I am looking for participants for my research project on shame.
I am in my fourth and final year studying massage therapy at the Akademie voor Massage en Beweging in Amsterdam. As part of my graduation I am writing a thesis where I combine theory and practice to research how massage therapy can help clients to reduce the feeling of shame.
For the practical part I need volunteers who experience shame in some form. They should be willing to participate in 4-5 sessions of massage therapy where we will explore their shame and how that manifests in their body. Sessions will take place in Amsterdam Noord in January, February and early March 2023.
Read below for more information.
Shame cannot survive being spoken about. It cannot survive empathy.
We all feel or have felt shame in one form or another. It is a painful and uncomfortable feeling that we’d rather not address, rather not feel and instead push away to avoid it at any cost. Shame has been studied by many. It’s a very complex topic. It binds with and hides behind other emotions, such as anger, fear, sadness and even happiness.
Emotions have always fascinated me. The word emotion stems from the latin word ‘emovere’, which means to move out or to move through. That means that our emotions are movements that flow through our bodies. We all feel emotions in our body at some point. Butterflies in your stomach when you’re in love, stiff neck and shoulders when the next deadline approaches or a lump in your throat before a presentation. Repressed emotions on the other hand can lead to anxiety, restlessness, depression, etc.
Through massage therapy you can learn to listen to your body and increase the connection between your body and mind. This might allow you to connect more with your emotions so that they can flow more easily through your body. I invite you to explore your relationship with your body, using different massage and movement techniques, breathing, focussing and other body awareness exercises.
From a physiological perspective shame is seen as a blocker or inhibitor to access deeper emotions. It’s like a layer covering an ocean of emotions. Intrigued by this phenomenon, I would like to explore how massage therapy can benefit clients who experience shame. My research questions are:
Can massage therapy help clients to reduce the feeling of shame?
To what extent can massage therapy increase the connection with oneself and does this indeed enable clients to access deeper emotions?
What to expect
During the first session we will talk about your background and clarify your objective (hulpvraag). Where do you hold shame in your body? How do you feel inside your body? Do you feel shame is blocking you in any way? There are no right or wrong answers. It's about your individual experience and your own process. Together we will explore how shame manifests in your body. Depending on your individual needs I will be using different massage and movement techniques, breathing, focussing and other body awareness exercises. The focus is always on the body.
Over the course of January, February and early March 2023 we will have 4-5 individual sessions. Each session will be 75 min in total and take place in my practice in Amsterdam Noord (NDSM).
How to participate
If you like to participate in my research project, it’s important that you experience shame in some form (emotionally or physically). It can be big or small, but you should somehow feel limited by that feeling or have an actual question or a certain objective connected to it. People feel shame for all sorts of things: we might feel ashamed of our body or certain body parts; we might feel ashamed of certain emotions, or for not having any emotions (or the ‘right’ emotions). You might feel ashamed of a specific role you are fulfilling, things that have happened to you or certain choices that you made. It's important to distinguish between shame and guilt. Guilt is a feeling about having done something wrong, shame is about being wrong.
Ideally, you are open and willing to explore your shame. Having said that, I am aware that shame is a very shy emotion, so we will go as slowly as necessary. If you are interested and available please get in touch so we can have a preliminary (zoom) call to see if we click and to clarify if your question is suitable for my research project.
There are no costs involved. I will ask you after each session to fill in a feedback form. I would appreciate if you take the time to reflect and provide honest feedback. I will use your information confidentially and only use your initials in my research report.