Healing of the Shadow Self*
A concept and workshop first presented at the annual conference of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology [ACEP] San Diego 2010
Healing of the Shadow Self
[Phil Mollon ACEP breakout
To see the powerpoint slides presented at the ACEP conference, click here
Extending Jung's original
concept, I propose that the shadow self is:
- Psychological content
- An archetype
- An energetic structure
Note that these are speculative hypotheses, embedded within the broader concepts of energy psychology
In content, it is a vessel for all that is
repudiated from the main personality - including all the 'dark' aspects of the
psyche, but also all that is overwhelming and terrifying.
In appearance, it may take the form of
something ugly, demonic, angry, and destructive. When healed, it can appear
very beautiful. For example, one woman pictured her unhealed Shadow Self as a
pile of dung and rotting material - after healing, she saw it a beautiful
shining diamond that she was happy to take into her stomach as a comforting
As an energetic structure, it exists in a
reversed parallel dimension. It has its own chakra system, partly connecting with that of the main personality [there are further details too speculative to be stated here].
- The Shadow Self is a vessel of disowned
and repudiated 'dark' aspects - but energetically it is parasitic on the
main Self. In its unhealed state, it pursues its own angry and destructive
agenda, wrecking the life of the main Self. It may function as a channel for parasitic
- The Shadow may contain what is most repellent
to the conscious personality/Self. It may be located, through projective
identification, in an other person in the subject's life. This projective
identification can be located through muscle testing the statement
"there is a part of me that is like that person".
- Some religions may intensify the Shadow
Self, through repressing aspects of human nature, particularly in its
- The Shadow is a necessary vessel to
contain the dangerous aspects of Self that cannot yet be integrated.
- In a damaged state, the Shadow Self may
be a center of intense energetic reversal – generating pervasive
‘psychological reversal’ and reversals of conscious morality.
- In addition to its accumulation of
psychological content (repudiated aspects of the psyche), the Shadow may
also be fed by energetic blockages and distortions – such as inherited
miasms or acquired damage to the energetic system.
- The Shadow Self can be healed, using
ordinary energy psychology modalities. It is necessary to identify the
Shadow, ascertain whether it is willing to be healed, correct this as a
'reversal' if necessary, and then work through the meridians and chakras
to heal the traumas and fears of the Shadow Self. Sometimes it is also
necessary to issue an 'apology' to the Shadow for misusing it as a dumping
ground for unwanted psychic contents. Similarly, the Shadow can be
‘thanked’ for bearing the foreclosed aspects of the psyche.
- The Shadow will not be healed through
the energy work with the main Self since it is a partially separate
structure – just as dissociated parts will not participate in energy
healing unless addressed specifically.
- The Shadow can be identified by muscle
testing a statement such as "there is a part of me that want to
sabotage my life" or "a Shadow Self that ..."
- Once healed, the Shadow can be
integrated with the main Self.
- Probably most or all human beings
initially have a Shadow Self until it is healed and integrated.
- If the Shadow intrudes or merges with
the main Self in an unintegrated state, harmful, or even catastrophic
consequences, may ensue. These may include dramatic and unbalanced
personality changes, psychosis with destructive voices, obsessive
compulsive intrusive thoughts, and sometimes somatic illness.
*[A gentleman called Ross Bishop e mailed me, out of the blue, drawing my attention to a book he wrote with the title Healing the Shadow. Mr Bishop claimed he owns copyright on that phrase and objected to my use of the term Healing the Shadow Self. On googling copyright law, I could find nothing to substantiate his claim that his use of a form of words in a book title could somehow prohibit the use of similar words by others in different contexts. I may of course be mistaken, but Mr Bishop did not respond to my request for documentation of his claim. The words 'self', 'shadow', and 'healing' are all in common use - and the Jungian concept of the psychological 'shadow' is the subject of a large literature. Moreover, there are many books on psychological healing that include the term 'shadow'. Mr Bishop appears to reside in California, whereas I am in Hertfordshire in England UK - so I would like to think the world is big enough for both of us. I have only once presented a workshop with the title Healing the Shadow Self - at an ACEP conference breakout session in 2010. I never repeat ACEP workshops, preferring always to present what is most new and fresh in my thinking and exploring. Nevertheless, in view of Mr Bishop's sensitivity on this matter, I have modified the title of this page to Shadow Self Healing, and the relevant phrases at the top of this page to 'Healing of the Shadow Self'. I have not read Mr Bishop's book - but I see it is available from Amazon and Mr Bishop's website is www.rossbishop.com]