Skip to main content
        Listen to Spreaker

The Difference Between Shame and Depression: Hilary Jacobs Hendel

Having the article It’s Not Always Shame, Sometimes It’s Depression written by our next guest, Hilary Jacobs Hendel, come across my desk was a serendipitous event. We had no idea this article was one of the New York Times most popular articles in 2015. Hilary joins us on Mental Health News Radio to talk about her upcoming book, her work as a counselor, and her time as the mental health consultant for Mad Men.

Listen to the Show!

Questions and Answers from Hilary:

What is the difference between shame and depression?

Depression is a symptom which can be caused by a variety of things: biochemical imbalances and/or environmental stresses/traumas.  Shame is an inhibitory emotion. It blocks core emotions like fear, anger, joy etc. Too much shame can lead to depression and depression can cause shame. It’s complicated!!

b99787_76e045a451e1427a806bdc16d7e0e8c6What publications have you written for?

My articles for the public have appeared in The New York Times, The Good Men Project, and Psych Central. My articles for psychotherapists have been published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy; and Transformance: The AEDP Journal; and on Psych Central Pro.

madmenWhat is your work with Mad Men?

I was hired to consult on anything having to do with mental health. For the psychotherapy scenes, I consulted on how the office should look, maintaining historical accuracy for the whole scene and dialog. I also consulted on the characters development. Matt and I would discuss the ways in which a character’s history and current symptoms might come together.

What is the Change Triangle?

The Change Triangle® is a map for healing. Originally written about by David Malan in the 1970s, then again renamed and written about by Diana Fosha, developer of AEDP, I nicknamed it The Change Triangle. I found the map so personally helpful, I dreamed on educating the general public about it the moment I learned of it at a conference on emotion and attachment in NYC. This was 12 years ago. I’m so excited and grateful that I have the opportunity to introduce this model to the lay public. Why should only therapists have access to something that is universally beneficial.

Link to blog and “What Is The Change Triangle” page on my website.

Why are passionate about what you do?

I was raised in a psychologically oriented family and have been thinking about the mind and how to help myself and others feel better for the last 45 years. Psychotherapy helps people. I seem to have a knack for it. Being a psychotherapist and writing about emotions satisfies all my professional needs: intellectual interest, creativity, personal gratification and fulfillment from helping others. I continue to grow as I help others grow. What could be better than that?  And I get paid for it. I am very grateful.

What brought you to this career path?

I felt I was always meant to be a psychotherapist. My dad was a psychiatrist and my mom was a guidance counselor. I was reading Freud from 7th grade and was immediately fascinated.

The fact that I am writing now is a complete surprise. I never was a writer until my kids grew up.  I needed something to engage in to fill the new found time and mental space I had when my kids left home.  I was “the scientist” in my family, not “the writer.” In fact, I was phobic of writing so much so that I choose my college major, Biochemistry, as much for not having to write papers in addition to my love for science. I started writing more and more to fill my time and got better at it. My first “book” was on step parenting. That book never got published. Then I wrote the article on shame and the New York Times published it. That article went viral. I had no idea it would resonate so strongly with people. It is that article that lead to the book.

What does the future hold for you?

I want to continue my private practice and continuing writing about emotions. I hope to speak, teach and lecture on The Change Triangle so I can share this life changing information with people who are interested and can benefit.

Why have most people not heard this information before?

I have wondered this too.  To me, what emotions are and how they work should be part of high school bio. Knowledge is power, right? This knowledge has circulated among professionals. I easily see the crossover and usefulness to clients, patients and anyone interested in personal development and growth. I see myself as a translator of academic concepts into easy to understand concepts immediately useful to everyone.

What is AEDP, the type of therapy you do and teach?

This model is based in emotion theory, attachment theory, neuroscience, infant mother research and transformation theory. The essence is that healing occurs through processing old stuck emotions with a safe other who can guide and accompany the client/patient through the process. This method of psychotherapy works. I am a trained psychoanalyst in addition to being a certified AEDP therapist and supervisor. I also studied EMDR and many other modalities. I am convinced that AEDP is state of the art treatment. I see it growing far and wide.

What is the difference between mainstream psychotherapy and AEDP?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, CBT, DBT, all focus on thoughts. In traditional therapy, the focus is on the content of the stories. CBT focuses on how thoughts affect emotions. While thoughts do affect emotions, emotions affect thoughts and behaviors more. We know this by studying the anatomy of the brain. Working at the level of emotions and how one experiences them physically accelerates healing and the process fosters lifelong change and skills.

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW is a psychotherapist and author in private practice in New York City. Hilary writes on emotions both for the public and for academic journals. Her New York Times article, “It’s Not Always Depression, Sometimes It’s Shame” was the #1 emailed article on March 10, 2015 and lead to the book Hilary is currently writing on her work with emotions (Random House and Penguin UK, 2017). Hilary also writes for The Good Men Project and Psych Central. She also enjoyed being the Mental Health Consultant to the television show Mad Men. Hilary writes a blog on emotions.




behavioral health, clinical depression, counseling, depression, emotions, healing, hope, LCSW, Mad Men, mental health, psychotherapy, Shame

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy , and you are acknowledging that you have read them and agree by clicking accept.

Yes, I accept!