Shadow Work

Often we perceive self development and mindset work as focusing on positive aspects of oneself, thinking more positively, and developing more of the desirable traits of us..

But true spiritual work is focusing on the parts of us that have been suppressed, rejected and pushed away, the parts that we’re not consciously aware of but remains a large part of who we are.


True self development is going deeper, into the shadow, and learning how to love and accept these parts of us, so we can become more connected to who we really are.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” – Carl Jung 

The Shadow is not something you can outrun, just as you cannot outrun the light casted shadow of our bodies.

It will always find a way to manifest itself out onto the surface of our lives even if we aren’t conscious of them, affecting our decisions, thoughts, behaviours, autopilot responses, suppressed feelings and desires.

Rippling into our relationships, intimate lives, social circles, families, careers, health and overall mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

So outrunning is not the answer if we seek evolution, growth and transformation in our lives.

To achieve that we must face our shadow, and learn to love, accept and integrate those parts of us into our being.

This is the process of shadow work. The conscious introspection of self analysis, self witnessing and integration.

Because by forming a partnership with these parts of you, establishing a conscious connection, an understanding and a trust..

We can learn how to use these parts of us that we were taught is undesirable, unacceptable and unworthy.. in a way that serves us.

What is Shadow Work?

The Shadow is the part of us that exists outside of the scope of our conscious awareness. It’s commonly misunderstood as the ‘negative’, darker or evil part of you, which is untrue. There can be positive qualities and characteristics that exist within the shadow that we can be unconscious too.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognised as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.


Example, our ability to express ourselves creatively. When people develop into a society that suppresses their creative expression it can remain dormant in their being, because they were taught that it’s more desirable to be logistical in order to get a high paying job one day to please their parents.

So they become disconnected to the creative expressive part of them, and believe that they do not naturally wield the ability to be creative. Until they unlock that part of them and reconnect with it, realising they had the capability all along.

The shadow is the polar opposite of the persona.

In analytical psychology, the shadow is an unconscious aspect of the personality that does not correspond with the ego ideal, leading the ego to resist and project the shadow. In short, the shadow is the self’s emotional blind spot, projected

The persona is the part of you that you are consciously aware of. How you identify yourself. The mask that you wear whilst navigating through reality.

From our perspective, the persona is what we subconsciously deem acceptable, desirable and worthy.

It’s what we were taught how to be, and how we adapted our personality to give us the best chances of having our needs met.

Example, we develop a ‘nice’ persona, as a way to keep the peace and prevent conflict.

The ‘nice person’ becomes what we display to the world as the persona, but hidden and suppressed beneath it can be a part of us that is scared of speaking their truth, walking on egg shells and suppressing their true thoughts and feelings.

When we are working on something like people pleasing tendencies, it’s easy to focus purely on the value of the persona, how it does keep the peace and how the manipulation of making people feel good does meet your needs. But to truly deconstruct it, at the degree and contexts it runs in, we must dive deeper into the underlying dynamics of it. The Shadow.

What’s beneath the front that is driving this persona, this behaviour, these decisions, thoughts and feelings.

It’s within the shadow you can face the reality of what’s driving your behaviours that no longer serves you.

The part of you who is in fear of making others uncomfortable. So seeks to please them in order to control their emotions.

Rather than being themselves, saying what they want to say, setting the boundaries that will serve them, and being comfortable with making others feel uncomfortable. 

To change the surface we must change what’s deeper.

Just like the human body, the exterior reflects our internal state.

The healthier we are inside, the more that radiates within our entire being.

The healthier we eat, the better we sleep, the health of our heart and strength and flexibility of our muscles, the better our body is held, our skin, our eyes and our posture, the better our overall mood is, the emotional energy that drives our physical being.

The outside doesn’t change without the inside

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes” – Carl Jung 

And shadow work is the inside, it’s the darkness that yet has not been uncovered with light and brought into awareness to then begin integration. 

Signs That You Can Benefit From Shadow Work

  • Dysregulated nervous system – chronic fight / flight / freeze / fawn responses 
  • Emotional outbursts 
  • Overly harsh and judgmental to yourself and others
  • People pleasing 
  • Procrastination 
  • Perfectionism 
  • Self victimisation 
  • Overly responsible for other people 
  • Struggling to communicate effectively 
  • Struggling with self confidence. Over distrust and skepticism in self. 
  • Struggling to navigate through various emotions such as Jealousy, shame, grief, sadness, anger, frustration, rage
  • Struggling to navigate Anxiety 
  • Holding onto resentment towards parents, past relationships and friendships
  • Attracted to Codependent relationships 
  • Addictions

Struggling with these behaviours, feelings and thoughts are signs that there are parts of you running out of the scope of your conscious awareness that are dictating decisions, thoughts, feelings and actions.

