Shadow work and healing the inner child

In the realm of therapy and self healing, your “shadow” is a term used to describe those parts of yourself that are at odds with how you typically see yourself, or typically behave. Your shadow is often the part or parts of you that you may be trying to repress, hide, or avoid. These hidden parts of yourself might be parts that you deem undesirable, maybe angry or lazy or otherwise awful. Your shadow may also be influencing your actions and behaviors in ways you’re not fully aware of. It is also important to be aware that it may not be you attaching this “awful” label to those parts of yourself, it may be the society and culture around you.

Where do these pieces of you come from? Often from trauma that occurred in childhood. Because of that, it may be difficult to feel whole if you are continuously repressing, or hiding, your shadow, and as such, one must work on healing those childhood traumas in order to confront your shadow, address those parts of your being, and balance those traits with the parts of you that you udo present to the world around you.

Doing the work to confront your shadow involves confronting your pain and past experiences; a scary task, and one that you shouldn’t do alone. Tackling shadow work with the guidance of a therapist is a safe way to ensure that you are not alone as you address potentially triggering memories, but rather that you are confronting these things in a structured environment with appropriate guidance. A therapist can help you to relate your childhood experiences to your current behavior and presentation, and can help you figure out the best ways to address that relationship. A therapist can guide you in practices such as journaling, or altering your internal monologue to begin healing. Most importantly, a therapist has the tools necessary to help you identify and acknowledge parts of your subconscious that need to be addressed as part of this shadow work; parts of you that you would be otherwise unable to address without the assistance of this safe, impartial other party.

While difficult and scary to begin, working towards confronting your shadow, addressing those painful parts of your life, particularly those that occurred in childhood and prevent you from tapping into those fun loving, childlike parts of your personality now,  is the only way to create a life that allows you to feel fully balanced, and at peace. Making such landmark life changes is an enormous task, and you deserve to feel supported during the process. There is no one better equipped for such work than a therapist, and no safe space to do it than regularly therapy sessions.

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