From Oedipus to PACE, using the concepts of shame and guilt as golden thread

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Beckmann, Klaus Martin
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2016
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Abstract

Objectives: To demonstrate that antiquity’s concepts of shame and guilt developed in their meaning over the centuries and can still have practical applicability in psychological therapies these days.

Methods: To review shame and guilt in philosophy, history, ethics and psychiatry contexts. Within limitations, a narrative is presented, starting with Oedipus in antiquity, visiting several important philosophical theories and ending in the present time with, for example, Dan Hughes’ PACE model for therapy.

Results: The first part expands on selected ideas presented in Melvyn Bragg’s 2007 BBC radio programme entitled ‘Guilt’; the second part adds selected therapeutic models where concepts of shame and guilt play a role.

Conclusions: Shame and guilt are archaic but quintessential concepts that already occupied thinkers in antiquity. Shame and guilt are concepts that preoccupied science and art over the millennia and continue as useful concepts to the present day. Moreover, shame and guilt, as concepts, continue to play a salient role in recent and contemporary psychiatry.

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Australasian Psychiatry

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24

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12

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Subject

Biomedical and clinical sciences

Psychology

Other psychology not elsewhere classified

Shame

Guilt

Philosophy

History

Psychological therapies

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