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Session 279: The Power of Shadow Work

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

It’s officially spooky season y’all! For many of us, the idea of gazing into the darkest parts of ourselves is more terrifying than any Halloween thriller or monster movie we could ever watch. It can difficult emotional work to dig up the parts of ourselves that we’d rather bury six feet under. The repressed parts of ourselves often challenge who we think we are and bring up feelings we’d rather forget. But what if we learned to integrate and accept the parts of ourselves we hide in the dark? What if uncovering the parts of ourselves we’re hiding in the shadows will illuminate who we really want to be?

This week I’m joined by licensed therapist and author of The Shadow Work Workbook: Self-Care Exercises for Healing Your Trauma and Exploring Your Hidden Self, Jor-El Caraballo. Our conversation explores how shadow work allows for more self acceptance and living a more aligned life and the hidden gifts and talents that may be locked away in our shadow selves.


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Producers: Fredia Lucas, Ellice Ellis & Cindy Okereke

Read Full Transcript

Session 279: The Power of Shadow Work

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 279 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: It's officially spooky season y'all. For many of us, the idea of gazing into the darkest parts of ourselves is more terrifying than any Halloween thriller or monster movie we could ever watch. Which is understandable. It can be difficult emotional work to dig up the parts of ourselves that we'd rather bury six feet under. The repressed parts of ourselves often challenge who we think we are and bring up feelings we'd rather forget. But what if we learn to integrate and accept the parts of ourselves we had in the dark? What if uncovering the parts of ourselves we’re hiding in the shadows will illuminate who we really want to be. In this week's session, I'm joined by licensed therapist and author of The Shadow Work Workbook: Self-Care Exercises for Healing Your Trauma and Exploring Your Hidden Self, Jor-El Caraballo.

Our conversation explores how shadow work allows for more self-acceptance and living a more aligned life, and the hidden gifts and talents that may be locked away in our shadow selves. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession or join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in depth about the episode. You can join us at Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Jor-El, can you get started by telling us what is shadow work?

Jor-El: Sure. Shadow work, to me, is the process of bringing the unconscious conscious. It's about connecting with the hidden parts of ourselves that we probably don't acknowledge in our day-to-day interactions. I kind of think about it in terms of like the Wizard of Oz moment where they finally discover who the wizard is and it's like peeling back that curtain to seeing like what is the reality of the things that have been the driving forces in my world and my space that maybe I haven't acknowledged? And so shadow work to me is the process of getting connected to those things and figuring out what you want to do with them and how you want to exist alongside them.

Dr. Joy: Can you say something about the history of this term? Where does this term come from, our shadow work or shadow self?

Jor-El: The term shadow was popularized by analyst, psychoanalyst (whatever terms people used in those days), Carl Jung who was competitor of Freud. He’s another old white dude back in the day who was trying to figure out why people do the things they do and how to treat people and take care of people. He came up with this idea that sort of mirrors Freud's idea of the unconscious, but he kind of expanded upon it to give this language that was a little bit more psycho spiritual. Which is a lot of what Jung was about, you know, he was someone who was a traditional analyst, but he was also this person and scholar who was interested in astrology and the connection between psychology and astrology and spirituality. He was a little bit different than Freud in how he conceptualized and how he thought about understanding all the parts of ourselves. And so if Freud had the unconscious, Jung had the shadow which is sort of like this hidden part of yourself. Since then, the strict unions will refer to the shadow, but it's not one of those really popular terms that comes up a lot in mainstream psychology.

Dr. Joy: How do we get started with doing shadow work? Let's say somebody hears our conversation and they're like, okay, I'm ready to do some of this shadow work. What does that even look like to get started?

Jor-El: First, I want people to recognize that it can be very difficult looking at yourself deeply, looking at parts of yourself that maybe aren't as good or wonderful or wholesome. It’s hard work psychologically and so the way I talk about it in the book is sort of this three-step process. From my mental health training, I take a trauma informed approach to it. One, it's important to really pace yourself because this is difficult emotional work. It’s probably going to bring up some not-so-great things for you. But then, two, it's like you want to have this process of setting yourself up for success with grounding or some sort of centering experience so you can really get past your normal sort of day-to-day defenses and feel secure in the work that you're about to do. Then you can really get into sort of these journal exercises that are in the book, these reflections on these deeper parts of yourself.

