Working with the Shadow: a case study

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Working with the Shadow: a case study

A presentation by Yaro Starak

Thursday, February 3, 2011 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: The Quaker House, 10 Hampson St, Kelvin Grove
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

"Millions of people who attribute their daily life problems to bad parents or low self esteem or lack of will power are in part struggling with a shadow syndrome.” J. A. Ratey and C. Johnson,” Shadow Syndromes"
  — Random House 1997

This talk will explore one aspect of “shadow work” which is often overlooked. It is the potential or gold that is hidden in our “shadow bag”. Problems, symptoms, even diseases are relegated to and maintained in what the poet Robert Bly called the “Shadow Bag” (R. Bly 1988). When we are born, we bring pure gold with us. However when some of our innocent behaviour and personal expressions are not allowed full freedom or are not supportive are shamed in our childhood, we develop a “shadow bag”. The shadow bag contains many aspects of our personality that were considered “forbidden, sinful or inappropriate” by our parents or guardians. Later in life we learn to put into our shadow bag other parts of ourselves in order to preserve a certain façade to the world. This may be a perfect student, a good parent, a pillar of society, a loving partner, an honest judge and so on. After a time, the denied, split, forgotten, avoided parts of our sub selves become projected on the outside world, people or events. We believe that those behaviours are not me – they belong outside of me.

I will present an example of my work with a client where the shadow syndrome was converted in a tool for healing.

Yaro Starak B.A., M.S.W., Adv.Dip.SW., Dip. GT. finished his undergraduate studies majoring in psychology at the University of Manitoba and later his post graduate studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He continued further studies at the University of Toronto specialising in adult education, group dynamics and supervision. He trained as a Gestalt Therapist at the Toronto Gestalt Institute and after graduating he became faculty member of that Institute for four years.

He immigrated to Australia in 1978 to lecture at the University of Queensland.

Over the past twenty five years Yaro has been teaching and training various professional groups and Gestalt groups in Brisbane, Tasmania, Sydney and overseas in Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, Estonia, Italy and Spain. Yaro has published and co-edited four books in Gestalt Therapy and Group Process, three training manuals and numerous articles in several international journals on group work, Gestalt Therapy, Family Therapy, Alternative living, Men’s issues and Deep Psychology. He is an accredited Values & Leadership coach and founding member of GANZ – Gestalt Australia & New Zealand – the accrediting body of Gestalt therapy training Institutes.

Yaro is a regular presenter at the Psychotherapy in Australia Conference, GANZ conference, AAGT and Latin American Congress in Mexico City. He has recently been in Spain as a special trainer at the Valencia Gestalt Institute.