One-to-one shadow work sessions
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One-to-one 5-hour sessions
Individual sessions last between 3 and 5 hours. The first session is usually a long session of five hours, with a free follow-up integration call a week or so following the session.
Each session is structured around your desired outcome and at every step of the process you are in complete control of what happens or does not happen. This allows you to move towards the core of the issue in safety and at your own pace.
The longer length of the sessions I offer makes a huge difference to the therapeutic experience, allowing a level of safety to emerge for you within which you are able to settle into deep exploration of the issue that you are bringing. It is within the safety that develops over the initial five hour process that we are able to work at depth and facilitate the initial inner shifts that you are looking for. Clients frequently report that the extended length of shadow work sessions is necessary for the depth that they have been able to access and the shifts they have experienced.
I work in an open and transparent way. I'll discuss theory and practical steps with you as appropriate and invite you to make your own informed decision as to how to proceed at each stage of the process (see What to expect in shadow work sessions for more detail).
The therapeutic work is sat within an integrative psychotherapeutic framework, drawing on a broad base of theoretical knowledge (attachment theory, transactional analysis, Internal Family Systems (IFS) theory, Jungian archetypal psychology, developmental theory, psychodynamics, relationship dynamics, trauma theory) as well as a thorough grounding in Carl Jung's concept and theory of the shadow, its presentation and its origins.
The shadow (the unconscious parts of our personality) is often the unconscious driver behind the dissatisfaction, imbalance, disconnection or lack of fulfilment within ourselves and our relationships. I also welcome the transpersonal into the work in any way it manifests.
The duration and frequency of ongoing sessions can be agreed to support your development, growth and healing in whatever way works best for you.
"For me, working with Ali was an amazing and beautiful experience. During our sessions, he created an atmosphere of care and compassion that made me feel comfortable exploring some truly vulnerable parts of myself.
I would recommend him to anyone who is looking to bring to light the ways in which their hidden parts are influencing their lives, and integrate them harmoniously."
Rachel - London
Experiential and embodied 'parts work'
Although dialog is essential in therapy, we don't just talk. In our work together you will experience aspects of yourself and your limiting patterns through embodiment of these aspects of yourself. In this way you will enter into relationship with the aspects of yourself in a different way and step into dialogue with yourself at a deeper level.
In shadow work sessions the majority of the time is spent working with you in this embodied way. What this means is that you are invited to step in and inhabit the aspects of yourself presenting in the work – rather than simply talking about these parts, you are invited to embody parts you have chosen to explore and to speak from these ‘parts’. You will be supported to allow the voice of this part to come through and through this embodiment to connect with all of the thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories stored in the physical and emotional body, so that we are able to find out so much more about this space within you. You may be often out of your chair and moving around the room, standing, sitting or lying in different places in order to ‘inhabit’ different parts of yourself.
There is no right or wrong way to do this and you are supported to connect within and connect with the part. In a way it is a new skill that you are learning in this process, a way of being with yourself, exploring who you are, and inviting new relationships with those aspects of personality that make up who you are right now.
The unconscious is that mysterious realm where much is hidden from us, yet which continually spills out into our world. The problem with the unconscious is that it is unconscious and because of this we can't approach it directly, but we can track, engage and interpret its manifestations in our behavioural patterns, our thoughts and the pathology and sensations that manifest in our bodies. This offers a gateway into a deeper understanding of what is going on for you and an avenue into a psyche that is actively seeking healing. It is in this way that we can find the trailheads for our work together, what matters and what is at the core of the patterns you wish to heal.
All of you is welcome - there are no 'bad' parts
One of the core principles of this work is the belief that all parts of you have value, are essentially ‘good’ and ultimately have your best interests at heart. So all parts of you are welcome to show up in the work, including parts of you that you may judge as difficult or dangerous, shameful or unappealing in some way.
You are invited to turn towards and explore those parts of your personality that you might struggle to be with, or find it hard to understand or accept – those aspects of yourself which may bring shame or confusion, or those aspects you fear may emotionally overwhelm or harm you or those around you.
We all have parts like this and they can be the source of much pain and suffering. A facilitated shadow work session is exactly the place where you are welcome to bring these aspects of yourself and give yourself the opportunity to explore these parts in a space that is accepting and where these challenging parts can be embodied, met and held. The more we try to ignore or hide these sides of ourselves the greater their capacity to disrupt our lives in uncontrolled ways.
In this space, you can explore these parts of you and experience a symbolic process where there are no real world consequences. I am able to provide this level of acceptance because I have explored, worked with and accepted such parts in myself, integrating them through meeting and building a relationship with them, and finding their value and goodness.
"I have been meaning to let you know how much I appreciated our last session and how it really helped me move to a greater state of integrity / acceptance of my inner parts and of myself. I am really grateful to you for facilitating the work and for how powerful it was and I am meditating on the shifts of perception often since then."
