Dr. Brown has spent more nearly twenty years studying authenticity, vulnerability, shame, courage, connection and worthiness, and the relationship and interaction between them. The research she has popularized forms the basis for the development of Shame Resilience Theory (“SRT”), the first comprehensive model that looks at the “things that get in the way” of happiness and what Dr. Brown calls “wholeheartedness”, an individual’s ability to have a strong sense of love and belonging. SRT integrates an understanding of how each of these pieces fit together, and what stops us from living our ideal lives. Through this work, we can connect with others more deeply, and live fuller and happier lives.
Dr. Brown is on the research faculty at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, and has taught, supervised doctoral students, and conducted her own research, as well as assembling and distilling the work of others into an understandable, accessible and coherent framework.
Recognizing that, in her words, “maybe stories are just data with a soul” Dr. Brown has described herself as a “researcher-storyteller,” and uses many illustrative stories, about herself, her family, and her research subjects, as a means of describing the key elements of the work in a way that is interesting, entertaining, and yet based on credible research by many different professionals that we can directly apply to our daily lives.
Dr. Brown has appeared in three TED talks, and her TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with close to 60 million views. She is the author of three books, “Women and Shame”, ”I Thought It was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power”, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who we Think we Should Be, and Embracing Who We Are”, “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”, “Rising Strong: The Reckoning, the Rumble and the Resolution”, “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”, and “Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts”. She also has a DVD, “The Hustle for Worthiness”, a Netflix presentation, “The Call to Courage”, and a number of audio presentations.
With the help of Robert Hilliker, Virginia Rondero-Hernandez and others, Dr. Brown has also developed several professional training materials, including the Connections Curriculum, a 12 session psychoeducational shame resilience curriculum intended for use by mental health professionals in group settings, and professional continuing education courses “Practicing Empathy with Difficult Clients” and Wired for Connection: Helping Families Develop Authenticity & Resilience in Anxious Times”. She started a certification training program for the Connections Curriculum in 2012, providing detailed clinical instruction for mental health professionals, and in 2013, released a new curriculum and certification program, “The Daring Way”, which was available only to those who took her professional trainings. (The trainings and the Daring Way and Rising Strong curricula are, as of this writing, no longer available.)
Dr. Brown has done more than any other individual to assemble and popularize our understanding of the interaction between shame, authenticity, courage, connection, and vulnerability. Her work is life changing for many who experience it.