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What Does 'Shadow Work' Mean?

Everyone has memories, experiences, and thoughts about themselves that bring them down. These low aspects make up your “shadow” and often live in the unconscious part of your mind. Shadow work can help you bring these aspects to the surface, where they can be healed.

Carl Jung and Shadow Work

Shadow work is a concept that was popularized by psychologist Carl Jung. It is one of his four main archetypes that make up a human’s personality. According to the Journal of Analytical Psychology, Jung’s writings said that the shadow “may be experienced as the regressed and denied ‘other self’ in each individual.”

Unconscious Mind

Jung’s shadow archetype is part of the unconscious mind, which occurs outside of regular, conscious awareness. The unconscious mind processes various elements of our day-to-day lives, including negative experiences and traumatic situations.

According to a 2020 study in Frontiers in Neuroscience, “unconscious processing constitutes a key element of mental function” that is integrated within “broader cognitive-, emotional-, and motivational operations.” It has been used in research and treatment related to “mood-, anxiety-, thought-, and stressor-related disorders,” including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Healing the Shadow

Trauma, a low view of self, and other negative experiences that live in the unconscious can affect the way you think, believe, feel, and act on a daily basis. Traditional Western medicine and pharmacology can often seem like putting on a bandaid to mask a situation. Instead, there are many methods that will help you uncover the root of your shadow so that you can bring it to the surface and heal.

Shadow Work Methods

According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, psychotherapeutic approaches that affect unconscious processing, like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), “hold therapeutic promise for PTSD patients.” They can also be beneficial to anyone who has been affected by trauma, addiction, or mental health disorders.

EMDR therapy involves rapid eye movement while you process traumatic memories. A 2014 study in The Permanente Journal says that EMDR therapy has shown that processing memories of adverse life experiences, like trauma, can result in the “rapid amelioration of negative emotions, beliefs, and physical sensations.”

Other methods that can help you uncover and process the shadow part of yourself include:

  • Breathwork
  • Sound healing
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Somatic therapy
  • Massage therapy and acupuncture

Healing at The Guest House

At The Guest House, we are committed to helping you uncover trauma and other negative life experiences that are holding you back from living your best life. We offer a wide variety of modalities that can help you with unconscious processing, along with traditional modalities like individual and group therapy.

Uncovering the shadow is possible. With the right methods, support, and determination, you can discover joy in life through healing.

Shadow work can help you overcome negative experiences lodged deep in your subconscious. This type of work was popularized by Carl Jung in the twentieth century and has been found to be effective in helping people release trauma and pain. At The Guest House, we aim to help you heal your trauma from the root. We offer a wide variety of healing modalities that can help you get to the unconscious part of your mind, where the shadow resides. For more information, call us today at (855) 483-7800.