Very often I get the question from people: "What is shadow coaching?" or "What do you do as a shadow coach?" or “Ohh, scary word, shadow… doesn't sound good”.
Many people associate the word shadow and / or shadow coaching with something scary, dark, devilish. To keep it very simple, I answer: "Shadow coaching brings all your pain points to the light so that you can better view, care for, heal and heal them".
Your pain points can arise from experiences, trauma and other external events, but they can just as easily arise from education, learned thinking patterns or even blind spots - aspects within yourself that you would rather not acknowledge.
I will give you an example from my own life. Sometimes I can react very bluntly when someone says something. This often happens to the people I love most. Moments later I regret it very much and I apologize. But why am I reacting so bluntly?
These people are so close to me that they touch my soul. The sense of connection with them is so strong that it can be terrifying at times. I have trouble trusting that they will never (consciously) hurt me and when we come to a very personal part of myself in conversation, the fear strikes that if they start to see too much of my soul, they can also use it later hurt me. So I react bluntly and they pull back. Just like a dog that bites out of fear.
This is happening less and less now because I got to know this aspect of myself. I give it the recognition that it deserves as part of me but because I am aware of it it cannot take over (so quickly) anymore. Of course I would have preferred to believe that it is up to other people but I have to admit that it is a shadow of mine. An aspect of me that I didn't want to see before.
You see, shadow coaching helps you expose your wounds. These wounds are the unconscious patterns that you have taught yourself to fit into life.
If we now look at the example I mentioned above, suppose I was not heard as a child. If I showed something of my sensitive side, people would laugh at me or use it at a later time. In the end I had to take a completely different attitude and bite off myself. As an adult, my learned behavioral pattern to “bite” before being “bitten” is so ingrained that I immediately push away from anyone who wants to get too close.
If we become aware of our shadows, we can also disarm them and make them more harmless. Before we get into that, let's take a look at more concrete examples of what the shadow is.
What is your shadow?
The "shadow" is a psychological term for anything we cannot / or want to see in ourselves. It is all patterns, beliefs and conditioning that "cast a shadow" over your life. These shadows can be caused by a traumatic event, divorce, work circumstances, loss of a loved one and even childbirth.
Where does the "shadow" come from?
Swiss psychologist and founder of analytic psychology Carl Jung dedicated his life's work to the psyche and the pursuit of psychological wholeness.
His theory was that every person is an energy being that can be divided into two:
The “I” that we show to others - the socially acceptable version of our personality
The “I” which is everything that has been taught to us as “wrong” and seen by others. Anything that is unacceptable by another.
In my practice I take it one step further and see the shadows as pain points, trauma and scars that are drawn on the soul. These are also aspects that we would rather not confront and that we press to our subconscious.
What is shadow coaching?
Shadow coaching reveals what you are (unconsciously) trying to hide under the blanket. Any pain, trauma, negative feeling or experience does not disappear, but it can be suppressed so that we find the strength to move on in life. The problem is that from the subconscious mind it can manifest and suddenly pop up at the most unexpected moment, without our conscious mind realizing WHY that particular situation or person had such a powerful effect on us.
With shadow coaching we initiate a process to bring compassion and understanding to our own struggles and pain. We take it to the light so that we can see this better. Only then can we start the process of healing, acceptance and integration.
How do I work?
In my practice I have developed a special method to go through the shadow work process. I call it the Nomadic Journey of the Soul - a journey into your inner kingdom.
Every journey starts at the basement of your palace. It is your subconscious where all shadows hide. During The Nomadic Journey of the Soul, we bring all pain points to the living room one by one and we will distribute them in the different rooms of your kingdom.
Is it an emotional problem? Then we'll treat it in the bathroom. We then use the power of the water element to help you regain control of your feelings and let them flow.
Do you need to be more grounded? Then we go outside to the garden. There you can make more connection with the earth.
Do you often sit on your mind and want to get "out of your mind"? The balcony is a great place to get in touch with your soul.
Are you ready to turn on the fire in you? The fireplace in the living room is a great starting point.
Together we go through your personal transformation process and give all shadows bright, vivid colors.
I hope this article has helped you gain more insights into what shadow coaching is. It is a great way to gain more insights and control over the aspects in your life that form obstacles and obstacles from your subconscious mind.
About the author
Limor Smits is an alternative life coach, shadow coach, spiritual mentor, inspirator and motivator.
In her practice she offers private sessions as well as workshops in groups.
She also organizes monthly fire women's circles and gives various inspiring and motivating lectures in which she shares stories from her personal life and experiences.