Parts of you that are motivated to keep you safe and have your needs met, in ways that clearly do not serve you.

When you understand the positive intentions of these parts of you, why they are thinking, feeling and doing what they’re doing, where it comes from, it becomes much easier to navigate.

Otherwise our way of navigating is centred around self condemnation and judgment.

This is because we judge what we do not accept.

And we do not accept what we do not understand.

Diving deeper into the shadow and getting to know these parts of you will give you that understanding. That understanding will give you acceptance, and that acceptance will meet the needs of these parts of you that are screaming for love.

All these surface layer issues are manifestations of deeper issues, and what’s deeper is a part of you that lies beyond conscious awareness, pushed there into the subconscious so that one doesn’t have to deal with them.

But they always make their way back, we cannot out run them.

Our only choice for true advancement is to face these parts of us, end the condemning and learn how to love and accept them.

How To Embrace Your Shadow Self

At the tribr program we offer different strategies and techniques to connect to the shadow parts of us and integrate them into our conscious awareness.

We use techniques derived from Psychotherapy, Psychology, Neuro linguistics programming, Parts work and Inner Child Work.

Here’s a simple example of how you can begin doing shadow work..

1. Conscious Observer

Become a conscious observer. This means letting go of self judgment and condemnation and instead observe yourself from a lens of curiosity.

From here you can begin to spot any manifestations of your shadow, parts of you emerging through certain behaviours, thoughts and feelings.

When we become aware of these parts of us, it’s a great opportunity to dive deeper into it.

Diving deeper really just means getting to know that part of you more.

When consciously observing your shadow, seek to observe the parts of you that you’d normally shame, judge and condemn yourself for.

What that response is, is a way to suppress that part of us, punish them, and push them out of our conscious awareness.

Instead of that response, enquire deeper into it, and this is what will take us into the next step.

2. Compassionately Enquire

Once you have become aware of a part of you that has revealed themselves, take this as an opportunity to compassionately enquire.

What this means is to enquire into this part of you with compassion, and what that is, is with the intention of seeking to understand them.

You’re not trying to change them, fix them, judge them, tell them what’s right and wrong etc, you’re just simply holding space, listening and understanding them.

Even if that part of you thinks, feels and behaves in ways that to your personified self, deems silly, stupid, unacceptable, poor quality, unworthy etc, this part may be challenging because of how familiar it is for you to judge this part of you, so practice compassion and seek to understand this part of you.

Questions such as:

How do you feel?

What’s your perspective of this situation?

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

What do these behaviours give you?

What do these emotions try to give you?

Why do you feel the way that you feel?

How are you trying to protect me?

How are you trying to keep me safe?

What’s the positive intention behind your thoughts, feelings and behaviours?

These questions may be challenging to ask, due to the confusion that may arise for you in finding the answers, or the barriers and resistance these parts of you have in opening up and sharing. It’s important that you give this practice and time, don’t attempt to expect instant easy answers.

When we do this work with our members at the tribr program, we guide them through it, we provide the safe space for these parts to let their guard down, a non judgmental space where we are all seeking to understand you, so you can understand yourself.

It makes it much easier when you are being guided through this process, so if you’re struggling, reach out and speak to our team, we will love to get to know you more and provide a safe space for you to explore yourself on a deeper level!

3. Uncover The Underlying Dynamics

Once you gain more understanding of a part of your shadow self, you can then piece together the dynamic, the system in which is happening in order to meet your basic human needs in some way.

We call these ‘programs’ which are self preservation strategies, adaptations used to navigate us through reality and ensure our basic human needs are being met.

Some of these look like..

  • People pleasing
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Judgment
  • Worst case scenarios
  • Best case scenarios
  • Over responsibility
  • Under responsibility
  • Skepticism 
  • Distrust
  • External Authority 
  • Internal Authority 

What these programs are, are a set of ways of thinking, feeling and behaving all connected together to form a way of being.

This way of being serves as an automated response to how we perceive the external environment. Whenever we perceive something that confirms we aren’t safe, we run one of these programs as a way to navigate us through it and keep us safe.

These programs all have positive intentions for why we use them, but that doesn’t mean they produce positive outcomes. This is because we may be running them excessively and in contexts that don’t serve us.

These programs often work together with other programs.

For example:

We are running procrastination toward doing a certain behaviour that would serve us to do.. Why? Because we fear failing at it.

So procrastination serves as a way to keep us safe from failure.

We don’t want to fail because of what failure means to us, and what it means is connected to another subconscious program. Perfectionism.

If we fail that means we aren’t perfect. If we haven’t done it perfectly that means we aren’t good enough and therefore, insecure.

So procrastination works to keep us safe from failing, but ultimately, not feeling good enough.

We can run these two programs together, and then upon observing them, judge ourselves as a way to navigate through it.

What does that do?

