Nearly everyone has a conscience, and sometimes that conscience can be really hard on us. Guilt arises when we perceive that we have done something wrong, or that our behaviour has failed to meet a prescribed external standard. It may be a standard that a particular individual holds, or socially sanctioned standards that we’ve been trained to regard as absolutes (such as fidelity, honesty or bravery).
While guilt provides a useful moral compass that helps keep society ‘civilised’, it is only useful up to a point. When a healthy conscience becomes overactive, guilt stops serving a purpose. It becomes relentless, harsh and punitive, something that drains your energy and holds you back. Nothing is ever good enough.
Are you constantly experiencing irrational, excessive guilt? Guilt can plague you and impact your daily life in ways that aren’t immediately obvious. Uncontrolled guilt can sabotage your career, your relationships, your physical health, and of course, your emotions — without doing anything to remedy the issues you feel guilty about.
Is it time to seek help to overcome your chronic guilt or shame? Hypnotherapy, self hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), counselling and mindfulness therapy are all methods often applied by practitioners to treat this problem. The trained therapists at Bayside Psychotherapy can work with you to start addressing the underlying reasons for your excessive feelings of guilt. We also recommend our targeted self-hypnosis recording for excessive guilt and shame.
Call us on (03) 9557 9113 or use our contact form to book your confidential appointment to see how we may be able to help you address your feelings of guilt.
What’s the difference between shame and guilt?
Individuals who are constantly wracked with guilt often feel enormous shame as well. The terms ‘guilt’ and ‘shame’ are often used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct concepts. Guilt refers to transgression — with having committed a ‘crime’ by breaking a specific rule, or failing to live up to a defined standard. Although guilt is a loaded word, in many situations it is a straightforward fact — like being guilty of tax evasion or failure to do the dishes.
In contrast, shame refers to the feeling of worthlessness or humiliation due to that perceived or actual guilt. Shame can make you feel hopeless, bad, ugly, toxic and unlovable. It is an excruciating emotion, and many people understandably go to great lengths to avoid coming face to face with the shame they have buried deep inside. Shame can also be used to control or manipulate people — whether or not their feelings of culpability are justified. And it’s possible to get into an exhausting cycle of hair-trigger guilt and shame where you feel those emotions for no good reason. Haven’t you felt guilty long enough?
Some people feel such guilt and shame for specific reasons that they fall into a destructive cycle of self-punishment. Because of their shame over the transgression they believe they’re guilty of, they feel that they don’t deserve to be happy. Whether the feelings of guilt and shame are warranted or not, it’s important to seek help when these toxic and fruitless feelings take over your life. Some consequences of chronic guilt and shame can include:
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of satisfying relationships
- Self loathing and self criticism
- Self harming behaviours (including addictions, cutting, eating disorders, and gambling)
- Physical symptoms such as digestive problems or headaches
- Failing to sustain relationships
What is Bayside Psychotherapy’s approach to treatment?
Our counsellors provide online or face-to-face therapy customised to your unique situation. With training and experience in a broad range of treatment methodologies, your practitioner will tailor a program to suit your history, goals and personal preferences. Some counselling approaches we may draw on include mindfulness therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, NLP and Buddhist psychotherapy.
Your therapist will consult with you during the initial assessment and throughout the program to make sure you’re happy with your progress. You can also download a targeted self hypnosis MP3 recording for overcoming guilt to complement your therapy.
Whether the burden you’re carrying is old or fairly new, seeking help may be the most important step towards moving past it to a healthier and happier life.
How long will treatment take?
Although certain clients may find they’re able to unpick the causes of their guilt feelings relatively quickly, this particular problem is often deeply rooted and complex. In our experience, most people who are experiencing intense guilt will need time to feel safe enough in treatment to be able to honestly explore, understand and resolve the issues causing it. Even when the origins and timeline are more clear, it can take many sessions of gentle therapy to change entrenched patterns of thought.
Your willingness to commit to counselling will make a big difference to the duration and success of your treatment. The guilt reflex can be a tough nut to crack, but it is possible with time and patience. The decision to get help and take action is very empowering in itself, and often provides a jump start to therapy. Bayside Psychotherapy provides a safe and non-judgemental environment for your journey out of guilt and shame.
Please call us on (03) 9557 9113 to book an assessment at our Highett clinic or via a secure online connection. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.
If you are ready to begin treatment, schedule your initial session here.
If you’d like to start straight away, our self hypnosis MP3 recording for overcoming guilt can be downloaded here.
Note: Whilst we will do our best to assist you, we rely upon your commitment to and participation in the treatment process to optimise results. Although some of our therapists work with people presenting with this condition, no guarantees of any outcomes can be made.
Reception phone hours
8:30am – 5:30am
Monday – Friday
(closed on public holidays)
Choose your own date and time for an online session
- Monday 8:00am to 8:00pm
- Tuesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Wednesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Thursday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Friday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Saturday 8:00am to 6:00pm