Owning the Shadow



A Seven-Day Residential Workshop Presented by The Fool’s Dance Gestalt Company – Paul Rebillot School in Ireland.

Waterville Lake Hotel, Waterville, Co. Kerry, February 15th to February 21st, 2014.  

THE WORKSHOP: A vitally important aspect of our lives – but one that we frequently ignore –  involves our tendency to disown those parts of ourselves that we dislike and are ashamed of, the parts that C.J. Jung collectively identified as our ‘shadow’.  We limit ourselves by refusing to own or experience what we see as our shameful negative features. So powerfully can we reject them that these aspect of ourselves are suppressed and, ultimately, may become entirely hidden from our awareness.  However this strategy is doomed to failure because ‘they haven’t gone away, you know’ – our banished negative aspects promptly reappear to challenge us from the outside world. As we unconsciously project our disowned energy onto others we find ourselves surrounded by people who annoy us by playing out precisely those personality traits and behaviours that we vigorously deny in ourselves.  We can become so separated from our own process that we create enemies out there and then blame them for all the things that we have denied in ourselves.  Unconsciously we hope that in destroying the external enemy we might also destroy the banished, rejected parts of ourselves that we refuse to acknowledge.

But this strategy also fails because whoever kills a killer becomes that which they detest.  We create our enemies and, in our fear and hatred, attempt to destroy or slander them, to blacklist or banish them, to make them in one way or another the objects of our despite. And the more that we persist in this the more we become estranged from the truth of our own being.  Much of the destruction, racism, and terrorism in the world is not, as so many believe, part of a justified struggle with the hostile and dangerous ‘other’.  Instead it is created out of a misdirection of the fear and loathing that we feel for our own shadow selves and the considerable energy that we have to to use to keep them out of sight.

In this workshop, we will work to discover the disowned one that we have created within ourselves.  How can we reclaim that part of ourselves that we have been so busy projecting out there onto other people and calling ‘different’, ‘bad’, ‘not us’, ‘evil’ or ‘enemy’?  How can we rediscover the fullness of ourselves and bring into consciousness that denied shadow aspect, that troubling shadow energy, so that it can be dealt with where it belongs – in ourselves and in the here and now?

This workshop, then, has a double purpose.  The first is to enable us to face and own our shadow, the negative, dark, violent energy within our being.  This done, the second is to begin to open the doors of our heart and learn to talk to those onto to whom we have projected this negative self, to learn at last how to communicate with them, not as enemies but as human beings like ourselves.


PAUL REBILLOT was born in 1931 in Detroit, Michigan.  Following a successful academic and professional career in the performing arts as musician, writer, actor, director and teacher Paul changed direction and trained as a Gestalt psychotherapist with Dick Price (one of Fritz Perls’ first students) at the Esalen Institute where he also came into contact with the mythologist Joseph Campbell.  From these two influences – together with his own uniquely creative insights – Paul developed the ‘Hero’s Journey’, the first of a unique and remarkable series of therapeutic structures which drew on both his training in Gestalt and on his background in the world of music, art and theatre.  Annually from 1991 to 2008 Paul presented a series of very successful workshops in Ireland, among them ‘The Hero’s Journey’, ‘The Lover’s Journey’, ‘Death and Resurrection’ and the present workshop, ‘Owning the Shadow’.  In March of 2008 Paul retired from work in Europe and he died at his home in San Francisco on February 11th of 2010, aged 78.


THE FOOL’S DANCE GESTALT COMPANY – PAUL REBILLOT SCHOOL IN IRELAND is comprised of a group of people in Ireland who have worked for many years with Paul Rebillot, are graduates of his Advanced Training and who came together after Paul’s retirement with the aim of continuing his transformative work in this country.


COST: The workshop fee is 690 euros which includes accommodation, full board and all workshop materials.  Some reduced-fee bursaries may be available for those whose circumstances would make payment of the full fee impossible.


FURTHER INFORMATION: This workshop is suitable for anyone with an interest in self-exploration or personal development.  Although based on the Gestalt approach to psychotherapy no previous experience of Gestalt is required or assumed.  To request a more detailed printed brochure with booking form or for other queries telephone Fergus Lalor 021-4505711 (answering machine) or e-mail to fergus.lalor@upcmail.ie

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