Inner Selves Consciousness is a self-compassion process that provides an opportunity to experientially explore psychological makeup. Its ultimate goal is to expand awareness of inner resources, create more self-awareness and conscious choice in life’s decision- making, relationship and behavioural challenges.
Voice Dialogue, Inner Selves was created by psychologists Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone in the 1970s. Inner Selves facilitation is a consciousness awakening process that brings real-time awareness to the many parts or Selves that make up what we identify as our personality.
We often refer to parts or Inner Selves in our everyday language when we say “A part of me feels/wants —-“
Each Inner Self is a unique, dynamic aspect of our psyche that has his/her own personality, interests, thoughts, feelings, opinions and energies. An Inner Self is born in response to life experiences, family dynamics and the developmental environment.
These Selves exist whether we are conscious of them or not.
The Inner Selves that we know about collectively make up our personality and are the face we present to the world. The ones we have little or no awareness of can be the source of reactive behaviours that need containment or they can be hiding talents and gifts that may offer new perspectives of possibility. These unknown parts of us have an equal and opposite presence in our makeup.
Inner Selves can include the following and their opposites.
- The Pusher and the Carefree Self
- The Caretaker and the Self – Nurturer
- The Perfectionist and the Imperfect Self
- The Rule Maker and the Rebel
- The Dependent and the Independent Self
- The Addict and the Disciplined Self
- The Inner Patriarch and the Inner Matriarch
- The Critic and the Inner Teacher
- The Inner Parent and the Inner Child
One of the main focuses of Inner Selves facilitation is to develop a psychotherapeutic tool called the “aware ego”. This can provide the capability to separate from inner parts of the personality that may unconsciously be driving troubling behaviour and obstructing the ability to make good choices. The separation provides a detached vantage point from which to assess life situations and choose what resources are needed to address the issue.
By having access to all of these Selves, the client can learn to:
- become the director of their inner resources
- be the observer of their actions and reactions
- shift their consciousness to a more aware state
- make decisions with conscious choice
- develop the ability to nurture and enjoy greater intimacy and authenticity in personal relationships.
The most powerful aspect of the Inner Selves process is its ability to access and give voice to all parts of us.
The Inner Selves process uses a specific protocol of objective inquiry that affords clients the opportunity to hear and understand the many parts of their psychological structure that have influence over beliefs, behaviours, communication, actions and reactions to experiences and challenges in life.
This inquiry is sensitive, non-judgmental and allows dialogue with the parts (Selves) that have developed to help cope with life challenges and experiences.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A SESSION
A typical Inner Selves session is fully guided by the facilitator and involves the following steps:
- Identify the life issue that requires attention
- Identify the Inner Self that is the primary player in the problem
- Initiate a conversation and inquiry first with the main Inner Self that is the main player and then with its opposite Self.
The facilitator begins an exploration of that Inner Self through curious inquiry, into his/her concerns, origins, job, memories, beliefs about right and wrong
In order to create a sense of both physical and energetic separation for the Inner Self, you will be asked to physically move to another location in the room. This gives the Inner Self a clear, unencumbered ‘voice’ that is heard in a very unique way by you.
In this process, you can begin to recognize the presence of the facilitated Self – its energy, its mental, emotional and spiritual presence.
- When the main Inner Self has finished speaking, you will be asked to move to a different location in the room that represents the energetic presence of the opposite Inner Self.
- The facilitator begins a second inquiry process with that opposite Inner Self.
- When that exploration is complete, you will be asked to move back to your original position to discuss, make observations and reflect on your ‘meeting’ of these Inner Selves. You will be encouraged to notice the feelings, awareness, surprises, and often a new relationship to the inner parts explored.
Knowing, developing and utilizing a conscious awareness of this Inner Self-system can give rise to greater self-knowledge, understanding of inner resources and the capability to use more of our gifts, talents and strengths.
Inner Selves IN YOUR LIFE
Working with the Inner Selves process can open the potential for increased resilience and emotional intelligence. It can support clients to:
- develop practical tools that can encourage effective inner and interpersonal communication
- discover the capability of choosing actions rather than reacting to old patterns of behaviour
- reveal the hidden parts of you that can support you now.
- find the language that can express and explore the experiences, feelings and beliefs of Selves without judgment or threat.
As Inner Selves are brought to consciousness, they can become the source of greater self-knowledge, compassion and understanding. This can, with commitment and time, develop capability and inner resources to operate in their lives with more balance, empowerment and awareness.