On whether the viral “shadow work” method for improving our well-being is as good as it’s thought

Generation Z has made it very fashionable but the truth is that according to experts in psychology and psychiatry, it is not a method for everyone because it can endanger our mental health.

Literally translated shadow work is “work in the shadows”, because what it tries to do is work with the dark side that we all have. #shadowwork has had over 2.6 billion views on TikTok, but the concept isn’t new, though, thanks to Keila Shaheen’s book, ‘Light your shadows. Diary of Accepting and Moving Beyond Your Dark Side‘ Which has become so popular.


Now “Shadow work” has become fashionable among Generation Z but the truth is that it is not without risks Many people ignore it while talking about its benefits.

What is the “shadow work” method?

According to the Society of Analytical Psychology, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung was the first In defining “shadow” As “That hidden, repressed, mostly inferior and guilt-ridden personality whose ultimate influence reaches back to the kingdom of our animal ancestors”.


Jung was deeply interested in the shadow, in its form and content, and in the process of assimilating “what one does not want to become”. And that’s exactly what Shaheen points out in her book, which defines the shadow as “an aspect of you that you are not fully aware of.” Introspection is necessary to discover this, because many people suppress those hidden parts of themselves. To avoid facing that dark side.

Shaheen claims that engaging in shadow work will lead to positive outcomes including healing generational trauma, increasing compassion, setting boundaries, and “getting unstuck.” The holy grail of personal development which has been echoed by other authors such as Kelly Bramblett with books like ‘leave your shadows,

Is it a good idea to seek our shadows alone?

In the book, in addition to teaching us how to “illuminate” our shadow and see it, it also gives us self-guided exercises and writing suggestions, something like journaling, in the author’s words, this is what she is looking for. “Confront these repressed parts of ourselves and integrate them” and “shed light on the darkest corners of our psyche to bring healing, acceptance, and wholeness.” i.e, By seeing all that is inside us, good and bad, and accepting all that we are, we achieve the desired personal growth., But how true is it? And is it safe to do it alone?

The truth is that if we think about exploring the darkest parts of our being, the traumas, the drama that happens to us… it seems absurd to do it alone. In fact, Dr. Willow Jenkins, psychiatrist and director of psychiatric emergencies at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, told MedPage Today He Shadow work is not for everyone and is not a substitute for mental health treatment from trained professionals.

This whole path is exploratory and the work will bear fruit, but it is always more appropriate to have a professional with us to give us protection and support, because in that introspection a lot of pain will come to the surface and may not be easy to solve. Manage. Furthermore, “there is a stark difference between someone who is relatively well mentally and wants deeper understanding, and someone who is struggling with mental illness and wants treatment,” Jenkins said. If there is childhood trauma, no matter how many books we read, we will not be able to heal it.

Jenkins further explained that if one engages in self-directed journaling, “it may take time away from proven and effective treatments,” and for people with mental illness or past trauma, even guided journaling There may also be a lot to process on your own. Furthermore, he points out that “This type of work was always intended to be done with a therapist, as it involves confronting difficult aspects. And, in a certain way, in the sense of the shadow, the negative of the self.

Jenkins said, “Whenever a psychological term really becomes mainstream and everyone is researching it, it’s important to realize that it’s a very specific type of therapy that’s usually for a specific type of patient. It’s very personal.” “And that’s one of the concerns that arises when a very individualized treatment is recommended for everyone.” i.e, This is not something for everyone.Far from it, like Iria Reguera already explained to us what is happening with meditation and mindfulness,

And for those who don’t know, Shaheen does not have an advanced degree in psychology or psychiatry, that is, he has no training in it, no matter how viral it has become, and some therapists already know its author. Doubt the authenticity.

Acknowledging your negative emotions is a good and necessary thing for true emotional self-regulation.But exploring trauma without psychological help can be very dangerous, no matter how fashionable.

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Photos | TIC Toc @nixxypixxyy And @rainbownomad_jess

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