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MDLinxWhat is Shadow Work, a Not-so-new Mental Health Tactic Trending on TikTok?

Shadow Work: An Old Psychological Technique Gaining New Popularity

Shadow work, a psychological technique developed over a century ago by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, is gaining renewed interest through social media platforms like TikTok. This method involves exploring and integrating aspects of oneself that are usually ignored or suppressed, often leading to increased self-awareness and emotional healing.

Key Points

  • Shadow work was coined by Carl Jung in the early 1900s.
  • It involves exposing and exploring aspects of oneself that are usually ignored or suppressed.
  • The process can increase self-awareness, facilitate emotional healing, and improve social connections.
  • There is no explicit empirical basis to shadow work, but it can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the personality or inspire self-acceptance.
  • Understanding the risks of shadow work is also important, however. Some people may find the practice too intense, especially if they’re working through trauma.

Exploring your shadow self can bring up difficult emotions and memories, so it’s important to have someone to talk to while you’re going through this. People with severe mental health issues or a history of trauma should proceed with caution and seek the advice of a trained mental health professional.
— Michelle English, LCSW, the executive clinical director of Healthy Life Recovery, a mental health and substance disorder treatment facility in San Diego, CA

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