Practitioner Training in Shadow Work

A Two Year Practitioner Training in Shadow Work

Leading to a Qualification as a Healing The Shadow practitioner

Click here to watch a short film about the training.

This training will be of interest to anyone wishing to pursue a path of facilitating deep emotional process work:

  • You will learn how to facilitate deep process shadow work.
  • You will learn a comprehensive range of skills and techniques to hold a wide spectrum of different types of trauma and wounding.
  • You will learn to build authentic, healing relationships with your clients.
  • You will learn a clear theoretical framework, central to which is the concept of the shadow, and an understanding of the four archetypes: The Heart Centred Leader, The Transformer, The Feeling Body and The Action Taker.
  • You will gain all the expertise necessary for setting up in practice as a Healing The Shadow practitioner.

    The next two year training starts in 2025. (The exact dates will be announced later this year.)

    Read more about our therapeutic approach here

    For full information about practitioner trainings please see the  Trainings Website

    Click here to view a detailed syllabus of the two year training

    Click here for all the practical information about our two year training

    Click here to find out more information about our trainers

At Healing the Shadow we’ve been working with the human shadow for a long time, and we find that it’s the fastest and safest way to release people from the limitations of their past.

Although you probably know something about shadow work if you’re reading this, here’s a simple explanation for those who aren’t clear what the shadow refers to. 

As we grow up, our experiences in life encourage us to suppress certain emotions, feelings, behaviours and attitudes. If you think about your own life for a moment, you can probably recall how certain aspects of your natural way of behaving as a child were not welcomed into the world so much as others.

Perhaps the most well-known example of this is the stereotypical idea that little girls “should not be” angry because it’s “not nice”, while little boys are discouraged from crying because it’s “sissy”.

The truth is that children will do almost anything to keep the love and approval of their parents – it’s a natural inborn response that keeps us safe (at least to a degree) and potentially, in extreme cases, may even keep us alive.

And if that means suppressing natural parts of their personality, then that’s exactly what children will do. Of course, we all grow up with a behavioural repertoire that is familiar to us. We say things like “That’s just how I am.” Often we don’t know how much of ourselves we suppressed as we went through life. That’s certainly one reason so many people go to self-development workshops, or seek out some kind of facilitator who can help them explore why they feel they need to overcome the emotional issues of their past.

The concept of suppression is particularly relevant when you consider the positive qualities that children are sometimes led to suppress. These include exuberance, vitality, self-appreciation, sexuality, confidence, the ability to stand out from the crowd, the ability to succeed, or the ability to do better than others around them… and so on.

And of course there are some qualities that may need to be suppressed in children so they become socially aware adults. These might include self-indulgence, instant gratification, and a sense of entitlement and expectation that they can have whatever they want, selfishness, being unkind or even cruel to other children, for example.

From these examples, you can probably see that whatever the reason we decide to suppress certain aspects of our personality during childhood, by the time we’ve grown into adulthood, each of us probably has lost a lot of who we naturally were as children. Our personalities are shaped by our experiences. Sometimes we hide parts of ourselves following harmful, shaming or hurtful experiences, and sometimes we hide parts of ourselves because people have more subtly, or even caringly persuaded us that certain sides of our personality are not OK.  And then, in response, we lose a part of ourselves.

And this “loss” is what we call the shadow – it’s made up of all the parts of ourselves that we don’t have conscious access to as adults. Our shadow therefore contains a lot of elements of our personality that are rightfully ours.

It’s worth just reminding ourselves what this concept of shadow actually means. We repress things into the unconscious mind: “out of sight, out of mind”, as the saying has it. 

So, although as a child you might have enjoyed standing up in front of a crowd, singing and performing, or simply being seen and having lots of attention lavished on you, it’s possible that at some time in your life these skills and attributes weren’t received so well. Maybe someone responded to you with criticism, harshness, or even punishment. Maybe they were scornful or shamed you. 

And then, perhaps, you made a decision never to put yourself in that situation again. And so, here you are as an adult, finding yourself trembling with fear when called upon to deliver a lecture or perform in public. Even worse, you have no idea why! That’s because you put this particular aspect of yourself – confidence in speaking to people, or simply your desire to be seen – into shadow. Of course, to address this, you might go to see a counsellor or therapist, or another kind of practitioner, or to go on a public speaking workshop or a self development workshop.

