Seven Quotes from Psychiatrist Curt Thompson on Shame

by Jeff Haanen

We at Denver Institute for Faith & Work had the privilege of welcoming author and psychiatrist Curt Thompson to Denver. We began with a conversation with pastors on how shame influences our brains, our vocations, and pastoral ministry; we then heard Curt speak at Colorado Community Church to 150 attendees on how to heal shame through retelling a different story about ourselves; he ended his time giving a workshop on shame for therapists in the Denver area.

His combination of neuroscience, psychiatry, interpersonal biology, Christian theology and spiritual formation practices was, well, I’ve never heard anything like it…

The videos of his talks will be available on our Vimeo channel in about a month. Until then, here are some of my favorite quotes from his time with us.

Seven Quotes from Curt Thompson on Shame

1. “Shame is directly connected to your ability to do creative, liberating work.”

2. “Shame was operative in the garden of Eden even before Eve ate the fruit; the serpent introduced it before the Fall.”

3. “We are best able to create, as God does, when we are ‘naked and unashamed’ (Gen. 2:25).”

4. “The healing of shame takes place through the process of being known, through vulnerability in community.”

5. “Pastoral ministry is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Where can pastors go to talk about their shame?”

6. “If you were not afraid of being ashamed, what risks would you take in your job?”

7. “Paying attention to the Holy Spirit is first paying attention to your body, and how your body is responding to shame.”


A version of this post first appeared on the Jeff Haanen’s blog.

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Jeff Haanen

Jeff Haanen is the Founder of Denver Institute for Faith & Work and the 5280 Fellowship. He contributes to various magazines and publications, including Christianity Today. He has previously served as a school administrator, a pastor and missionary. He holds a B.A. in International Economics and Spanish from Valparaiso University and a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary. Jeff attends Littleton Christian Church with his wife and four daughters.