December 12th 2014
In DBT, we often target shame as a secondary emotion, which can accompany any number of primary emotions. Avoidance and escape are natural action urges in response to shame. The desire to leave unpleasantness behind us, to distance ourselves from the things about ourselves and our lives that are uncomfortable, is intuitively understandable. Simutaneously, this avoidance can interfere with one's ability to fully participate in their own "life worth living". DBT uses exposure compassionately to treat shame, based upon the context of the shame. Regardless of context, reduction of shame requires a willingness to be vulnerable while experiencing emotional disocomfort. Cultivation of that willingness to experience discomfort is a key part of skill development in DBT. It's willingness that leads to acceptance, and acceptance that leads to freedom from suffering.