And then (and this is the part that's not often talked about and what I'm really glad that happens in the book) every topic also comes with a set of affirmations. Because ultimately, shadow work is about accepting and integrating. It's not this idea that you have these bad parts and they only exist to be bad and you are bad. No, it's the opposite. Shadow means we all have the capacity for whatever impulses, darker impulses, if you want to put it that way. If we can accept those as just a fact of being human, then we can integrate them and we can find ways to engage with them that are less harmful to ourselves and to others. So that three-part process, I say grounding or centering, then doing the work of journaling, reflecting, and then affirming yourself and working on self-compassion is the way to go.

Dr. Joy: Can you say more about why this work can be really difficult for people? Like what kinds of things typically come up that make this process a little more daunting?

Jor-El: I think there's so much. And I also have to say this, I think in some ways, most mental health professionals are shadow workers, whether they take on that moniker or not. Because a lot of times we’re trying to help people... Not always, but a lot of times we're trying to help people get insight which is sort of looking beyond what they have been able to look at so far. And I think with that, once you look behind the curtain, so to speak, there are things that come up that are really uncomfortable. Like if you think of yourself as a compassionate or thoughtful person yet you realize that you have the real capacity to have these aggressive impulses, then seeing that and feeling that can be really hard because it really challenges the idea of how you see yourself.

I'll give a personal example which happens a lot in New York City, because that's where I live. I consider myself a pretty conflict averse person. I don't like arguments, it's just like not my jam. I grew up in a house that was very calm, probably too calm, and so I really avoid that. But if I'm on the subway and someone steps on my foot, my first impulse, the first thought I have is like I want to push or punch this person. Whether they intended to do it or not, that's my immediate visceral impulse, is like defend. Even though I know better, even though I know it's crowded and maybe they weren't paying attention. Whatever the rationale is, that's my visceral impulse but that's not how I live my life. I've never done it, I don't really want to do it, but that impulse comes up for me. And to me, that's something that's so baseline shadow that I feel that no matter what I do. So instead of judging myself and then saying, “oh, you are a horrible, violent person, what you really want to do is hurt the people around you, you want to take advantage of your size in these ways and you want to punish someone,” and make myself feel bad for that... I can say instead I'm having this reaction. It's because someone did something that pains me or hurt me. How do I actually want to respond?

It's okay that I'm having that reaction. It's not okay to do it, so then how do I keep myself from doing it? I can accept that that impulse comes up, that those feelings come up, and I can say, okay, maybe a lot of people might have the same visceral reaction, but there's something about it that keeps us from doing that. So maybe I'm like everyone else. Maybe I'm okay, actually. Maybe I'm not an evil, horrible person who wants to harm other people. Maybe it's just a reaction and that I can live with myself with that. And so that's kind of the idea. It may bring up these feelings or things that don't feel great and really challenge how we see ourselves. And so that's why that compassion piece is so important.

Dr. Joy: What would be the purpose, Jor-El, of learning that about yourself? Like learning that you have this impulse, even though you wouldn't act on it. How might it be helpful to know? If you did shadow work and came up with this conclusion, which it sounds like maybe you have, how is this information helpful to you? How do you use it?

Jor-El: I think the way that it's really helpful is that if you understand this about yourself, and I think this was also Jung's theory about integration and individuation. Which basically means if you come to understand that you have the capacity for these darker, more difficult feelings, thoughts, behaviors, etc.... If you can accept that maybe that fantasy exists in which you'd like to push the person who stepped on your shoe, if you can accept that, then it actually reduces the likelihood that you're going to act out on that fantasy. Because you realize it's just a fantasy and everyone has that kind of fantasy. Most people aren't going around hitting people.

Even if you can do that with the other emotional pieces, too. If you get into an argument with your partner, and you have this moment where you're like I'm gonna say the thing that I know is going to be the thing that's going to hurt them. “I'm gonna go for it because I want them to hurt as much as I hurt right now,” that's also shadow. And so if you can integrate that, if you can say like that impulse comes up, then maybe that's something you can keep yourself from doing even in those moments, too. You can say, oh, I'm feeling really hurt right now, I'm feeling this impulse to hurt you back, and I'm trying to stop myself, so maybe we need to take a break here. And it can be helpful in so many different areas of life so that things don't escalate, even if we're not talking about like physical aggression and violence.

