1st Edition

Shame and Grace Six Essays on Falling Apart and Becoming Whole Again

By Patricia A. DeYoung Copyright 2025
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    Shame silences our stories, crushes our spirits, and cuts us off from our hearts.  How can we give voice to what has happened? Might we fall apart into suffering that would heal us? Could we honour desires we’ve disowned for a lifetime?  How do we gather up our battered parts of self with tenderness? Could grief and love restore our hearts to us?

    Having written groundbreaking theory about the developmental genesis of chronic shame and its treatment in relational psychotherapy, Patricia DeYoung returns to speak from her heart about what it’s like to inhabit a life of shame. In six essays, she writes of the essential impasses of chronic shame: silence, dissociation, isolation, the abolition of desire, the imposition of right and wrong, and ending life without meaning. Each impasse deserves a story.

    DeYoung’s stories of an ordinary life start with getting born and end with getting old. They open up crucial questions: Does the shame we suffer mean we’re as worthless as we feel, marking miles on a hard road to despair? Or does the longing beneath our shame mean we may hope for true connection and a chance at grace? Her essays privilege our longing and the difficult but powerful grace of being real and being-with. 

    In this book, shame theory meets memoir and meditation. Therapists, patients, and self-reflective readers from many walks of life will be moved and changed by time spent with this master clinician, thoughtful mentor, and fellow traveler.

    1. Shame and Writing  2. Shame and Falling Apart  3. Shame and Relationships  4. Shame and Desire  5. Shame and Being Right or Wrong  6. Shame and Getting Old


    Patricia A. DeYoung, MSW, PhD, is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in Toronto.


    “Patricia DeYoung has given us a brave and honest book, a work of psychoanalysis without jargon, a challenge to learn about and converse with our own chronic and acute shame. Her personal stories make this book hard to put down. It is a significant gift and deserves a wide and fearless readership.”

    Donna Orange, PhD, PsyD, author of Nourishing the Inner Life of Clinicians and Humanitarians and Psychoanalysis, History, and Radical Ethics: Learning to Hear

    “In this book, Patricia DeYoung, a psychotherapist and author who learned long ago that shame is the elephant in the room, explores the role of parental and cultural shaming in her childhood. She is honest about its potent effects yet merciful toward its purveyors, herself included. She understands that shaming can become a family custom, cascading down generations in ways that trap and injure both children and parents. Perhaps most importantly, DeYoung shows how we can light the exit from this ruinous cycle by being kind.”

    Martha Sweezy, author of Internal Family Systems Therapy for Shame and Guilt