The Backward Step

Journey to the center of yourself | taught by Josef Shapiro

Interested in this course? Email us at

Course description

The great Zen Master Dogen wrote in the 13th century:

 “You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self.”

He spoke of the enlightenment path, of course, 700 years before the creation of psychology, but his wisdom applies. The majority of psychospiritual work today is constructive and compensational in nature, rather than deconstructive and decompensational, which is the esoteric form of true inner work.

With select 1-1 clients who want to go deep and find the truest forms of their local selves, I offer a path similar to Internal Family Systems and Voice Dialogue Therapy. I call it "The Backward Step."

What you see below is not a course, but rather a location for exercises, tools, and other support related to that work. The "course" is set to private so you cannot see the material until we begin. If you're interested to learn more please watch part one and part two of the intro videos on The Backward Step.

If you are called to this deep and sacred work, please contact me directly.

Josef Shapiro
Josef Shapiro

Josef's Clear and Open approach shows top leaders and changemakers how to look continuously inward for the answers, and more importantly, how to apply what they’ve learned to improve every aspect of their lives and their business. Josef’s methodology includes deep coaching, radical introspection, meditation, and other tools that allow you to create meaningful change—from the inside out.

Course Curriculum

0. Introduction
Part One: Introducing The Backward Step
Part Two: Reclaiming Your Authentic Reality
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1. Beginning Backward: Past and Future
Welcome to your Authenticating You
Family of Origin History
Wounded Self, Strategic Self, and Ideal Self Summary
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2. Personal Inventory
Letters to Parents
Letters from Parents
Voice of Suffering, Metaphors, and Love Qualities
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3. Initial Access
Intro to Hurt, Anxiety, Rage, Control, and Depression
Letters to Emotional Themes
Letters from Emotional Themes to You
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4. Subpersona Journaling with Handwriting Styles
Subpersona Sentence Completions
Interview Questions Set 1
Interview Questions Set 2
Interview Questions Set 3
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Working with Sentinels
Attitudes, Behaviors, and Energies
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Gender Based Protocol
Set 1 Sentence Completions
Set 2 Sentence Completions
Set 3 Sentence Completions
Voice of the Heart TBD
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Interested in this course? Email us at