help you prepare for the exam. Challenge yourself to complete at least 100 practice questions a day. You can break these up into smaller chunks, but just make sure you reach your goal for the day.


  1. Latent vs. manifest content
  2. Reliability
  3. Mean
  4. Johari window
  5. Autonomy vs. shame & doubt
  6. Standard deviation
  7. Working Stage
  8. Milan systemic family counseling
  9. All-or-nothing thinking
  10. Disintegration
  11. Aptitude tests
  12. Paradoxical intention
  13. Keirsey Temperament Sorter II
  14. Authoritarian vs. authoritative
  15. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  16. Universal ethical principles vs. law & order
  17. Adlerian vs. Rogerian
  18. Gestalt vs. Freudian
  19. Duty to warn
  20. Thought stopping
  21. Rorschach Inkblot Test
  22. HIPAA
  23. Enmeshed
  24. DSM Criteria for depression
  25. Individual psychology
  26. Conditioned stimulus
  27. Career salience
  28. Speed vs. power tests
  29. Identity diffusion
  30. Quasi-experiment
  31. Priviledged communication
  32. Linking
  33. Congruence
  34. Fixed ratio vs. variable ratio
  35. Validity vs. reliability
  36. Biofeedback
  37. Acculturation
  38. Task approach skills
  39. Midbrain
  40. Correlation coefficient
  41. Five-Factor Model
  42. Third party payments
  43. Delegative vs. democratic group leader
  44. Activating event
  45. Tertiary oppression
  46. Gatekeeping
  47. Occupational Information Network
  48. Structural maps
  49. Closed vs. open group
  50. Gilligan’s theory of moral development

For more study terms, check out my previous posts:

50 NCE Study Terms

51 NCE Study Terms


15 Journaling Prompts


Journaling is one of the best ways to get in touch with yourself. I journal daily, and it helps me process the events of the day. Sometimes I journal by writing down whatever comes to mind with no filter. Other times I prefer to have prompts to guide my writing process. Here are fifteen journaling prompts to use when you journal. Some are serious, but most of them are fun.

  1. What are your obstacles right now? The things that are preventing you from attaining what you want out of life, what are they? What will it take to overcome those obstacles? Name at least five and be specific with your answers.
  2. Pick one object that inspires you for today. Pick a tangible, meaningful object that gives you hope and write about it. Focus on it for the day.
  3. Suppose that there is a bubble around you that goes everywhere you go. Describe this bubble. Think of what its boundary is composed of, who is in the bubble with you, and the messages you constantly tell yourself or hear other people saying. Is this bubble a positive or negative thing for you? Is it one that you need to get out of or is it healthy?
  4. Write a letter to someone who has offended or hurt you. Don’t send it to them, but write everything down that you would want to communicate to them.
  5. You and some passengers on your cruise get left behind on a secluded island. Write about what you will do during your time in the island, how you will survive, and how you will get off the island. Nothing is off limits.
  6. Design a business plan for a nonprofit organization. What kind do you want to create? How would you secure funding?
  7. When you have bad days, what do you wish people would say to you to encourage you?
  8. What songs would be on your playlist while climbing Mt. Everest?
  9. Write a screenplay about a subject you’ve never heard of or had experience with before. Who would play the leading and supporting roles?
  10. Suppose this wasn’t the last season of Downton Abbey and you’ve been cast in the show. Which role would you play and why? Would you be an existing character or a new character?
  11. Suppose you have an enormous library in your home. How do you categorize your bookshelves? How do you style it?
  12. What needs to happen in your life to make it closer to what you dream about?
  13. Which type of food best describes your personality? What dishes does it contain?
  14. Write a travel guide for your favorite destination.
  15. Suppose you were chosen to speak to a group of college students. What would your topic and outline be for your talk?

It’s Not Your Fault

It’s not your fault. Repeat after me, “It’s not my fault.”

  • It’s not your fault that he cheated on you.
  • It’s not your fault that she abused you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were abandoned as a child.
  • It’s not your fault that your parents got divorced.
  • It’s not your fault that your father hit you.
  • It’s not your fault that your partner left you.
  • It’s not your fault that he hit your child.
  • It’s not your fault that she manipulates you.
  • It’s not your fault that they threatened you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were abused.
  • It’s not your fault that you were traded.
  • It’s not your fault that you were used.
  • It’s not your fault that you were lied to.
  • It’s not your fault that you’ve been bullied.
  • It’s not your fault that people talk bad about you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were kidnapped.
  • It’s not your fault that you have depression.
  • It’s not your fault that you have bipolar disorder.
  • It’s not your fault that you hallucinate.
  • It’s not your fault that you have that diagnosis.
  • It’s not your fault that you were taken advantage of.
  • It’s not your fault that he kept going when you said, “Stop.”
  • It’s not your fault that she wouldn’t stop when you told her to.
  • It’s not your fault that they verbally abuse you.
  • It’s not your fault that he emotionally abuses you.

Please know that whatever situation you are in, you are not alone. This season will NOT last forever. Seek help. Find helpful resources. Talk to someone you trust. Speak out.

Many people experience circumstances in which they become scared to talk. You might be in a situation where you feel in danger or where you have been in danger. If you are immediate danger, call 911. If you need a safe place to go, your country or state likely has a hotline that you can call.

Dangerous Words: Book Review

Title: Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Author: William Glasser, M.D.

