Shadow Work

Mark, modified 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 6:58 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 6:58 AM

Shadow Work

Posts: 550 Join Date: 7/24/14 Recent Posts
Reading Meeting the Shadow edited by Connie Zweig & Jeremiah Abrams. The book is a collection of short extracts from the work of various authors. The last section briefly mentions several techniques for working with the shadow. I pulled together some notes mainly from that part of the book. Perhaps others will have techniques to add to this thread.

William A. Miller
There are at least five effective pathways for traveling inward to gain insight into the composition of our shadow:
  • soliciting feedback from others as to how they perceive us
  • uncovering the content of our projections
  • examining our “slips” of tongue and behavior
  • consider our humor and identifications
  • studying our dreams, daydreams, and fantasies
Ken Wilber
Identifying the shadow: if a person or thing in the environment informs us, we probably aren’t projecting; on the other hand, if it affects us, chances are that we are a victim of our own projections. Undoing a projected emotion:
  • Realize that what we thought the environment was mechanically doing to us is really something we are doing to ourselves - we are responsible
  • Reverse the direction of the projection itself. Thus “Everybody’s always looking at me critically” becomes “I’m an interested critic of people”
  • Deliberately and consciously increase any present symptom to the point where you consciously see that you are and always have been doing it, whereupon, for the first time, you are spontaneously free to cease.
Projected traits are simpler to tack back because they do not involve a direction. Projected traits are those items we “see” in others that strongly affect us. Usually these will be qualities which we imagine another to possess and which we utterly loathe, qualities we are always itching to point out and violently condemn. There is no need to “reverse the direction” so the focus is on realizing we are the cause of the loathing etc.

Robert Bly
Write about the archetypes you want back (to integrate)

Nathaniel Brandon
Guided session confronting a parental figure from one’s death bed

Hal Stone
Technique of Voice Dialogue used in psychotherapy

John Bradshaw
In voice therapy patients are taught to externalize their inner critical thoughts.A similar method is to keep a diary of defensive over-reactions. Then identify the underlying voice then enter into a dialog with that voice.Another method form Gestalt therapy he calls Tracking Down The Inner Critic. This game has been called the “self-torture” game.

Barbara Hannah
The greatest use of active imagination is to put us into harmony with the Tao, so that the right things may happen around us instead of the wrong. Active imagination gives us the opportunity of opening negotiations and coming to terms with forces in the unconscious. The idea is to get in touch with the subconscious giving it an opportunity to express itself in some other way e.g. drawing, painting, writing, movement, dancing.

Linda Jacobson
Exploring Jung’s techniques of active imagination, you can use the images you “see” during guided visualizations to gain access to parts of yourself that have been closed to conscious awareness. Draw the images, you can develop a series of images of your shadow. A few exercises for working with that shadow:
  • Do a drawing that integrates your shadow into the rest of your persona
  • Do a written dialogue with your shadow drawing to find out what it needs
  • Do a drawing of yourself from the shadow’s point of view
Deena Metzger
A series of questions, imaginal exercises, to engage the shadow through writing and developing characters and stories.
Jake , modified 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 10:41 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 10:41 AM

RE: Shadow Work

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Cool stuff. I enjoy, periodically, Robert Bly's "Little Book on the Human Shadow". I also have gotten a lot out of Robert Johnson's book 'Inner Work' which lays out a solid method for dream work which I've gotten a lot of traction out of and will be starting up again in the next few days with a recent dream. Johnson's book is more about getting in touch with the unconscious in general, of which the shadow is an aspect/facet. Other prominant aspects which I have found in my explorations are 'the Self' (archetype of wholeness) and the anima/animus (inner gender opposite).
Mark, modified 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 11:02 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 11:02 AM

RE: Shadow Work

Posts: 550 Join Date: 7/24/14 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
Other prominant aspects which I have found in my explorations are 'the Self' (archetype of wholeness) and the anima/animus (inner gender opposite).
Interesting, I did not think of an architype of wholeness. I've seen mentions of anima/animus with the impression that shadow work should come first. I've often seen remarks about shadow work being complimentary with buddhist practises but have not seen anything regarding anima/animus. Would be keen to hear how you see anima/animus relative to buddhist practises.

I wonder about the relationship between some aspects of the shadow and dark night. Going out on a limb here... one could imagine the shadow getting very upset if it thinks spiritual practise is going to surpress it even further.
Jake , modified 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 2:29 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/8/15 2:29 PM

RE: Shadow Work

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
And well it should ;) 

I think I alluded before to my sense that Ken Wilber really distorts the thinking of the people he picks ideas up from. In the case of Jung there is a wealth of primary and secondary material by the man himself and his direct and indirect disciples which I found personally very useful. I wouldn't equate Wilber's 'shadow' with Jung's. 

In (my interpretation of) Jung's system the whole thing is about a process of unconscious wholeness --> conscious fragmentation --> conscious wholeness. Individuation. Phase three isn't static, so the process is fractal and non-linear but in some sense is also embedded in a finite linear process with very concrete shifts in one's way of being, relating and experiencing. The process, from the point of view of phase two, is partly of linking back to unconscious wholeness. This can occur through these major facets of the unconscious that I listed and other archetypes. Remember, they all manifest in various modes, too, not just as inner felt imahes but also inexplicable feelings we have about certain people, places and things and even in synchronistic emergence of events, people, things etc. 

I think being open to it unfolding in whatever way and order it does is very important. The first step is the conscious identity explicitly recognizing that it is the tip of a mysterious iceburg and may not know itself very well at all... so how is the conscious identity (ego, in Jung's terms) going to know what order these archetypal forces are going to be encountered? ;)