Dr. Joy: You likened it early on to Freud's concept of the subconscious. Jung's work is really looking at our shadow and these things that we want to repress about ourselves, like we don't even want to acknowledge this to ourselves and other people. Why do you think we work so hard to repress some of these pieces?

Jor-El: One, I think that it’s natural. And so if we go back to some of those old school theories about psychology is that we have these innate sort of defense mechanisms that help us protect ourselves from difficult feelings, from painful emotional experiences, etc. So in part, I think that it's natural. And I think that it's really difficult for people to sit with negative emotions in general. I think that's in part because we have these natural defense mechanisms, but I also think that there's a lot of social messaging that we get about how to respond to our emotions. I think there's a lot of pressure out there to be positive, to be a good person, to have like these certain kinds of values. And so if you start to understand that there are parts of yourself that don't fit completely within those values, it's hard to look at that. It's hard to face that. And so I think a lot of times, we don't want to do that work of looking at ourselves more deeply because, not only does it challenge how we see ourselves, it may challenge how other people see us too. And so then you're getting into the social status, like how you show up in the world, how people will respond to you if they knew this uglier, hidden side of you. And so I think that's a lot of what keeps people from doing that deeper work. It is scary, it is scary to face that.

Dr. Joy: I feel like a complement to shadow work is often inner child work. Is that similar or what is the connection between inner child work and shadow work?

Jor-El: That’s a good question especially because so many people are sort of talking about inner child work now. I tend to frame it as inner child work is or can be a part of shadow work in so much that the things that we experience when we are younger very easily can become repressed because we don't have the skills to really deal with them when we're eight, nine, 10. And so I like to think of inner child work as being a part of shadow work. But obviously, you can engage with your inner child in any form of therapy. But I tend to think that since repression comes so easily for us as children (not easily but maybe a bit more automatically as children), inner child work is really fertile ground for shadow work because repression and denial or extreme compartmentalizing is a hallmark of shadow work. It's like all the pushing all that stuff to the back corner of your mind and you never really look at it. And so I think that shadow work can offer a good healthy space to engage with those things that have happened in your younger years that maybe you haven't thought so much about as an adult or as someone who's grown up a bit more.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Jor-El after the break.


Dr. Joy: I want to read a quote from the book that really stood out. You said: Many people think that the shadow self is all about the hidden dark and scary material of our lives. While the shadow is the holding space for that kind of material, it also holds personal gifts and talents that have since been tarnished in your mind. Can you say more about the gifts and talents piece?

Jor-El: Yeah. Also, it's so weird to have your words read back to you. I'm like, oh, yeah, I did write that, that sounds alright.

Dr. Joy: I did say that.

Jor-El: And I think this is a good follow up from the inner child piece is that anything that is deemed socially unacceptable is also ripe to be hidden in the shadow. And so that social response can be the greater culture, it could also be in your immediate family and caregivers and that sort of thing. And so many of us, especially if you're more creative... I don't know, I'm also a black man who grew up in the Bible Belt of North Carolina and so being creative, wanting to write, wanting to do things that weren't athletic and that sort of thing were problems. You’re like, no. Immediate family was kind of fine, but the greater social messaging was very clear. Like, no, you should be doing these other things. And as a result, those ideas of the things I wanted to do kind of got pushed to the side a lot and I kind of forgot about them. And so this idea of in the shadow there can also be these really awesome things about you that you just received messaging about was not okay, that it was inappropriate or you should be focusing on something else, those things get repressed too.

And so shadow work can really help you reconnect with those parts of yourself so that you now, as an adult, have the act of choice of like who do I want to be with this talent now? Who do I want to be with this gift? Who do I want to be with this personality trait or part of myself? Could that actually be okay? And so, yeah, I think that we talk about the shadow a lot and about what's sort of dark and scary and aggressive, but there are also really beautiful things there too. And I think that being able to work through the sort of barriers, the language the messaging to find out and reconnect with what makes you you is a really important facet of shadow work.

Dr. Joy: Can you share any journal prompts that maybe you shared in this part of the book? Particularly for touching on some of this early childhood stuff that we may have kind of lost connection with.

