A Shadow Work® process starts when a facilitator asks, “What would you like to have happen?” (In a group seminar, there are always at least two facilitators present, and in a coaching session, there might be one or two.) You can then explain in your own words what you want for yourself. And if you’re not sure what you want, the facilitator can listen carefully and help you determine what it is that you want.
Generally, people want something that falls into one of these categories:
To understand why they behave in a certain way;
To get help or support for unfolding more of themselves;
To work with feelings like fear, grief, or anger;
To break through old patterns of behavior.
Using the Shadow Work® tools, the facilitator helps by reconstructing your issue, so that you can identify the shadow and view it objectively. The facilitator suggest perspectives about the shadow and can facilitate powerful techniques for re-integrating the energy that has been in shadow. The facilitator will ask for your choice at each step, so that what you want guides the process. No one is ever pressured to go beyond their own comfort level.
In a group setting, Shadow Work® processes only begin after a strong sense of safety and trust has been built among group members through carefully designed group exercises. Exposing parts of your shadow can feel risky. To effectively work with your shadows, you need a place where you can feel safe and trust others. Shadow Work® provides you with such a place.
Because Shadow Work® is experiential—that is, you learn through experiencing while you have the guidance and support of a skilled facilitator—it is sometimes difficult for someone who has never experienced one to imagine what a Shadow Work® process would be like. If you’d like to know more, here are some options:
The Tombstone Process CD contains a deeply moving visualization of a Shadow Work® process that could change your life. The voice of skilled facilitators Cliff Barry and Mary Ellen Whalen, the founders of Shadow Work® and creators of the Tombstone Process, guide you step by step to help you release something that is painful or difficult in your life. A visualization CD is an easy, inexpensive way to get a taste of Shadow Work® in the privacy of your home for only $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
The 2008 book about Shadow Work®, Practically Shameless by Alyce Barry, describes four of Alyce’s own Shadow Work® processes.