Bob Edelstein, LMFT, MFT: Overcoming Chronic Guilt | Sero Boost #37

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Bob Edelstein, a seasoned psychotherapist from Portland, Oregon

Guilt can weigh heavily on individuals, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-blame. In such cases, practicing self-compassion and reframing negative thoughts can help alleviate guilt and promote emotional well-being.

Meet Bob Edelstein

Bob Edelstein, L.M.F.T., M.F.T., is an Existential-Humanistic psychotherapist based in Portland, Oregon. In addition to being a therapist for over 40 years, he provides consultation, supervision, and training for professionals, including a one-day workshop entitled Deepen Your Therapeutic Work Using an Existential-Humanistic Perspective.

Bob is the founder of the Existential-Humanistic Northwest Professional Organization and a former board member of both the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Existential-Humanistic Institute.

About the episode

Guilt is an emotion that often carries a negative connotation, yet it is an integral part of the human experience. According to Bob Edelstein, an existential-humanistic psychotherapist with over five decades of experience, guilt can be categorized into two main types: chronic neurotic guilt and ongoing existential guilt.

Chronic neurotic guilt can inhibit one’s life and well-being; however, ongoing existential guilt, when approached healthily, can lead to personal growth and improved relationships. This type of guilt is characterized by an inability to let go of guilt, leading to self-criticism and a lack of forgiveness towards oneself, which can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.

Ongoing existential guilt acknowledges that guilt should be a part of the human condition. It involves accepting one’s fallibility, using guilt to improve oneself, and making amends where necessary.

While it might seem counterintuitive, guilt can play a significant role in achieving happiness and joy. Happiness is not a static state but a byproduct of engaging in life meaningfully and serving others. When managed properly, guilt can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and foster connections with others.

Edelstein shared a few strategies on how an individual can manage the guilt they feel:

  • Practice Unconditional Self-Love: Begin by treating yourself with unconditional love and acceptance. This doesn’t mean ignoring the desire for personal growth but starting from a place of self-compassion.
  • Engage with Your Guilt: Instead of avoiding guilt, engage with it. Reflect on the source of your guilt, whether it’s warranted, and how you can learn from it. This can involve journaling, meditation, or discussions with trusted friends or therapists.
  • Make Amends: If your guilt stems from actions that hurt others, make amends. This can lead to healing both for yourself and others involved.

Guilt can hinder authenticity by causing individuals to act out of fear or self-criticism rather than from genuine self-expression. However, according to Edelstein, individuals can move towards a more authentic existence by understanding and managing guilt effectively. This involves embracing life’s joys and challenges, including healthily navigating guilt.

Discussing guilt and other emotional challenges within safe and supportive communities can be incredibly beneficial. Moreover, whether through therapy, group discussions, or conversations with friends, sharing experiences of guilt can lead to collective healing and growth.

In conclusion

Guilt, a complex, misunderstood emotion, can inhibit personal development or create growth and improved relationships. Adopting a compassionate and introspective approach can transform experiences of guilt into opportunities for learning and connection.

Be the first to see our next episode. Follow us on social media to stay updated: 








You can also subscribe and listen to the show on your preferred podcasting platforms:

Apple Podcasts 



iHeart Radio   




Google Podcasts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.