Shame and Medicine Exeter
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Hiding in shame: the history of the early Dutch family movement in psychiatry

22 November 2021

Once upon a time, a young Dutchman emigrated across the Atlantic in hopes of making his American dream come true. Some decades later, he was indeed a successful businessman, a millionaire, and respected in the highest circles. Grateful to his…


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Controlling fertility, reproducing shame: UK policies and reproductive injustice

1 November 2021

Many people think that government interference into peoples’ reproductive choices is largely a thing of the past, or only occurs in countries with repressive governments. Given this widespread assumption, you might be surprised to read some recent UK headlines: “Guidance…

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What does it mean to live and work within a culture of shame?

11 October 2021

The speaking voice in my ears paused and then, with a soft breath, started to sing. I stopped in surprise. The daffodils I had watched peek through the peat and grow into spindly budded things were blooming bright yellow along…

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Samuel Beckett’s blushing body of work

21 September 2021

Embarrassment is shame’s awkward cousin. At least, that’s the story told by many theories of emotion. Shame is a feeling that floods our whole being, that colours us to the core. Embarrassment is skin deep. Sweats, stutters and blushes –…

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Understanding Experiences of Weight-Related Shame in Clinical Experience

25 August 2021

Research shows that many people living with obesity experience weight-related shame in clinical practice. Unsolicited weight-loss advice from GPs, medical equipment that fails to accommodate larger body sizes and concerns about being judged for their weight by healthcare providers are…

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How I Came to Study Shame and Humiliation in Finnish Healthcare

5 July 2021

  The medical field is not where my own career path exists. I came to know the field from another point of view – from being the daughter of an ALS patient and a member of a family who has…

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Shame-Sensitive Dental Care for Patients with Complex Lives: Part II

6 May 2021
Towards Shame-Sensitive Dental Practice Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise runs a Community Dental Clinic in Plymouth for vulnerable people, including those who are affected by homelessness and who have drug and alcohol addictions. We aim to work in a trauma-informed way,...Read full article


Shame-Sensitive Dental Care for Patients with Complex Lives: Part I

27 April 2021

  Shame and Dentistry: Considering the Impact of Vulnerable Individuals’ Experiences People with complex lives and complex needs related to homelessness or other severe disadvantage are no strangers to shame. Many will have experienced judgement regarding their economic situation, literacy,…

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Shame, Stigma and Social Threats in Experiences of Chronic Persistent Pain

22 March 2021

  Avoidance of clinical care is common for those who experience shame and stigma often to the detriment of care procurement. This avoidance can be an effort to protect from further shaming. For those who experience chronic persistent pain (CPP)…

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Shame and Hormonal Contraceptive Mental Health Side Effects

11 March 2021

  The development of the first hormonal contraceptive in 1960 was considered one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, and worldwide it has continued to pave the way for sexual freedom and reproductive choice. Besides family planning,…

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Shame across Times and Spaces: Women’s Experiences of ‘Virginity Testing’ and ‘Re-Virginisation’

17 February 2021

  ‘Virginity testing’, which refers to the medical or non-medical practice that is expected to determine the existence of the ‘hymen’, has been covered by a wide variety of media outlets in the last few months of 2020. We have…

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Shame and the formation of the professional medical identity

2 February 2021

“Is doctor something I wanted to do or something I wanted to be?” – Emily Silverman “Shame becomes inevitably bound up with the process of identity formation which underlies man’s striving for self, for valuing, and for meaning. The experience…

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Shame and Self-harm: Association and Avoidance

7 January 2021

In Imogen Tyler’s recent monograph, Stigma: The Machine of Inequality, she opens the introduction with a vignette describing her conversation with Stephanie, a woman who talked about her experience of joblessness, poverty, and housing and unemployment benefits. The vignette is…

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Public Humiliation and PTSD in World War I Veterans

4 November 2020

Disabled Ex-Soldiers, the Police and the Exeter Magistrates The difficulties that First World War ex-servicemen, particularly those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experienced in civilian life have been researched and discussed specifically in the context of their medical treatment. Less…

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Shame and Cynicism in Medical Novels

16 October 2020

Alongside the official textbooks of the medical curriculum, there appears a second canon, a hidden curriculum. Consisting of essays, films, folktales, jokes, novels, plays, poems and television shows, this repository is a refuge, a place where doctors and other healthcare…

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Shame, Stigma and COVID-19

22 September 2020

Shame and stigma have been prominent features of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stigma, in particular, has been identified as an urgent issue related to COVID-19 by health organizations worldwide, including Public Health England, the CDC and the WHO. Stigma negatively impacts…

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Shame Regulation in Organisations: How and Why Doctors are Shamed

27 August 2020

Organisations are created with a purpose. In order to fulfil that purpose there needs to be forms of control within the organisation over the workforce. This post discusses the significance of shame as a disciplinary force explaining how and why…

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Asian Shame and Addiction

20 August 2020

Having had the opportunity to read about shame in academic literature in more depth and detail, I became increasingly interested in learning about shame in relation to different cultural backgrounds, especially migrant and minority-ethnic groups in light of my past research…

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