stepping in and integrating shadow pieces


“playfully acting out that role, trait, behaviour by showing it [a shadow piece]….in daylight, somehow they bring it out of the world of shadow, and into the world of play”  (bly)

the stepping into this role is one way of working to integrate these pieces..
…and being able to dance in and out of roles….consciously…. can be done easier when the pieces of us are integrated..

….working in pairs is beneficial for this exercise.
…though it can be done on own (see below exercise for more info),

it is useful to do it in pairs, so one of you can be the one asking questions (the interviewer ‘i’) while the other (‘pi’ piece integrator) can fully step in and immerse themselves in the role…in the shadow piece, and answer from that place….  . pi does the work, i simply asks the questions and records the answers that pi gives. 

pi: chooses a shadow piece to integrate
(for assistance with this you can look at finding shadow pieces …. )

what is the name of this piece? some example could be ‘boastful bertha’ or ‘timid tim’, ‘wonderful susie’ or ‘sad sidney’….and so on…
then, pi takes a moment to step in to this piece. to embody this piece.
 each part has their own feeling in the body, their own characteristics… their own way of standing, moving..
….you can notice how it feels to be in this piece, to step into this role, move about if you like and notice how it feels to move about in this role…what mannerisms, what characteristics…..

when ready, ‘i’ asks the following questions…beginning each question with the name of the piece….and writing the answers down….

[insert piece name here]…..what is the most important thing to you?

[insert piece name here]   what are you most proud of?

[insert piece name here] what are you most afraid of?

[insert piece name here] what do you most want?

[insert piece name here] what can I learn from you? what is your gift?

[insert piece name here] what can I do to integrate you into myself?

[insert piece name here] what can i do to honour you and your gifts?

pi: when ready. if choose to, pi can then integrate this part, in a way that feels comfortable. maybe bringing it to your heart or honouring it in some way..

then again, when you are ready…. you can step out of this role, out of this particular dance….give yourself a shake and jump about if you like to bring yourself to yourself.


realising the answers to these questions can result in integration of these parts. myself, i also like adding the conscious accepting and integrating, i find that beneficial  with  the honouring of the parts after the session, further assists the conscious integration, and appreciation of the gifts that this part can offer if the situation that it would benefit arises.


this exercise can also be done by ourselves too, in particular using ‘automatic writing’
. it’s slightly trickier to both embody the part and ask and write down the questions, but it is possible….
or its possible just to simply write the questions,and let the answers write themselves..
..there is something beneficial however to actually stepping in and having a feel of that role…..

with the automatic writing we basically
write the name and question down….
e.g. angry annie….what are you most proud of’,
then allow the pen to automatically write the answer, to freely let the answers flow.

these questions are the same as those in the guided visualisation exercise, the  integrating and honouring can be done this way too.

to symbolically integrate the parts,i find some individuals find that they physically take their hands and bring this part into themselves, some may find them merging together, it’s an individual experience, and we find personal ways for us to find, integrate and honour these pieces.


i find these physical ways very useful. noticing the posture and feeling, can assist recognising when playing this part. and also i find it useful to have their name, so if they do pop up at a time where it could be beneficial, but i feel it is not for the best, i have a name for them to say, thank you for your gift, i appreciate it, but no thanks, not right now.
or on the other hand, it may be for most benefit to the specific situation and we can naturally step into this part for the benefit of the situation.

i still remember chris waters encouraging us to ‘play’ with the parts we found, to dance with them. and saying that sometimes in can be like putting on a ‘hat’, and taking it off again. now it is time to put on my ‘parent hat’, and act in that way, then we can take take that hat off, and another time, it may be time to put on the ‘inner child hat’, and act in that way.
well, it is nice to play…. 😉

other links about shadow work:
shadow work
finding mirror~shadow pieces
additional shadow work notes
shadow work experiences
shadow freeing exercises
additional shadow freeing exercises

tree t

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