You, Me, We?
This chapter looks at shaming and feeling shamed, which are inevitable in couple therapy and have a profoundly negative effect on intimacy. To create safety, the therapist must be fearless and able to stay present with vicious cycles of blaming and shaming. In Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO), therapists pay close attention to protectors whose bastion against shame is shaming inside (other parts) or outside (the partner), and therapists work to unburden them as well as the parts they have savaged. Shame protectors, who focus inward and outward simultaneously, are shapeshifters who are capable of taking on varied, numerous roles to try to prevent or distract from shame. Being vulnerable, the hallmark of progress in therapy, is a great risk for couples because the partner is a potentially hostile witness and the therapist is relatively unknown. Conscious awareness of and differentiation from the disowned parts who carry the burden of shame in the internal system is critical.