Further exacerbates the stress, and reinforces a sense of not feeling good enough. 


Because procrastination is unacceptable, it’s undesirable to procrastinate, so therefore it deserves punishment, as a way to prevent it from continuing to happen.

These three programs, procrastination, perfectionism and judgment can work together to formulate the ‘underlying dynamics’ of the pattern.

When you go deeper into your shadow, and allow them to express themselves, and get to know them, you’ll be able to understand what adaptations are being used..

You’ll be able to understand what the underlying dynamics are.

Which is imperative in transformation and change.

How can anyone change anything if they don’t currently know what they have to change?

It’s like calling a plumber to come over and just fix the issue.. without the plumber knowing what the piping system is currently set up as.

Without that information, the plumber won’t know what specific part of the system to change.

The same applies with the vast neural network of your mind and body. 

To transform you must go deeper to understand yourself more, so you can then begin the transformation process.

This process is very challenging, and if you aren’t skilled enough, have enough experience or are not aware of the different programs and how they show up, I would recommend working with a professional. 

It makes the process much faster and enjoyable.

If you want to book in a call to explore your shadow, book here! We’d love to connect with you.

4. Form The Link To Your Past

Once you’ve identified the underlying dynamics, the adaptations/coping mechanisms/programs. 

You can then begin to form links during your life as to when you’ve highly valued using these programs.

Think of these patterns as a chain, that link back to your early years, and the intention is to go through that chain and understand key moments in your life when these adaptations were used to meet your basic human needs.

These chains can link even further back than our childhoods. But to your parents, grandparents and great grandparents childhoods.

So first begin with making the links with your life.

You may not be able to recall all these memories immediately, and that’s ok, because that’s why they’re in the shadow, because these memories may not be memories your conscious mind has wanted to be aware of.

So be patient with this part.

At tribr, we don’t put pressure on our members to recall these memories, as it can take time.

You must feel safe to drop your subconscious walls that have been built to push these memories away. 

So what we do is guide our members to forming links to memories for what they can currently recall.

It may be a few years ago, in the last 10 years, or in adolescence.

Rather than jumping straight into childhood memories, what can make it easier to eventually uncover childhood memories is to begin with what you can currently recall, and then make your way down deeper.

This process can take weeks, months, ultimately it takes an entire lifetime to understand oneself.

The intention behind creating the links to your past memories is to understand why, where, when you valued running these adaptations.

  • How did they serve you in the past?
  • Where did you learn them from?
  • Did you witness someone else using them?
  • What did you experience from your perspective in your past, that meant what it did to you, in order for you to respond with these adaptations?

“It takes enormous trust and courage to allow yourself to remember.”

Bessel A. van der Kolk

This awareness will give you your ability to connect to certain parts of you, the parts of you who believed what they believed at that time, created the meaning of it, and thus formed the adaptation as a way to cope and navigate themselves through that situation as a way to be safe, seen, heard, loved.

And this is what will then lead to the next component of shadow work. 

5. Integrate These Parts Of You With Love And Acceptance

During this process it’s important that you are reaching states of embodiment.

It’s very easy to intellectually express love, compassion, acceptance and empathy without actually embodying that as a truth in our being.

But first, you may find yourself intellectually doing it, until it becomes more embodied. This is also part of the process.

This process is about connecting your mind to your body.

“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

Bessel A. van der Kolk

That’s when it’s not just an idea of loving and accepting yourself, but truly believing it.

During this process of integration at TRIBR we create space for breakthroughs.

We facilitate hypnosis and entrancement to create visceral experiences. Heart felt, genuine embodied openness and love and acceptance.

This creates emotional releases, relief, and letting go of the weight of the emotions that are stored from past memories.

We do this through visualisation of metaphorical ‘parts’ of you.

– The Higher self

– The Inner child

– The Feminine (Mother)

– The Masculine (Father)

– The Shadow

These parts of you are formed into a visual and kinaesthetic experience in order for you to show love, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, validation, understanding and truth to these parts of you.

Led by the higher self, pure consciousness, we teach you how to hold space for you, how to bring yourself back to safety, back to presence, back to your body, your home.

This whole process is skilfully conducted by our shadow work facilitators at tribr.

We hold space in group settings, powerful containers of reflection. releasing, connection, realisations, breakthroughs and healing. 

If you would like to learn more about shadow work, and are interested in joining our community, book a call here below!

How Can Shadow Work Help?

Emotional Therapy can have a profound affect on the lives of its participants.


As the quality of your sleep increases, your emotional state can too.


Quality sleep can lower your risk for serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.


A well-organised sleep pattern can have a positive effect on your daily routine.


Quality rest each night can reduce your stress and anxiety during the day.

Get Your Free Shadow Work Consultation

If you would like a free consultation, or if you have any other questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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