chapter  1
Pages 37

Following a long fallow period, the shame literature entereda season of proliferation. What we have harvested from thatspan of rapid growth is now sufficient that it seems wise to pause and survey the yield in order to consider which beginnings merit future investment. Therein lies the broad incentive for the present work. A more specific impetus has been a personal impression that the recent explosion of shame literature in psychology, psychoanalysis, and the popular culture has begun to exert a reductionistic effect on clinical thinking. Among shame theorists, the centrality of shame as an acknowledged motive force threatens to skew clinical thinking so that shame is recognized to the exclusion of other emotions, and full regard for the complex clinical phenomena with which it interacts is lost. One sometimes gets the sense that shame is the only emotion that drives human behavior, in which case we are headed toward an overcorrection of the emotion's longstanding neglect.