Craig - Manchester
Facilitated shadow work
These parts of us in shadow have considerable influence over us and as they are brought more into our awareness and worked with we gain greater control over our emotions and feelings, and our patterns of thought, speech, and behaviour. This allows us to move towards a place of response rather than reaction in our everyday life and makes it much easier to leave behind self limiting patterns, replacing them with authentic ways of being which represent who we really are and who we want to be.
Having the opportunity to step into these parts deliberately and intentionally, in an embodied way, allows you to access all the repressed and hidden thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviours and language of these parts.
It is extremely shame lifting to explore your inner relationships, dynamics and parts in this way and and what develops through working with your inner world like this is a deep compassion for oneself. This emerges from the unique perspective offered through the symbolic representation of your inner world during your session as aspects of your psyche are externalised and a 'snap shot' of your psyche built up in physical space in the room. It is in this way that you will 'see' a clear representation of how your life is being directed by your various internal parts and will see for yourself what you need for resolution and healing. This witnessing offers a breathing space for you to get clarity around how and why you experience what you are currently experiencing. It is a powerful component of shadow work sessions.
Working directly with parts of you or a dynamic playing out for you we are able to process strong or destructive emotions and stuck feelings; work through inner or outer conflict; facilitate expression of anger or grief; work with parts that are experiencing guilt, shame or holding onto traumatic memories; set or strengthen boundaries; meet, witness, hold, nurture and support vulnerability or parts you might find hard to accept; work with fear, over-protective parts, resistance and protective or controlling patterns of behaviour or other patterns that no longer serve; release limiting beliefs; it may involve delicate and sensitive Inner Child work. The nature of the work and what you want to have happen will naturally emerge.
Collaborating with resistance or blocks to the work
Because we are working with the shadow there is naturally fear and risk close by. Fear is the gateway emotion to transformation and my training and experience has taught me to be very sensitive to whatever resistance, risks, defences or blocks may arise as you step towards certain parts of yourself.
I take this aspect of the work very seriously, and would never seek to encourage you into a place you are not ready to inhabit. If we meet resistance we will pause and take care to ensure that risks are examined and that safety is paramount before taking any further steps.
Respecting and working alongside parts that protect, control, resist, block or defend is one of the cornerstones of this work. These parts are not obstacles to be overcome, but allies on your journey who are working hard ultimately in your best interests, even if it doesn't always seem that way. We welcome these parts and you may be invited to step in and inhabit them when they arise. This approach means the work never gets ‘stuck’. In fact, working with ‘stuckness’ is one of the most productive and transformational aspects of facilitated shadow work.
"You’ve really helped me understand how strong I am deep down and I feel a greater sense of peace, calmness, clarity and confidence. While I know you might say all this is within me, thanks for facilitating it all. I offer you my heartfelt gratitude 🙏🏽 and pray that you are blessed to continue this work with others too."
Naseem - Birmingham
What issues can I bring?
In our work together we can explore all manner of difficulties you may be experiencing around self esteem or issues with your confidence, difficulties with assertiveness or holding boundaries, feeling stuck or overwhelmed, anxiety, compulsive behaviours, addictions, relationship difficulties, or difficulties around sex, sexuality and sexual expression.
We can also explore feelings of alienation and loneliness, a lack of clear direction or lack of purpose, and other existential issues such as meaninglessness and spiritual emergence. If you carry strong feelings of rage, issues with your anger, deep grief or pain of bereavement we can create a space to explore and fully express these emotions in a safe and held way allowing you to really meet what is within you.
The depth and safety of the tools and holding can assist in your journey to recovery from trauma such as childhood trauma of abandonment or neglect, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, boarding school trauma or bullying at school, and trauma from experiences of racism or homophobia.
In our work together the movement is always towards wholeness; restoring balance and stability in your inner world, creating a felt sense of self-regulation and safety, and a deepening embodiment of resourced resilience.
I work with adults of all genders and identities, all sexual orientations, relationship styles, and all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
What is Depth Psychology?
In this excellent short film, Dr James Hollis explores Depth Psychology and what makes this approach different from other approaches.
Why work with your shadow aspects?
To identify and resolve the unconscious drivers behind those unhelpful thought patterns, beliefs and behaviours
To work with and bring healing to your addictions, compulsions or obsessive behaviours, thoughts or feelings
To identify, clarify and work with your personal needs and boundaries
To gain a greater ease in relationship, both outer and inner
To become less triggered by other peoples behaviour and external events, moving towards a place of response rather than reaction in your interpersonal relationships
To move into a space of self-regulation, ease and safety
To grow a greater inner trust and source of inner support. A clearer perception of who you are and a movement towards authenticity, integrity
To make peace with traumatic patterns and assist in your journey to recovery from childhood trauma
To unblock limitations to progress and growth in your life, and your emotional, spiritual and physical development
To meet and integrate your healthy anger, embodying this energy to create transformation in your inner and outer relationships.
To explore your grief to bring expression and flow to your emotional body
To become more clear and present
To re-integrate of all that latent potential: all those positive qualities, repressed for whatever reason, that can truly serve your adult Self and empower you to go where you want to go