Jor-El: In talking about connecting with hidden gifts or talents, one of the prompts that's offered in the book is… The prompts are designed to help you sort of discover what the gifts might be, but also discover what the barriers have been. It starts off with like what gifts or traits did you have when you were younger that you've lost contact with, what were they? What were the things that really made childhood great for you? What things were you interested in? How did you see the world then that maybe you feel like you've lost contact with? And then exploring, well, what contributed to those barriers? What's made that distance persist for so long? Is it the social messaging? Is it the family messaging? Is it preoccupation with other goals in your life? And then starting to think about now other ways in which you can bring that back into your life as an adult. How could that fit into your life now? And getting people to think about that integration piece of saying like I can bring this thing about me maybe that's really inherently me, an inherent part of who I am. How can I bring that forward? Again, because maybe it's okay now. Now that I have the choice, maybe I have more agency, I have more strength to defend it, do I want to bring it forward now? And how do I want to make it a part of my life? It's those kinds of questions and reflections that are in the book.

Dr. Joy: And I really appreciate that. That sounds like a very straightforward kind of a prompt. But when you think about it, especially in the example that you gave. These pieces of yourself that you couldn't connect with because of family pressure, now as an adult, if you're journaling on this or writing to this, then you're also having to come to grips with, what other things did I learn from my family? And like what kinds of messages have I internalized that maybe weren't based on what I truly am interested in?

Jor-El: That's absolutely the point and that's a really beautiful idea. You know this as a mental health pro, it’s like that's a beautiful thing to offer to someone. It can also be scary because then you're like, oh, wait, did I waste time? Am I the person who I actually want to be? Am I not? What does this mean? It brings up so many difficult feelings that you may have to sort through.

Dr. Joy: In the book, you also talked about attachment styles. Can you talk a little bit about how attachment styles are connected to shadow work?

Jor-El: Yeah, and there's also a lot of conversation about attachment these days, sometimes too much, to be honest. But the reason why I felt it was important to include it in the book was the attachment that we have with family, primary caregivers when we're young, really creates narratives for us. Whether you really believe in attachment theory or the specific categories or that sort of thing is less important than the idea that those early relationships and those early experiences inform how we view relationships. And so there are likely ways in which every adult acts out some of the patterns that were present in their early life, when it comes to attachment and relationships. That's our primary model for how we relate to the world outside of us. And if there are things in our history that have been difficult for us, as it relates to relationships, early experiences, if we can reconnect with those, if we can give ourselves space to connect with whatever that hurt or that difficulty or that challenge was, then we can actually start to heal it. Then we can create a new narrative so then maybe it changes from, “I don't know why I have a hard time trusting people” to “I know why I have a hard time trusting people and this is something I'm going to work on and bring to every relationship moving forward.”

And so that's why I thought it was important to include some conversation about attachment. I don't know if you've had this experience, I've certainly had this experience of you forget a lot of the details about childhood, these sort of little moments that have happened, until something really random triggers it. It doesn't have to be traumatic. It could just be this moment where you got like this very special toy and that meant something. Maybe it meant something in the context of that relationship with that person and you haven't thought about it for 20, 30 years. But maybe you see the toy, that memory comes back, and then you sort of connect with this idea of like, oh, why was that thing so important? Why was that moment so important? There's probably something there that you don't consciously think about most days and probably shouldn't think about every day, but there's something there that if you uncover it, it probably has some meaning and informs how your relationships move now.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, and I can definitely see, based on the theories of attachment and thinking about our very early childhood experiences, I feel like those are ripe for shadow work. The idea that because of whatever connection or lack of connection you maybe had with early caregivers, this is how you now show up in relationships. I can imagine that there's a lot of shadow work that can sometimes need to be done there.

Jor-El: For sure. And I think it's just ripe with material and information, and why not make use of those things? And the idea is moving something from just a memory or a potential liability to something that you can use productively and progressively in your life moving forward.

Dr. Joy: What do you feel like are some of the most common misconceptions about shadow work?

Jor-El: It's kind of funny because I don't think there are a lot of misconceptions about shadow work because I don't think a lot of people even know what it is, to be honest. So there's that. But by extension of that, I think that people don't think that it can be helpful because it requires... And we hear this argument sometimes about therapy in and of itself, too. Which is, oh, if you're looking back or you're looking into these deep things, like I'm fine. I'm going to work, I have this relationship, I'm doing whatever, I'm fine. Things are okay on my end. So I think there's this idea that shadow work and really any personal development work isn't necessary or can't be helpful. And my response to that is you can certainly go about life in whatever sort of fashion or level feels right for you. That's not the point of anything that I offer, is to say that you're wrong. I think the idea is that, whether it's with shadow work or anything else, if you want to have deeper insight, if you want to look at yourself from a different lens, if you want to have support in exploring yourself in a way that creates a life that really feels aligned for you, then this is why this work can be valuable. This is why it can be helpful.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Jor-El after the break.


