Clean Up with Meta Hypnotherapy: Two Types of Shadow
“Where ‘IT’ was, there shall ‘I’ become.” Sigmund Freud
Two Types of Shadow: Dark Shadow and Golden Shadow
The “shadow” refers to aspects of ourselves that have become disowned, broken off, or pushed into the unconscious. One of the most important goals of healthy integrated living is to recognize and reclaim these broken pieces of ourselves, and to reintegrate them back into our total self-system so that we can become less reactive, more responsive, and more fulfilled. In other words, we do shadow work so that we can become whole again, to become more of ourselves, to re-own and reintegrate all those splintered pieces of ourselves that we may have unconsciously pushed away over the course of our lives.
Carl Jung called your submerged creative potential the “Golden Shadow.” You can discover your golden shadow in your intense admiration of other people. The bright qualities that you admire in others represent the disowned aspects of your unlimited potential. The Golden Shadow is your submerged greatness.
In Meta Hypnotherapy we work with the client to move from dissociation to integration including both the darker and lighter aspects of the self. This is a more integrated approach to shadow work.
How to Work with Shadow: The 3-2-1 Process
A crucial aspect of any hypnotherapy modality is a way to be profoundly honest with ourselves about our shadow, or unconscious, or false self, or dishonesty, or disowned self. The 3-2-1 Process is a simple and effective tool for working with the shadow — any part of ourselves that we unconsciously repress or deny.
The 3-2-1 Process uses shifts in perspective as a way of identifying and integrating shadow material. “3-2-1” refers to 3rd-person, 2nd-person, and 1st-person — the perspectives that we move through in this exercise.
Each part that we disown is at first an aspect of our “I” or 1st-person awareness. But, for whatever reason, that aspect poses a threat. So we push it outside of ourselves, often onto someone else. It’s important to note that the aspect can be positive or negative. We can disown both lower and higher aspects of ourselves. In either case, we project it as you . . . but not me. “You are angry.” “You are being selfish.” “You are worthy,” etc. In other words, we displace it from a 1st-person I to a 2nd-person you.
If the threat of this emotion or situation becomes so great it requires a total rejection, we banish it totally as a 3rd-person It, stripped of humanity. At that point, we can often recognize shadow as a sense of irritation, reactivity, fear, phobia, rage, or aversion toward things… but we don’t really know why.
Under these circumstances, most forms of meditation won’t help; in fact, they’ll make things worse. They recommend dis-identification from experience, when what is necessary first is RE-identification with disowned dimensions of our experience and ourselves. You can only let go of that which you have first owned. Meditation instructions to “observe all experience and to know that consciousness is independent and free from experience” don’t work with experience from which we’re dissociated. Healthy disidentification is only possible once we’ve re-owned, re-associated, and re-identified with the disowned parts of ourselves. For this reason, there’s no substitute for shadow work. That’s why shadow work is a core component of Meta Hypnotherapy.
To sum up, dissociation proceeds from 1st-person to 2nd-person to 3rd-person: 1-2-3. The reversal of dissociation thus goes from 3 to 2 to 1. Hence, the 3-2-1 Process. We also summarize this process as: Face it (3), Talk to it (2), and finally, BE it (1).
To Practice the 3-2-1 Process
- Choose an experience in your life that you want to work with. It’s often easier to begin with a person with whom you have difficulty (e.g., lover, relative, boss). This person may irritate, disturb, annoy, or upset you. Or maybe you feel attracted to, obsessed with, infatuated with, or possessive about this person. In any case, choose someone with whom you have a strong emotional charge, whether positive or negative.
- Face It: Now, imagine this person. Describe those qualities that most upset you, or the characteristics that you are most attracted to using 3rd-person language (he, she, it). Talk about them out loud or write it down in a journal. Take this opportunity to “let it out.” Don’t try to be skillful or say the right thing. There is no need to sugarcoat your description. The person you are describing will never see this.
- Talk to It: Begin an imaginary dialogue with this person. Speak in 2nd person to this person (you). Talk directly to this person as if he or she were actually there in the room with you. Tell them what bothers you about them. Ask them questions such as “Why are you doing this to me?” “What do you want from me?” “What are you trying to show me?” “What do you have to teach me?” Imagine their response to these questions. Speak that imaginary response out loud. Record the conversation in your journal if you like.
- Be It: Become this person. Take on the qualities that either annoy or fascinate you. Embody the traits you described in “Face It.” Use 1st-person language ( I, me, mine). This may feel awkward, and it should. The traits you are taking on are the exact traits that you have been denying in yourself. Use statements such as “I am angry,” “I am jealous,” “I am radiant.” Fill in the blank with whatever qualities you are working with: “I am__________.”
- To complete the process, notice these disowned qualities in yourself. Experience the part of you that is this very trait. Avoid making the process abstract or conceptual: just BE it. Now you can re-own and integrate this trait in yourself.
The 3-2-1 Shadow process is an integral part of our Meta Hypnotherapy methodology. Consider the 3-2-1 process like a “back pocket” practice – something that you can use in the moment when you feel triggered or unable to regulate big emotions.
Hypnotherapy is a great way to go deeper with shadow work and uncovers the unconscious forces that drive you to think, feel, and behave the way you do.
As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Clean Up with Meta Hypnotherapy Training
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