A prominent figure during Women’s History Month, as well as in the field of counseling, is Brené Brown, a PhD in Social Work from the University of Houston in 2002. She is well known as a mental health pioneer and shame researcher who studies human connection -the power and nature of vulnerability, courage, and empathy, and how they can be utilized as an “antidote” for toxic shame.
Trauma survivors often experience “Toxic Shame,” and it can persist for years. Trauma victims did not ask for or want to be labeled as such, as what happened to them is unfair.
Brené had to fight to study emotions, as many experts deemed them to be unquantifiable, aka it is impossible to measure the quantity of an emotion. She received quite a lot of pushback and, at times, was not taken seriously because of her research interests as well as for being a woman and a mother, especially in a male-dominated world of psychology.
“I believe that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore… embrace the suck. I try to be grateful every day, and my motto right now is ‘Courage over comfort.’.”Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s Writing
Brené used her willingness to be vulnerable to foster the courage to remain persistent. In time she finally found a mentor that supported her proposed research. Also, Brené adopted the approach of grounded theory: develop theories based on people’s lived experiences rather than proving or disproving existing theories.
Brené Brown has been writing about her research findings regarding shame and vulnerability since 2004. Unable to afford an agent or publisher, Brené borrowed money to self-publish her first book, Women & Shame: Reaching Out, Speaking Truths & Building Connection. In 2007, Penguin Publishing bought and republished Women & Shame, resulting in a revival of its popularity. Shortly after, in 2010, Brené published The Gifts of Imperfection. She also gave one of her most iconic and widely popular Ted Talk on vulnerability.
She has published five books total since 2010. Brené has gone on to start her own podcast, Unlocking Us. Her podcast brought mental health and trauma concepts closer to the public. She also has HBO and Netflix specials, and continues to give TED Talks.
Brené Brown’s books, media, and podcasts not only distribute a wealth of helpful knowledge, but they also share stories of triumph and hope in Women’s History.