There is a lot of social media advice telling us to try mirror work. Look at yourself in the mirror and come back positive. Mirrorwork is a practice dating back to 13th century Persia and popularised by Louise Hay in the 1980s. It involves looking at yourself in a mirror and engaging in various exercises to promote self-awareness, self-acceptance, and personal growth. Some benefits of mirror work include increasing self-confidence and compassion, inner peace and trust in yourself and your life. However, mirror work can also be challenging or potentially harmful for some people, especially when in a vulnerable or healing state. As somebody who used mirror work (I had my ride-or-dies alongside me), I can attest to the benefits after I went through the “Dark Night of The Soul” period. So, here’s the thing: You must be in the right place. In this article, as somebody who is a trauma researcher and wellness practitioner, I want to outline some of the risks and limitations of mirror work that you should be aware of before trying it:

Mirror Work Can Hurt

Mirror work can trigger negative feelings and thoughts about yourself. Suppose you struggle with low self-esteem or body image issues. In that case, looking at yourself in the mirror and addressing your deep-seated beliefs and negative thoughts can make you feel worse about yourself and increase your self-criticism. You may also experience strong and unexpected emotions that may be difficult to cope with, especially if you have a history of trauma, abuse, or complex life events. That’s why having support to turn to is essential.

Mirror work requires support and guidance. Engaging in mirror work without help, such as a support group, friends, or professional service, can be risky, as you may need to learn how to process your emotions and may inadvertently re-traumatise yourself. You may also have unrealistic expectations about the results of mirrorwork and feel disappointed, frustrated, or like a failure if they don’t materialise. Therefore, it is advisable to seek their guidance throughout the process.

Mirror work can blur personal boundaries and over-identify with your image or appearance. Looking at yourself in the mirror for a long time can make you lose sight of the other aspects of your identity and personality and overly focus on your physical appearance. That can be problematic if you are body conscious or have a distorted perception of your body, such as body dysmorphic disorder.

Mirror work can re-traumatise you if you have a history of trauma. For some people who have experienced trauma, looking at themselves in the mirror can trigger traumatic memories and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That can make mirror work more harmful than helpful, as it can increase your distress and anxiety.

And It Can Help Healing

Mirror work is not inherently dangerous, and it can be a helpful tool for some people who want to develop self-love, self-care, and personal growth. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be considered. Suppose you are considering mirrorwork as part of your healing process. In that case, you must be aware of your emotional state, personal boundaries, and any underlying issues that may affect your ability to engage in this practice safely and effectively. Ask yourself, “Am I ready for what may turn up?” Also, consulting with a mental health professional can provide valuable insights and support to ensure that mirror work is used to promote your well-being.


We warmly invite you to join our vibrant community by sharing your valuable insights and contributing a guest post. Your unique perspective is a valuable addition to our platform. If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, don’t hesitate to contact us to be part or our trauma support groups or contact mental health professionals for guidance and assistance. You’re not alone on this journey to healing.