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Coming Out of Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives Paperback – December 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Psychologist and psychotherapist Kaufman (Shame: The Power of Caring, Shenckman, 1981) has been publishing on shame for two decades; Raphael, his life partner of ten years, is best known for his fiction (Winter Eyes, St. Martin's, 1992). Together they present the main features of shame theory based on the work of Silvan Tomkins; they then move on to examine how internalized shame and fear impact on self-esteem, identity, and intimacy, specifically in the life experiences of lesbians and gay men. Maintaining that the self is continuously evolving, the authors offer "reparenting" imagery to transform scenes in an attempt to help make patterns of emotion more visible and thus diminish shame in individuals and relationships, as well as facilitate resolution of such issues as sexual monogamy. The use of humor and examples from case studies help mitigate the text's redundancy. The technical terminology somewhat obscures the many insights in this book clearly intended for the sophisticated layperson. For public collections strong on gay issues.?James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Basing their approach in the psychology of Silvan S. Tomkins, who believed humans are governed by emotions rather than, as Freud averred, sexuality and aggression, Kaufman and Raphael explain how one emotion--shame--affects, overwhelmingly negatively, the lives of homosexuals and what gay individuals and couples can do to transcend shame's ill effects. They neatly dovetail theory, illustrative anecdotes, and prescriptive advice as they exhaustively survey the almost innumerable ways in which shame undermines personal security, happiness, and mental health. If it sometimes seems that the methods they relay for transforming shame into pride are inadequate to the battle with shame they see gays as doomed to fight and refight, at least they themselves, as a couple who have overcome shame in many contexts, can cite their own experiences to argue that specific victories are possible. A singularly intelligent example of the psychological self-help genre. Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Main Street Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385477961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385477963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a young man coming out, my journey of self-discovery started with quiet months of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on about homosexuality and being gay. This book stands out as the single greatest influence during and since that time. The authors have taken a careful and thorough examination of the sociology and psychology of shame as it relates to being gay. The reading is thick, but worth the time to slowly wade through and internalize the material. I found myself saying, "Finally, someone who understands my whole mindset!" I began to change my thinking as I read it. Congratulations to the authors for writing a book so important to the lives of many.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book before giving it to a friend who was coming out because I wanted to make sure it took a position that was sufficiently pro-gay. Coming out is tough and I didn't want to give him a book that would make it any tougher. Not only was it positive enough to give him, but he thought it was one of the most helpful coming out books he read.
What I didn't expect is that the book spoke to me as a heterosexual woman. It turns out that American culture doesn't limit its shame to gay men and lesbians. Women in general are trained to feel ashamed of normal, healthy, human sexuality.
The authors show how shame becomes internalized, so that you don't need anyone else wagging their finger at you--you shame yourself for healthy, human feelings (about a lot more than sex!). This book will be helpful to people coming out of the closet and to most women. Also the authors' personal anecdotes are constructive, funny and helpful. A copy of this book belongs in every coming out gift basket.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm not eloquent enough to tell you about why this book is so good or how it helped me so much, but I do want people who are reading the customer reviews for this book to know that this book made a HUGE and POSITIVE impact on my life--it really helped me combat my inner turmoil over self-esteem and coming/being out. Coming out is one of the hardest things I think any human being has to do--and there are a lot of emotional issues tied up into it, one being this guilt or shame of existing. ("I feel guilt/shameful that I'm gay.") Society burns this feeling into gay and lesbian people's brains. This book will help you repair some of that damage and find your true, whole self. I am so thankful to Drs. Kaufman and Raphael for writing this book--it is truly an important contribution to the literature about coming out and an honest-to-God lifesafer. I recommend this book with all my heart.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By vanessa brown on April 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fro anyone who is struggling with coming out issues, or for anyone who has a gay or lesbian friend or family member this is an ESSENTIAL read. The book deals with the issue of shame that is tied to the coming out of many gay and lesbian people and offers help in getting rid of that shame. Written with compassion, this book gives the reader a sense of freedom and is a gret help in the coming-out process. Highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dandylioness on October 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was one of the first books I read when I first began exploring my own lesbianism, and it was THE book that made a difference for me at the time. Looking back on it several years later, there are some aspects of the book I find a little wishy-washy, but it's still a very good book. The writers display a tremendous amount of sensitivity to the myrad of ways shame can affect LGB people, including how it manifests itself in our romantic relationships. Also, even though the authors are gay men, I felt lesbians were adequately represented in the book. I highly recommend it to anyone in the process of coming out, or to straight people who want to sensitize themselves to the harm caused by homophobia.
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Coming Out of Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives
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