Dear Dr. Glasser,

Thank you for your work and contribution to the field of therapy and mental health. It is important for people to know that they can control their own behaviors and that they can heal their present relationships. I am certainly an advocate for empowering clients to take control of their lives. However, there are a number of points that you bring up in this book with which I disagree, and in the interest of people who struggle with real mental disorders, I feel the need to express where I disagree. I tried, I really tried, to wrap my brain around what you were trying to say, but I just do not see what you see. This article is not a critique of choice theory or reality therapy as a whole. It’s a critique of your work regarding the notion that psychiatry can be dangerous for one’s health.

Where I Disagree with You – The Myths you Believe

  • Mental disorders are due to unhappiness. When you say this, it reminds me of people in my faith community who try to ascribe mental illness to sin. Maybe at the core of mental illness is a simple explanation for its existence, but what surrounds mental illness is a shroud of icky stuff that isn’t so simple. Until we have a clear understanding of that simple explanation, we are left to deal with the icky stuff, the stuff that isn’t so easy to understand. While people who have mental illnesses may be unhappy at times, unhappiness itself is not the single explanation for the existence of mental disorders. Mental disorders have a range of sources of their etiologies.
  • People with addictions are only treated using brain drugs. A therapist knows better than to recommend a drug addict take more drugs in order to treat the addiction. Who in their right mind would think that thise is a good idea? Addiction is treated through a multifaceted approach, and the client and therapist can choose the best options for his or her recovery.
  • Being around people solves all of your problems. If you told introverts that the answer to all of ther problems was to spend time with more people, they would run for the hills. Sure, it’s a great plan to strive for healthy relationships, and we all could do better in this department. We certainly need healthy people in our lives to help us process the daily pangs of life. However, if someone hallucinates while driving a car down a six-lane interstate during rush hour, he or she places the lives of other people in danger by not taking something for it. You mean to tell me that all you would tell this person to do is be happy and the hallucinations will go away? This sounds irresponsible.
  • People choose their total behaviors; people choose to depress. Do you choose to be sick? Does someone choose to have cancer? <– Try telling that to the five members of my family who were diagnosed with various forms of cancer in a four-year period of time. Do you choose to have a cold? No. You don’t choose any of this. Similarly, do people choose to hallucinate? Does someone choose to lack energy or an appetite? Do you choose to get revved up all of the sudden? No. Now, there is research to indicate that fears can be learned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person chose to be afraid of a certain object. I definitely think that people can make choices to heal from their mental disorders, but I disagee that the etiology of a disorder originate from someone choosing to hallucinate, to experience symptoms of depression, or to have any other mental disorder.

While your book tries to provide an explantion of mental illness, it ends up causing more harm than good. If someone with a severe mental disorder reads your book, it might prevent them from getting the help they need. You need to place a disclaimer at the front in which you explain that your view of treatment is not the only option, because it isn’t. You say that nothing in this book will harm a reader, but it can end up hurting someone who is timid already when it comes to asking for help, and this might prevent him or her from healing from a mental disorder. Again, thank you for your contribution to the field of mental health.

Sincerely with the Utmost Respect,


P.s. I’m not writing this because I fear that your model of treatment will cause people not to seek counseling. I’m writing this because I genuinely feel that your book might do more harm than good.

51 NCE Study Terms

How’s your studying going? Are you feeling overwhelmed or confident? Here are 51 terms to study. They are divided up by terms and people. Use them in conjunction with other study sources. Note that many of these concepts are not just beneficial to know in order to prepare for the test; they are also ideas to keep in mind for counseling.
*Study tip: don’t just skim or limit yourself to a summary understanding of these terms and the concepts in your study materials. Make sure you learn them until you get tired of studying it. If you don’t feel tired of the material, you’re probably not studying it in the depth that you need to study it.


  1. Narrative therapy
  2. Double-blind study
  3. Schema
  4. Formal operations
  5. Pica
  6. Parroting
  7. Laissez-fair group leader
  8. External validity
  9. Therapeutic contract
  10. Consent form
  11. Stages of group counseling
  12. Identity crisis
  13. Genogram
  14. z-score
  15. Consultation
  16. Reparative therapy
  17. REBT
  18. Egocentrism
  19. Construct validity
  20. Reinforcement schedules
  21. Unconditioned stimulus
  22. Platykurtic distribution
  23. Trait-and-factor theory
  24. Extroversion
  25. Defense mechanisms
  26. Homogeneity
  27. ANOVA
  28. Scattergram
  29. Industry vs. inferiority
  30. Confidentiality
  31. Token economy
  32. Transference
  33. Anal stage
  34. Splitting


  1. Harry Harlow
  2. James Framo
  3. Millard Erickson
  4. William H. Masters
  5. Virginia Johnson
  6. Frank Parsons
  7. Edgar Schein
  8. Edmund G. Williamson
  9. Donald Super
  10. Gilbert Wrenn
  11. F.H. Allport
  12. J.P. Guilford
  13. Alfred Binet
  14. Anna O
  15. Little Albert
  16. Raymond Cattell
  17. Gerald Caplan

For more study terms, check out my previous post 50 NCE Study Terms.

A Few of My Favorite Things


A Stunning Sunset   

A Stack of Books

A Glass of Cold, Sweet Iced Tea
A Wall of Quotes  

A Bountiful Supply of Letter Stickers  

Letters Cutout from Books

 A Bouquet of Fresh Flowers 

A Sweet, Little Cupcake