Shadow Coaching


argyle.BWshadow.LR  300x201 Shadow Coaching

As a coach it is not my philosophy or point of view that matters. This is about you, for you, from you. 

I act as a guardian of what you want to happen. I listen to what you say, what issues you want to resolve, and ask questions. My position is not to judge you or moralize or tell you what to do. The questions are part of a process to differentiate parts of you that may be in direct conflict. For instance someone might say (consciously or unconsciously), ” I feel my sexual fantasies are sick or immoral.” Or in another perspective, “I don’t think I’m sexy or attractive enough to be desirable. Or, “I am too shy to ever act out my fantasies.” These statements reflect that a part of you is likely holding very strong judgements of the part of you that desires pleasure and intimacy, and these judgments will hold a certain power (shame or guilt) to repress the fantasizer. This phase of the coaching process identifies and explores the parts (personas) that are in conflict. I might ask, “What does the sexual fantasizer feel about the parts of you that thinks you are sick or immoral, or too shy or not sexy?” In my experience as a facilitator in these processes, it is not too difficult for someone to allow these parts to have a voice and express “their” feelings. They are real parts that have distinct personas. They can be “split” off from the parts that hold them back and if they feel “safe” can speak freely. This may lead to a dialogue between the parts in conflict. The insights gained and the clarification of what each part wants can be highly beneficial to find resolutions that honor the legitimate concerns of both parts. It is not uncommon to discover that the strong judgements that one part has of another has an origin in your past, usually in childhood, and the judgment will invariably be connected to some traumatic event with an associated feeling component such as fear, shame, guilt, or anger. The pathway in this process is from the head down. It isn’t about just talking or thinking the conflict through, though this aspect is not excluded. The path is about going down deeper into the emotional and bio-physical channels, i.e. feeling and experiencing those events that have been voided in some way, and ultimately releasing that emotion through the body. Many of us find ourselves stuck in our heads, disconnected from our feelings and subsequently our bodies. This process allows those parts to be reconnected. Much of what makes up our conscious identity is an amalgamation of many significant parts. Most of these operate below the radar of our awareness. Some of these parts may be the result of some traumatic experience of a wounded or vulnerable aspect of us associated with fear, shame or guilt. This led our unconscious to create other parts that became protectors (shadows) that do everything in their power to avoid experiences that can re-trigger the wound. While these shadow parts have an do serve to protect the wounded part, they also may be holding you back from full expression of who you now are and want to be. The process is to give voice to, and allow conscious expression of these wounds and shadows and negotiate some acceptable closure. All that has been discussed so far can be done in a straightforward discursive manner, either by phone or in person. Some aspects can be done through email. But it is my experience in witnessing or facilitating hundreds of processes that the most effective work is accomplished by consciously establishing a ritual container to do the work in. I believe that working with our conscious and unconscious processes is sacred work. There is nothing mysterious or religious in this belief in the traditional sense. It is primarily about having a focused intention to be open to your unconscious. The unconscious is the realm of dream imagery, symbols, archetypes, myth and synchronicity. It is activated by different methods than the conscious rational mind. A ritual container has a threshold, for instance. Once crossed, the threshold symbolizes leaving all those things behind that are not important to the work you want to explore right now…your schedules, bills and responsibilities that occupy and distract you in everyday life. The container is, by your own design, a safe place. It is as much as space within yourself as it might be a physical container. In the container you can allow the suspension of logic and, as occurs in your dreams when sleeping allow symbols, myth, intuition, and forgotten memories to come forth. You may consider calling up allies or archetypal energies such as the lover, warrior, magician or king/queen to support you on your quest. You might light candles, wear a certain piece of jewelry, have a photo, or other objects that are charged with some personal meaning for you relevant to your work. These concepts are all intended to help you get out of the analytical, intellectual, rational brain, and discover if other channels may have useful insights and perspectives. If your rational mind has not been successful in resolving the conflicts you have within yourself and you find yourself consistently repeating patterns of behavior in your life and relationships that are not bringing you joy, you may not find it much of a risk to explore yourself from these other vantage points, and everything to gain.

A guidance session can occur via phone, skype or in person in Portland, Oregon. Working thru email may also be possible. If you wish to consider working with me please contact me for a FREE initial discussion.

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