The Shame Factor by Dr. Stephan Poulter

Healing Minds' purpose is to give you insight and information into improving your mental health. I interview experts in the field of wellness and they provide valuable information based on many years of experience.

My interview in this episode is with Dr. Stephan Poulter, a licensed clinical psychologist, and author. He can be found on Instagram @dr.steve_poulter His website is:

Here is Dr. Poulter's background and the questions he answers in this episode.

Enjoy the interview and please like the episode and follow the podcast. This is the only way in cyberspace to continue to provide this positive podcast and move forward with the project.

Stay tuned for more interviews with wellness experts and women who have undergone their healing journey and living with a positive purpose.

Thank you.


In this episode, I am going to interview renowned Los Angeles clinical psychologist, author, and speaker, Dr. Stephan Poulter.

Dr. Poulter has been in practice since 1991, treating adolescents and adults.  He has written books such as The Father Factor and The Mother Factor and is a big advocate of guiding one’s journey of healing toward self-acceptance.

His latest book is The Shame Factor. He states that “Self-loathing, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and self-destruction all come from the same well of the shame-driven personality.  The emotional poison in your well is your shame, not you.”

He believes that shame is often misdiagnosed as anxiety and depression and there should be a separate diagnosis created for shame.  Many people’s issues are from fear and anger which shame breeds.  This is when a person’s core self feels defective.  Fear that you are not good enough and anger that you are not capable.  Our core self feels defective leading to the depression never getting better and being in that chronic state of not feeling good enough.  The power of self-acceptance creates a shift to get to the core issues.

Interview Questions

We are going to talk about your latest book, The Shame Factor and how shame impacts women.

1.  What is your meaning of the word “Shame”?

2.  Why is shame an important emotion to work through?

3.  You state that “Men externalize their toxic shame.  Women internalize their toxic shame.”  Can you give us some examples on the gender differences of shame?

4.   We talk so much about how bad shame is, but there is also good shame. You state that “Good shame is purposeful and empowering.”  Can you give some examples of good shame?

5.  There are seven classic triggers of the shame cycle. They are:

a. Fear of Embarrassment

b. Feeling Angry, Invisible, or Worthless

c. Imposter Syndrome

d. Feeling Isolated

e. Suspicious

f. Fear of Intimacy

g. Fear of Criticism

Many of us have experienced several of these triggers in our lives.  Let’s discuss a few of these triggers and how it impacts a woman's life, and one step they can take to work on the trigger.

a.  First, imposter syndrome which is a term we have heard of multiple times.  How does it hinder a person’s growth? Can you give one way to improve this trigger? b.  Another trigger of shame can be fear of intimacy, please share more about this. c. How does the fear of criticism trigger shame?

6.  You also discuss the journey within oneself or reaching your core self.  “All inward journeys start with fear and end with you being empowered.”  Before self-improvement can happen you first have to accept yourself.  Can you briefly discuss your five-step acceptance process?

a. Roadblocks within you b. No perfectionism-life is messy c. Accepting change in your life-It's not personal d. Taking personal responsibility for your life e. The power of empathy and self-forgiveness

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