Welcome To The 2021

World Championships Of Shame Attacking!

Share Your Shame Attack

Shame Attacking In his 2010 autobiography Albert Ellis wrote “Shame is often the essence of what we call human neurosis or disturbance.”

In 1968 Ellis invented a behavioral method that can quickly reduce or eliminate this toxic emotion – “shame attacking.” My colleagues and I regularly practice this method and prescribe it to our patients. When we find the unwritten rules we have for ourselves repressing our freedom and spontaneity and creating shame, self-consciousness and social anxiety, we can set out to break those rules in a public setting and collect data about what happens when we do. Very often, this data helps us see these oppressive rules are unnecessary for our safety and wellness. We also find that being our silly, rule-breaking selves is a much more relaxed, fun and human road forward. My colleagues and I, shamelessly, share a few of our own shame attacking stories in this post.

In essence, we attack shame by acting in ways that are:

  • Public
  • Harmless
  • Against some oppressive rule we have for ourselves - and would like to rewrite

In his book Ellis gives some examples:

  • Walking into a crowded store and yelling out the time, train-station style
  • Walking a banana down a sidewalk on a long red leash, stopping now and then to pet and praise it
  • Calling out each train stop in a crowded subway car

Share Your Shame Attack

Join Us We invite you to join the ranks of Dr. Ellis and countless other distinguished rulebreakers

We also invite you to induct yourself into our Hall Of Shame Attacking by posting a written description of your rule breaking into the entry form. For video entries, please send your video file to [email protected].  Senior faculty at All Things CBT will read each entry on shameless view below and on July 6th of this year crown the 2021 World Champion Of Shame Attacking. Our shameless champion will receive one hundred US dollars and an invitation to appear on our All Things CBT YouTube channel to discuss their triumph. Our first and second place runners up will each receive fifty US dollars and a one-month subscriptions to our weekly online training and consultation workshop, All Things CBT.

Good luck - and shame on you!

Hall Of Shame Attacking

First NameLast NameLocationEntry
New Orleans ,Louisiana
My shame showed up yesterday as a client I worked with for about 8 sessions decided to end therapy and return to a previous therapist so that he can use his insurance. I goofily shared my happiness that he is returning to an old therapist. It was then I felt the shame. I thought “we didn’t finished treatment and we should”. I was about to start my day with clients and felt uneasy with other negative thoughts that created insecurities in addition to the shame. I wanted to gain my composure so I decided to call my husband to share. I’m sure I would have survived but thank goodness he picked up to listen and support me. I was able to continue with my day of focus and care for my clients. I wanted to share with the world my shame and how debilitating it can be when we keep it to ourselves.
Adelaide, South Australia
I am a Marriage and Family therapist, a psychologist and a Gottman Method Couples Counsellor. I believe we need to have our act together and not work in fields where we are not applying the values and skills we encourage in our clients. BUT I have been married not once, not twice but three times. AND I am currently physically separated from my 3rd husband due to The Pandemic. I have kept this as a shameful secret but in this post disclose all to my TEAM-CBT colleagues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhSRZQw22hw
Ahmedabad, India
Mexico City
Cincinnati, OH
Pomona, California USA
San Francisco, California USA
Pomona, California
Maria Elena
Pmona Valley, California
Here are the Top 5 of my shame attacks! 1 - I went to Baskin Robins and asked if they had any rice balls. The lady at the counter seemed confused but she was really polite in telling me “no”. 2 - I stood in front of a building next to a statue, posing exactly like the statue. People walking by completely ignored me.  3 - I walked up to a guard at The imperial palace and asked where the imperial palace was. The guard told me « It’s right in front of you » with a straight face. He was very polite in doing so. 4 - I went to a gyudon (beef rice bowl) restaurant and asked if I can buy only the bowl. The lady went to ask her manager if this was possible, but she eventually told me no. 5 - I asked « how can I get to Iidabashi station? » at the ticket booth of Iidabashi station. The station staff told me « this is Iidabashi station » in a confused but serious way.
Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada
When I was 10, I went to a camp. At this camp, we had to drink lots of water during the meals, which leads to going to the washroom a lot. My cabin was not close to the washroom, so when I had to go, I had to hurry. One time when I had to go really bad, I made it to the bathroom stall, but my shorts were a little too tight. I couldn’t pull them down fast enough, and all that water that I had drank came running out into my pants. I went and told a camp counsellor, but she told me she couldn’t help me at the moment so I had to go tell another counsellor. She walked me back to my cabin, and after I changed, she took my clothes to the laundry. Later, when my clothes had been washed, and when everyone who was in my cabin was there, a different counsellor came in and asked “Is this anyone’s underwear?” So, I had to go up and grab it, and of course everyone asked about it and I had to tell my whole cabin yet! About a year later, in school we had a project about an embarrassing moment. I decided to write about this moment, but what I didn’t know was that I had to share it with my class. I shared it anyway, because I thought it might make them laugh.
Berkeley, CA
I can not sing at all - when my son was a baby and I sang him a lullaby he would cry harder! So for my shame attacking session, I went to a gas station and sang my heart out for 20 minutes. Some people glared at me but some people applauded me and I even got $10 in tips! The manager of the gas station kicked me out after a while and I survived that, too!
Stuttgart, Germany
While visiting the Porsche museum I asked the ticket person if I could take their 1956 Speedster for a spin. He explained they don't allow the public to drive their cars. So I asked if I could just 3D print a Speedster of my own. He looked confused. "So long as you don't touch ours, I guess that's alright," he said.
Bengaluru, India
I hailed an auto rickshaw in the city center. When it stopped I asked the driver how many Rupees it would cost to ride home and have dinner with him. He looked surprised. Then he said "I tell you sir, the way my sister cooks, I'd certainly have to pay you for that trip."