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Voice Dialogue - Inner Self Awareness

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Research over the last ten years, using brain scans, suggests that selves quite clearly exist as sub-personalities within the brain and that some can even be located in specific parts of the left and right hemispheres.

Here are some comments (edited) from writers, researchers and other professionals:

James Fadiman Ph.D. Psychologist .....
People are better seen as a multiple collection of sub-personalities rather than as a single unified self. The old concept of just one constant self simply does not fit the complexity and changeability we experience daily in our personality. Fadiman describes us all as being made up of ‘multiple personalities’ and says that we become healthier and enjoy new freedom and stability as we learn to communicate between these various selves. This in turn lets us understand and work with them, as we were meant to.

Richard Schwartz .......
In a family unit there are flesh-and-blood human beings whose behaviour can be tracked, whose reactions can be described. But what are the ‘parts’ of our internal mental family? What are the ‘components’ within that box and how do they interact? Some answers to our questions are beginning to appear from a new wave of brain research and work on artificial intelligence that has tremendous implications for the understanding of human psychology.
Schwartz considers that one of the best discussions of this work is found in ‘The Social Brain’ by Michael Gazzaniga, the scientist whose early research on the different functions of left and right brain in the 50’s and 60’s altered forever our ideas about how thinking occurs. Gazzaniga's more recent research has led him to conclude that the original distinction between left and right hemisphere function was simplistic. The brain actually consists of an undetermined number of independently functioning units or ‘modules’ with specialised functions.
As we go through our daily lives, different modules are accessed within us, typically without these shifts being part of our conscious awareness or control. For instance have you ever felt extremely sad or needy and started behaving towards your partner in a way that you were sure was going to make things worse and yet you were unable to stop yourself? Or felt as if something or someone had taken control of you? Or found yourself embroiled in an intense Inner debate that you couldn’t turn off no matter what? These experiences are dramatic reminders of how our ‘modular selves’ direct our everyday experiences (more particularly when we are feeling vulnerable.)

Victoria Resch - Sydney psychologist and voice dialogue trainer and facilitator ......
The motives of your sub-personalities are always positive, but they are sometimes misguided. Each one is there to serve you - wanting to help - but sometimes they operate on the best solution that was available to you at an earlier time in your life. With added maturity and experience, you are able to improve on the habitual methods of a sub-personality formed when you were an infant, a child or a teenager.

Robert Ornstein - Psychoneurologist .....
Instead of a single, intellectual entity, the mind is diverse and complex. It contains a changeable conglomeration of small minds and these different entities are temporarily employed - wheeled into consciousness - and then returned to their place after use.

Sandra Karen Watanabe O.T.R. - Family Therapist - Boston ....
Personality can be seen as a distinct group of ‘characters’ that interact in a highly differentiated internal system. Our experience of ‘our self’ is really the experience of all these different parts of our personality and the way they interplay. Over time we develop a highly distinct and consistent 'cast' of internal characters, each one of which is capable of interacting by itself with the outside world.

Lucia Capacchione author of Recovery of Your Inner Child

For years I’ve said that the basic unit of society is NOT the outer family. It’s the Inner Family: The nurturing and protective (inner) Parents within us taking care of our own Inner Child. In our work, the core self assumes its rightful place as the decision maker. It also takes charge of the Critical Inner Parent so that it does not take over, especially by dumping on other people.

Other Terms and Models
In different models of personality the inner selves are known by similar names including:
* inner voices
* inner families
* adapted selves
* sub-personalities
* cast of characters
* protector or coping mechanisms
* coping behaviour or coping patterns
* adapted adult-child patterns
* ego states

For more references I have added a very detailed Bibliography on Inner Selves, Self Awareness and related subjects going back to the 1930s

I would very much like to add some more quotes to this page.

Please E-mail me if you can give me any quotes or extracts from psychologists or other authorities that support the reality of the inner selves.

My special thanks and appreciation to Dorsey Cartwright, Dallas Texas for her help in compiling these notes.

A Short History of the Inner Selves

People have known about inner selves since the earliest days of psychology and therapy but talked about them under different names such as sub-personalities, coping mechanisms, inner families and other similar terms.

Before that, for thousands of years the inner selves had been recognised as archetypes. Their powers and activities in those days were usually attributed to different saints, gods, goddesses or associated spiritual entities.