Shadow work for couples
There’s no question that an intimate relationship is one of the richest experiences any human being can have in life. But unfortunately an intimate relationship is also a crucible in which your deepest emotional issues from childhood can be brought to the surface and into your consciousness. It’s possible that people even avoid relationships because they find them too much of a struggle and involve too much conflict.
Almost everyone who’s ever been in a relationship will almost certainly have experienced a feeling of wanting to be alone at times. However, most of us ultimately come back time and again to be in relationship because it is one of the most rewarding and indeed natural human experiences.
If you have an interest in personal development work, you may know that many personal development facilitators will tell you that the best possible place to “do the work” is in relationship. However, what tends to happen is that people find themselves in the same repeating patterns of relationship over and over again. And unless they have an experienced facilitator who can guide them to the exploration of shadows, this can continue for ever.
The intensity of emotions and the highly complicated dynamics that can arise between a couple need to be held in a safe space by a competent person, such as a shadow work facilitator qualified to work with couples.
To ensure that maximum personal growth occurs in the shortest possible time and in the safest possible way, a strong facilitator is needed. This way, emotions that arise in relationship and during the exploration of relationship between two people can be safely held.
My colleague Marianne Hill has done a considerable amount of work with couples, and has developed a particularly interesting and useful communication model called The Five Fields Communication Model.
This is a practical means of communication that allows couples to explore their deepest shadow parts and to express their true feelings to their partner without threatening the relationship or arousing a defensive response in their partner.
Such communication is absolutely essential if both partners in a couple are to be able to talk about what arises for them in relationship without the fear of triggering their partner and so causing further disharmony or conflict.
Sharing ourselves in this way to a partner can be a very valuable and vulnerable experience, yet many people shy away from doing so. However, with a careful and respectful approach, and a facilitator who is experienced enough to hold the couple as they explore their deeper issues, a couple can bring more compassion to their relationship while also healing their shadows.
(We must remember that all childish and irrational behaviour in a relationship originates with the inner child, who carries many deep emotional wounds.)
Ideally, people in relationships can find healing and mutual respect, and have the confidence to explore their shadow in a mutually supportive and beneficial relationship. To find out more about shadow work for couples, click here.