Body-language and nonverbal communication

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Shame and psychotherapy in Chinese culture

The Chinese character of shame has two radicals: an ear on the left; and a stop on the right. Literally, anything you don’t want others to hear would be shameful. Shame can be distinguished from guilt: a total self-failure vis-à-vis a standard produces shame, while a specific self-failure results in guilt.1 The universal view of shame states that shame is one of the quintessential human emotions and feelings of shame are the same cross-culturally, which makes a lot of sense to me. Chinese culture values individuals who have a sense of shame, who know right from wrong and who have an awareness of falling short of a standard. In Western society it is not socially desirable to be shameless either, though what brings it about could be quite different. Culture plays a significant role in what precipitates shame, how shame is expressed and handled.

Thus, what is normal in one culture could be viewed as shameful in another. For example, sending aging parents with dementia to a nursing home for Chinese American caregivers is often viewed as something shameful as it violates the Confucian value of filial piety. Chinese families tend to rely heavily on family resources and …………………….

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