These more traditional approaches to emotional growth can, of course, produce a level of understanding, healing and self compassion. However, very often they don’t involve the deep emotional process work that is required to explore the shadow and heal a person’s emotional wounds at the core, so that they can really break through their challenges in the outside world.

The whole object of shadow work is to reclaim this original energy, which after all is rightfully yours, and incorporate it into your life today in a useful way.

As an aside, it’s worth pointing out that some of the things we put in shadow as children emerge in a different form. For example, anger becomes rage, or a denial of our need for love becomes extreme neediness, or the desire to be in control emerges as a tyrannical streak of bullying. 

Robert Bly, one of the pioneers of shadow work, summed up this kind of transformation when he suggested that what we put into shadow “de-evolves towards barbarism.”

And that brings us to the point of our training in Healing the Shadow. We are an organisation devoted to uncovering the shadow and finding ways for people to reintegrate the energy contained in it into their everyday lives.

Of course you could say this is the object all counselling and psychotherapy. So you might be wondering what the difference is between traditional coaching, therapy or counselling and the work done by Healing the Shadow practitioners.

In Healing the Shadow, we use a specific set of what we could describe as “action-based” techniques with our clients to directly explore what lies in a client’s shadow. Clients don’t ‘talk about’ the different parts of themselves, they ‘talk from’ the different parts of themselves. So the work is very vital and tangible. We also have a wide range of techniques that allow us to restore emotional balance to a person. In other words, we assist the client to re-incorporate the energies that they once repressed into shadow back into their whole self. And if those energies have, as Robert Bly suggested,  de-evolved into barbarism, then we find ways to transform them into their original form, or something more helpful to the client in the here and now.

Our training covers all the skills that you need to set up as a fully qualified, competent practitioner fully equipped to heal people’s emotional wounds and guide them to a more satisfying life.

To be specific, not only will you be trained in the tools used for working with and resolving emotional wounds held in the shadow, but you’ll be trained in how to hold clients in a session. As research has shown, the relationship between client and therapist, or client and practitioner, is the most important factor in achieving forward progress during any kind of therapeutic work. 

The comprehensive training we offer in the dynamics of the client-practitioner relationship is essential for both the practitioner’s confidence and his or her effectiveness when working with clients.

We also emphasised the need for trainees on our Healing the Shadow courses to engage in their own personal growth work. To that end we devote a considerable amount of time facilitating the exploration and healing of our trainees’ own shadows.

We have a firm theoretical base which we teach in detail to our trainees: this is the Jungian concept of the archetypal elements which make up the personality. We follow a model evolved in the 1990s by Moore and Gillette which described the archetypes of Sovereign, Warrior, Magician and Lover. However we have updated this model and presented it in language appropriate to the 21st-century, using the terms Heart Centred Leader, Action Taker, Transformer, and Feeling Body respectively for the older archetypal names referred to above. By analysing the natural qualities and emotional wounds that can inhibit the expression of these archetypal energies, we provide our trainees with a firm theoretical base from which to proceed when working with clients.

The Course Structure

Trainees start by completing a two-year training course which equips them to work with individuals on a one-to-one basis. After the qualification for individual work has been achieved, we offer an additional year’s training which will enable people to facilitate group work.

The training is based upon 10 training weekends in each of the two years of the course. In addition we have personal tutorials, guided and well held practice sessions between training weekends, and ample opportunity to do personal development work. We also teach the theory of counselling skills, and relevant psychotherapeutic theory, so that the dynamics of the practitioner-client relationship is fully understood.

We also ensure that qualified practitioners who have completed our training course are fully supervised as they move into working with clients.

This training course will be of interest to anyone who has a desire to work in the field of human development. Our certification process enables our trainees to obtain professional indemnity insurance before they start to practice.

More information:

If you’re interested in discussing the possibilities this training opens up, would like more information, or simply wish to enquire about the practicalities, please contact Marianne Hill:

tel: 01373 300749  email:

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