Shift, shifts or shifting are the terms used for when Therianthropes have experiences that cause them to feel more like their Theriotype in a non-physical manner. Shifts are usually temporary, but some Therians have reported feeling constant shifts, most commonly phantom shifts. However, having shifts is not required to identify as a Therianthrope. Also, a person does not need to experience every type of shift to be a Therian. Some Therians may only ever experience one type of shift throughout their life.

See also: Contherianthropy

Shifts can occur in varying strength and frequency and be both a positive or negative experience. Multiple types of shifts can be experienced simultaneously. Often shifting is entirely controllable, but sometimes a therian will experience strong shifts that do cause them to temporarily loose the ability to function completely as a human. Shifting is typically involuntary, but some Therians learn to induce voluntary shifts.

Shifting has been discussed since the beginning of the online Therian community. "Your best mental transformation", is a discussion from AHWW which took place on December 1, 1993.[1][2]

"Often times this is a slang term used by Therians for "Shape shifting". Shift is often used moreso than shape shift because shift by itself means 'change' and "Shape" shifting leads people to think of changing in a physical sense. Since no physical shift has ever been proven, most therians would like to disassociate themselves from those who claim the "surreptitious" ability." [3]
Before we get into the types of therianthropic shifts, we must use some discretion. Be aware that having a single shift or even several shifts does not mean that you should assume, without a doubt, that you are a Therian. We must carefully consider what experiences are relevant. It is important to remain mindful and not jump to conclusions. There are rational explanations for why we might experience shifts that have nothing to do with Therianthropy or being Therian. We must be mindful and cautious that we are not simply imagining these sensations or potentially tricking our minds.

See also: Shifter's Disease

The following are common types of shifts and their abbreviations, although shifting can manifest in many other different forms which are not listed. It appears that most shift terms used today had been established by 1999. [4] Sensory, Emotional, and Cameo to not appear on the list from 1999.


Voluntary Shift
A shift that occurs due to being consciously induced.

Involuntary Shift
A shift that occurs without will or conscious control.

Common Therianthropic Shifts

A brief description is provided. Click to learn more.

Mental Shift (MS or m-shift)
When a Therian's mental state become more like that of the theriotype. This is not a physical shift.

Phantom Shift (Ph-shift)
This is a phenomenon that refers to the sensations of having a theriotype's body or parts of the body, such as a tail, that are not physically present. This is not a physical shift.

Spiritual Shift (S or S-shift)
When the spiritual self is turned into the theriotype. This is not a physical shift.

Sensory Shift (SE or Se-Shift)
Also known as a Sense Shift. When a Therian's become more like that of the theriotype due to heightened focus or awareness, possibly hypersensitivity. This is not a physical shift.

Emotional Shift
When a Therian shifts during a certain emotion like stress or anger. This is not a physical shift.

Dream Shift (DS or d-shift)
When a Therian shifts into the theriotype during a dream. This is not a physical shift.

Cameo Shift (C)
A shift into an animal that is not a theriotype.

Other Therianthropic Shifts

Aura Shift (A)

An aura shift is when a person changes the shape of their auric field to that of their theriotype, and also changes they way it's charged to a more animal like aura.

Astral Shift (As)

When the Therian enters a non-physical plane of existence (spirit realm) and takes on the form of the theriotype. This is not a physical shift.

Bilocation Shift (Bi)

Bilocation is the phenomenon of being in two places simultaneously. A shift in which the spirit temporarily leaves the human body and materializes elsewhere. It is similar to an "out of body experience" but the "spirit body" is shaped like that of the theriotype.

Physical Shift
When a person physically becomes his/her theriotype. This is the most controversial shift for a number of reasons and no solid evidence has been provided. It should also be noted that people that claim to be able to physically shift are heavily frowned upon.

See Also



Vacillant Therianthropy


Further Reading

O. Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged,” last modified Sept. 8, 2012 in The Art and Writing of O. Scribner

Therian Timeline - Words and Concepts -

"Types of Shifts" written by Sonne, Project Shift -


  1. "Your best mental transformation", AHWW, December 1, 1993 -
  2. Pinky, "Shifting and Awareness Terms" December 24, 1999,
  3. Encyclopedia -
  4. Shifting and Awareness Terms