History of Shadow Work

The first Shadow Work group in Europe was in England in 1994…

Shadow Work began its development in the late 1980s through the skill and ingenuity of Cliff Barry, who was inspired by his experiences in the early days as a leader in the Wildman Training, now known as the ManKind Project. He collaborated in the early days with Mary Ellen Whalen, Erva Baden and Dimitri Bilgere. As time progressed, they integrated their leading edge approach with other disciplines such as Gestalt, Voice Dialogue, Accelerated Learning, Grovian Metaphor Work, Bio Energetics, Family Systems Theory, addiction recovery. They are indebted to the pioneering work of Robert Bly, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, David Grove, Ron Hering, Hal and Sidra Stone and John Bradshaw.

John Kurk attended a two-day men’s Shadow Work session led by Cliff in 1992, “I came away from that completely bowled over,” he says, “I did a piece of work and I absolutely loved it. It filled in many gaps for me and I thought, I’m going to do that and bring this to Europe.” And that’s what has happened!

The first SW group in Europe was in England in 1994, then John & Nicola qualified in ’95 & ‘97 respectively and ran groups on their own for many years. In 1996 they were invited to lead a session in Germany which this began a series of bi-annual sessions there. Similarly in 2003 they were invited to run a group session in Moscow which, over many years, has led to Shadow Work flourishing in the Russian Federation, now with their own trainers and mentors.

The first European Basic Facilitator Training (BFT) led by Cliff with John & Nicola was in 1999. Since then there have been many groups and facilitator trainings that have inspired a flourishing community of European Shadow Work facilitators, all mostly trained and mentored by pioneering couple John and Nicola. As a result, Shadow Work sessions are now being delivered by a new generation of facilitators and, more recently, trainers in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, Latvia, Israel, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The unfolding story continues!