Dr. Joy: You mentioned earlier that you feel like a lot of therapists do shadow work, whether we call it that or not. How are you envisioning perhaps therapists either using this with their clients or clients bringing the workbook to their sessions and using it? How are you envisioning that?

Jor-El: That's a good question. I think it's both and what's really interesting about this is that it's entry based. You pick out a topic or theme that you want to look at and that's how you can work with it. And so I've even used some of these prompts and these sort of themes in my work with clients. Usually, like for therapists, these are good homework activities. If you're trying to peel back some exploration and have a client go further in thinking about something, this is a good entry point or a good way to deepen that conversation and then you can continue to explore it in session. And the point of any... At least to me, a book like this is also that people have access to do it themselves. If they feel comfortable, they feel like they can do this work on their own, they can. They can buy the book, they can do the entries in a way that suits them. And/ or they can also bring it to session. Clients bring things to me all the time. Like, I saw this thing and it made me think about this. Or like I saw it and I kind of felt weird about it, can we talk about it? That happens all the time. And so I think that something like this could also be really helpful in giving an entryway into a deeper exploration that is less about what's happening in someone's life day to day, but is more about the broader themes and the deeper stories we have about ourselves.

Dr. Joy: Jor-El, are there any contraindications for shadow work? Is there any reason why someone might not want to do shadow work? Maybe given what's going on in their lives, any particular like mental health concerns. Are there any concerns that you would want to put out for people around doing shadow work?

Jor-El: Yeah, absolutely. I think first and foremost, if someone is in any space of crisis, this is not the space for them to be doing this kind of work. That's number one. Another one, which I mention briefly in the book, is it can be really difficult for people who are struggling, actively struggling with depression and like severe depression, to do some of this work. Because it reveals some of the negative things that we think about ourselves and my experience is that people with really severe depression have no trouble doing that. That's often the problem—they're overly identified with the parts in themselves that maybe aren't as good or not as well. And so if someone is really in a moment, maybe not of crisis, but in a deep depression, really struggling, I would say this is not the time to do this work. Wait until you feel a lot more centered, a lot more grounded and where you feel a lot more secure, until you sort of get into this. Because it's just going to reinforce maybe some of those negative stories. Because it lends itself to those darker thoughts, darker feelings, and if you're already struggling with that, you don't need more. So just wait on it.

Dr. Joy: I appreciate you sharing that. Are there particular experiences or stressors in our lives that kind of force us to deal with our shadow self?

Jor-El: Yeah, I think there are so many. I'll share from a personal experience and one of the entries in this book. There was a very meta process happening for me. One of the entries is about this idea of sort of leveling up like in your career or your personal life, in some way sort of like facing another challenge. And so for me as I was writing this book was that for me. It brought up all this other stuff from my own shadow. And I'm like, I'm good, I feel confident in my work, I know what I'm doing. Yes, I still try and learn all the time but like I feel settled and grounded in that. And then all of a sudden, the prospect that this book was going to happen came up and all these old stories came back. Of like, really? You gonna do this? Do you think you can do this? Why would you be the one to do this? Someone else will be better to write this book. You should probably not take this risk. And so rising to a new challenge can certainly bring about sort of shadow or subconscious material to the surface. And that's a really good thing. It's a beautiful thing that I've been able to contribute in this way, but it was hard for that reason. So that's an example.

I think any period of major change can be super revealing. I often think about it as like sometimes when we are really jostled or shaken, that's a moment where there can be a lot of learning. It can be very revealing to us. I think for a lot of people, this is something that happened throughout the pandemic. This big huge thing happened and people were like, oh, maybe I'm not okay. Maybe I don't like the life I've been living, actually. Maybe I don't like this job, maybe I don't like this partner, maybe I don't like where I'm living. What have I been doing? I've certainly seen people making a lot of changes because they were faced with this kind of existential crisis. And so it made them pull back that veil on themselves to say like, oh, I've actually been feeling this way for a while now. I just never connected to it. I never paid attention to it. Now, what do I want to do with it?

