Profound and lasting change from within

What Is Shadow Work®?

Shadow Work is a way of transforming parts of your character that you'd like to change. Based on compassion and understanding, it offers an effective way to balance these different parts. Shadow Work® includes a set of facilitated processes which allow you to explore and change almost any behaviour pattern. By providing a profoundly respectful setting, it allows people to learn and evolve slowly, safely, without confrontation or pressure, and with full choice. Shadow Work® offers effective ways of accessing the value in our shadows so that we can use more of our full range of gifts to achieve what we really want in life.


The term ‘shadow’ was first used by psychologist Carl G. Jung to describe parts of our self that are hidden from our view. Early in our lives we suppress parts of ourselves because we are told, or decide that, they are not acceptable. These parts might include what are often considered difficult feelings such as fear, anger and sadness. We also may suppress our joy, self-expression, or self-belief. As we mature we may become more aware of the costs of suppressing these energies or shadows and seek to regain their power, as we sense that there may be light in the shadows which would benefit us if we could uncover it. Our professional, personal and relational experiences can all be impacted by the effects of hiding, denying or suppressing what is within us.

Shadow Work® was developed over 30 years ago by Cliff Barry and Mary Ellen Blandford. They integrated and correlated their work with other disciplines such as Gestalt, Voice Dialogue, Accelerated Learning, Metaphor work, Bio-Energetics, Family Systems theory, Addiction Recovery work and other personality systems such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Enneagram. They are indebted to the pioneering work of Robert Bly, Robert Moore and Doug Gillette, David Grove, Ron Hering, and Hal and Sidra Stone.

How we build trust:

On a Shadow Work® weekend, or whilst working one-to-one, we take time to build a safe 'container', looking at and experiencing aspects of the Archetypes talked about below. There are also opportunities for the attendees to do a piece of individual work, with others participating in their processes.

We believe that much of the power of process work comes from the use of symbols. For some reason, we humans need symbolic, ritual containers in which to process what happens in our lives. We seem to need places where we can act out parts of ourselves without suffering the consequences of our actions. In this way, we can learn about ourselves before we have to be responsible 'for real'. We may need to simply feel our emotions. We may need to 'dump' our hostility towards someone we love, so we can sort through it all and confront them cleanly later. We may need to express our desire to kill in a place where it can do no harm. Like children, we still have a need to play with life, because that's one of the best ways for all of us to learn.

In a symbolic container, we can also find the gold in our shadows, precisely because there are no consequences for our actions. If we were to act out our shadows in real life, we would be so busy dealing with the consequences, and in some cases the shame and guilt as a result of our actions, that we would never get a clear look at the energies inside ourselves. We need symbolic, ritual containers in which we can face ourselves without facing all the rules of the world at the same time.

Profound and lasting change from within