Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Phil 4:13 (The Message).
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by Hayne Steen, MAMFT

Lately I have been most aware of the soul crushing power of shame. Many of the things that keep us from doing the necessary work of processing heartache are wrapped in shame. Brene' Brown is a researcher who has devoted a great deal of time and effort to making sense of shame. She recently spoke on the TED stage saying,"If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive. The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: me too." 

"In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness." (Psalm 31:1, NIV)

One of the things that can make the counseling process so powerful is that, by design, it is a shame free environment. There is an explicit freedom in the counseling relationship that allows for brokenness, raw honesty and boat loads of vulnerability. Why is vulnerability so important? Because it is the gateway for real growth, insight and change. Entering into a counseling relationship demands ruthless trust and risky vulnerability.

It is my deep desire for folks I have the honor of sitting with to be offered an intentional space where they can be consistently reminded of their incredible dignity. Three ways I hope demonstrate this are through
 (1) a genuine warmth, (2) a holy curiosity, and (3) empathy. The first two are pretty straight forward. We all benefit from someone who is warm and listens to us. But why empathy? Brene Brown reminds us that, "shame is an epidemic in our culture. And to get out from underneath it, to find our way back to each other, we have to understand how it affects us and how it affects the way we're parenting, the way we're working, the way we're looking at each other...we have to understand and know empathy, because empathy's the antidote to shame."

Shame has never been the sound of God's voice. Of all the ways that God could have strategically gone about winning our hearts back to Himself, He seems most committed to the work of restoring us to our original dignity. When we experience the tenderness of Jesus, we are introduced to our dignity. Brennan Manning reminds us in this audio clip of our inherent value and worth. Not an ounce of shame can be found in the love that God has for you. 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Refer a Friend

Did you know that for every friend you refer to me (who also shows up and pays for their first appointment) I will offer you one FREE counseling session? 


It is not uncommon for many people to view the work of counseling like they might an oil change in their vehicle. Once the engine is running more smoothly they make occasional appointments to check in and anticipate break down. Feel free to email me directly of you would like to reconnect at

Reading List

Are you looking for some reading suggestions that will help assist in your own work away from our time together? 


Do you know of a ministry or marketplace leader who could use some time away to rest and recovery from the throws of a busy schedule? Feel free to share about The SoulCare Project with them. 

The SoulCare Project


3069 Broad Street, Suite 7D
Chattanooga, TN 37408


Call Hayne directly 
at 423.290.3510

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As a client of mine at Elbow Tree, may this monthly email bring you terrific encouragement.

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