guest post by Juanita Navarro-Páez, PhD student (she/her/hers)
The Shame and Medicine Project and The Shame Conversation have been collaborating with Charlotte Wu on a project to produce graphic medicine resources designed to teach medical learners about the impact of shame and other emotions in healthcare, medical learning, and clinical experience. Shame Spiral, created in collaboration with artist Hannah Mumby, is the first comic to come out as a result of this project.
Shame is a normal but powerful emotion that, taken to an extreme, can lead medical learners to experience emotional distress, impaired empathy, social isolation, and engage in unprofessional behaviour. The way shame develops has been compared to a spiral, where once acknowledged, the emotion starts to incite more shame, effectively creating a loop, or spiral, of distressing feelings of inadequacy.
The frames in Shame Spiral are representations of the facets of shame and are an amalgamation of multiple real-world shame stories. The images depict the emotional and cognitive processes of shame that tend to happen in private, after other more visible emotions, have subsided.
Since the aim of the project is to design teaching materials, The Shame Conversation has a reading guide that provides prompts to invite reflection around each of the comic’s frames. It also includes a “behind the scenes” section, where you can read about the conceptualisation process behind each frame, as well as Hannah’s artistic process.
We hope you keep an eye on the new developments of this project, and to reach out and participate in creating a shame-aware space!
This project was funded by the Exeter-Duke Collaboration Fund (2020-2021) and an Enhanced Research Award from the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health (2021), University of Exeter.