Guilt and Shame

Douglas Cowan Psy.D., Counseling TehachapiAbandonment, Anxiety, Guilt Shame, Rejection, Worry

Guilt and Shame

Note to Pastors:  Whether as a pastor, or as a therapist, the most common condition that I have addressed in counseling has been helping people to overcome feelings of “guilt” or “shame” that they have carried for years.  These thoughts can be tormenting, and these feelings can influence both important life-decisions and everyday choices.  They distort the way that we see God, and ourselves.  It is painful to see people struggling through life without any sense of legitimacy or dignity.  This is not from God.


Feelings of “guilt” or “shame” will distort the way that we view God, the people around us, and ourselves.  “Guilt” is about the things that we have done that we wish that we hadn’t.  it is often about having broken God’s law, or our own laws or values.  Guilt is the sense that we have done too much, or have gone too far in our actions.  Guilt is “outside” of us.  It’s about things that we’ve done “out there” in the world.

“Shame” is about who we are.  It is about how we see ourselves, or feel about ourselves at our core.  Shame is about what the things we’ve done says about us as a person.  Sometimes shame is about what other people have done to us, and then how that makes us feel about ourselves as a person.  Either way, shame comes from lies that we have believed about ourselves.  Shame makes us feel that we are not good enough, and that we never will be.  It is the opposite of guilt in that it is rooted in the sense that we have not done enough, or that we haven’t gone far enough.  Shame tells us that we are flawed beings, unlovable, un-fixable, broken.

The remedy for “guilt” and “shame” are rooted in two concepts.  The first is “forgiveness,” and the second is “legitimacy.”  The cross has the power to bring forgiveness, and remove our guilt.  The power of adoption into God’s family removes shame and gives us legitimacy as we move forward. Call our office to set up an appointment to get started with helping your loved one overcome these problems. (661) 972-5953 for counseling in Tehachapi or Bakersfield. Learn more at .

God loves us so much that He sent His Only Son to take upon Himself our guilt.  And God loves us so much that He is willing and wanting to reveal to each of us the secrets of our “legitimacy” and personal value.  Once someone understands and accepts how God actually sees them, and how God actually feels about them – shame melts away.

Douglas Cowan Psy.D., Counseling TehachapiGuilt and Shame