Dr. Joy: A couple of things, Jor-El. I feel like you just gave me the material for my own therapy session, as I'm also in the book writing process and feeling like I identify very much with what you're sharing. Just this idea that you're doing this new thing that stretches you in ways that you could not have imagined. One, that. And I also think there's something about just getting rid of all of the busyness that was happening in our lives when we had the first lockdown, so to speak. I think that that just allowed people to have more space and more stillness to kind of think through some of these things that you just typically don't because you're running from thing to thing.

Jor-El: Yeah, absolutely. Busy and hustle culture certainly keeps us from ourselves in a lot of ways. I've been having so many conversations, both professionally and personally, about people really redefining how they want to spend their time, what's important to them, all of that stuff. So yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Joy: How did you decide that this was the book? You talked a little bit earlier about feeling like it was very timely, which I agree with. But you do so many different things. I've heard you talk about lots of different topics, so how did you kind of narrow in on shadow work as the thing you wanted to have your first book be about?

Jor-El: It's a funny question because it actually was not my idea. In terms of this being the thing that I was going to put out first. Essentially, what happened was I had written and shared some information on the idea before and an editor reached out to me and they said, hey, we think that something along these lines could be really good for what we do and what we want to offer—what do you think? Let's have a conversation about it. And it was really in that process where I said, okay, so maybe this is the thing. Maybe this is the start of another era of sharing information in a different way. I'm honestly just really happy that it's this idea because I am...

To the point of like these personality traits that might be shadow kind of stuff, ever since I was very, very young, I was called someone who was deep. In early parts of my life, it was kind of a criticism. You know, it’s kind of strange to be a nine-year-old like, what does this all mean? That's who I am. And so once we started having these conversations about the book, I said this is a really interesting opportunity to take people there. And to really take it a step further, take the psychology stuff a bit further and say, all right, let's get into the ugly a little bit. There's a lot of conversation about positivity and all of those things in that realm, let's go the other way. Let's look at what's really sitting back there that you don't want to look at. What's been really hard for you? What's been the thing that's really hard for you to integrate and break out of a pattern? Because maybe that's where you should be looking, let's shine some light there. So it just really aligned for me and I'm really glad that it sort of manifested in the way that it has.

Dr. Joy: I'm very excited, too. I think people will get a lot of benefit from going through the exercises and really paying attention to the things that come up for them as a result of working through the workbook. You talked about affirmations and I would love for you to share maybe one or two affirmations that you can give our audience who may be interested in attempting the shadow work but maybe feel a little daunted by the process or feel a little worried about starting the process. What affirmation or words of encouragement would you give them?

Jor-El: I guess I might say something like, I can do the hard work at looking at myself. I can survive understanding the parts of myself that feel difficult to look at. These parts of myself are part of what makes me human. I think I’d start there.

Dr. Joy: Those feel like a beautiful start. Where can we get the book, Jor-El? When is the book coming out?

Jor-El: The book is out on September 13.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so very soon. You're like in launch?

Jor-El: I am right in the middle of it, yes. The book is available wherever books are sold, so wherever you feel most comfortable. I really want to encourage people to support independent bookstores if you can. I have a bookshop page myself, so if you want to purchase it there, that is an affiliate link. But really any major stores. Amazon, I think Target, Walmart are going to carry it. It's wherever you can get your books. If it's not at your local bookstore, also call them. Send an email and say like, hey, I think you should order this book, I think that our community would really like it. That'd be awesome.

Dr. Joy: Absolutely. And where can we stay connected with you, Jor-El? What's your website as well as any social media handles you'd like to share?

Jor-El: You can find me all over because I tend to do many things. I'm on Twitter and Instagram, mostly @JorElCaraballo. My website is My business is @VivaMentalHealth and that's the handle on Instagram as well. That's a therapy practice I co-founded with my business partner and friend and we are in New York, Pennsylvania and California. We have offices, so if you're also looking for support in therapy, you can find out some information there too.

Dr. Joy: Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Jor-El, I really appreciate it.

Jor-El: Thank you for the time and thank you for having me.

Dr. Joy: Absolutely. I'm so glad Jor-El was able to share his expertise with us today. To learn more about him and to grab your copy of the Shadow Work Workbook, visit the show notes at And don't forget to text two of your girls and tell them to check out the episode right now. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here