Debbie Ford


Debbie Ford was an American self-help author, coach, lecturer and teacher, best known for her best seller The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. Her work is based on modern psychology and spiritual practices that aim to help the readers overcome their “shadow side”.


Debbie Ford was born on October 1, 1955.

Before she became a self-help phenomenon, Debbie Ford was a fashion retailer. And once she decided to write her first self-help book, it was in a big style: her first book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers (1998), created a sensation upon publication, and it spent several weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list in late 2000.

Before writing this book, Ford spent five years and $50,000 seeking to find who she was. In an interview she admitted that she used to be addicted to drugs and alcohol – by the age of 27 she was already in her fourth drug treatment center:

I grew up feeling very unwanted, not good enough, angry and depressed. When I was 13 my parents got divorced — a horrible incident for me. I turned to drugs. For 15 years I spent my life in alleys, living that kind of life. By 28, I was in so much pain, I knew I was either going to die or get better. That began my search: If I was going to live sober, without drugs, how could I love myself, be happy, feel great in this world?

But she used that experience to write books and to help other people – in her books she teaches how to acknowledge and accept peoples’ weaknesses, as these qualities may be important and hidden strengths.

Another inspiration for her writing was her difficult divorce, and it was that moment that ultimately inspired her toward meditation and ultimately to spiritual rejuvenation. She talks very openly about her broken marriage in her book Spiritual Divorce:

After a year of being married, I woke up and came to the bone-chilling realization that my marriage wasn’t going to work out. Even though I wasn’t married long, I had waited until I was 38 years old to marry because I wanted to make sure that I made the right choice, that I married the perfect husband who could support me in creating the perfect family. My divorce wasn’t just the death of a relationship, it was the death of a dream I had held since I was a little girl. I was completely devastated.

Ms. Ford is the founder of The Ford Institute for Integrative Coaching and creator of the Shadow Process Workshop.

Debbie Ford was fighting with cancer for 11 years. She died on February 17, 2013 in her home in San Diego, California.

Teachings and Philosophy

Debbie Ford tried all kinds of spiritual practices, mind control, therapy, hypnosis rebirthing, Buddhist retreats, Sufi dancing, to quell her insecurities and unhappiness, but nothing worked until she found “the light” (happiness) through various praying and spiritual practices. During one of those moments that she realized “how to embrace the world within her”, and she shared her process and her philosophy in her books.

She shows her readers how to integrate their dualistic nature, and urges them to love both the good and the shortcomings – people must embrace their “shadow” (dark side):

My goal is to make people see themselves beyond their mask, beyond their persona.

She explains that “the shadow” is anything we try to hide, deny or suppress, anything that we do not integrate or accept in ourselves. We can find our shadow by looking at the world and seeing what we hate about other people, and there, we will find our shadow. She often quoted Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, who said that “the gold is in the dark”, and she explains that the reason why we need to get to know our “shadow” is because “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making that darkness conscious”.

I can promise anybody if you’re willing to explore your shadow and your shadow beliefs – “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unlovable,” “nobody wants me,” – and are willing to find their gifts and integrate them, they will release you from whatever pain you’re in, and ultimately deliver your unique contribution to the world.


  • Embracing Your Shadow
  • Spiritual Divorce
  • Dark Side of the Light Chasers
  • The Best Year Of Your Life Kit
  • A Letter from Heaven: God’s Gifts to a Mother, Through the Death of Her Daughter
  • Why Good People Do Bad Things
  • The Secret of the Shadow
  • The Right Questions
  • The Best Year of Your Life
  • The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self
  • The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse: A Breakthrough Program for Connecting with Your Soul’s Deepest Purpose
  • Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence


Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.

Each aspect within us needs understanding and compassion. If we are unwilling to give it to ourselves how can we expect the world to give it to us?

When you learn that you can trust life, life will deliver treasures beyond your imagination.

For when I can love all of me, I will love all of you.

In the video below Debbie Ford explains what “the shadow” is:

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