Psychology for Lawyers

understanding ourselves
subpersonalities & inner selves


"The notion that there are multiple aspects of the self, albeit described in different ways, has been put forward by authors from a range of theoretical traditions, including psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive-behavioural, constructivist, and narrative schools. . . . John Rowan . . . [looks at ] parts of the self . . . as 'any aspect of the person which can be personified.'"

--David Winter, Book Review (of John Rowan's Personification: Using the Dialogical Self in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Routledge, 2009), 7 Personal Construct Theory & Practice 12 (2010) [Winter argues that Rowan's book "provides a brief and tantalising glimpse of the integrative potential of the notion of the multiplicity of the person, and the therapeutic possibilities of personification." Id. at 13]

"Psychologically, polytheism is a matter of the radical experience of equally real, but mutually exclusive aspects of the self. . . . The person experiences himself as many selves each of which is felt to have autonomous power, a life of its own, coming and going on its own and without regard to the centered will of a single ego. Yet surprisingly this experience is not seen as a pathology. One gets along quite well in reality; in fact the very disparateness of the mutifaceted self seems to have survival power. It seems to carry with it a certain advantage in the face of the times."

--David L. Miller, The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses 5 (New York: Harper & Row 1974)

"Psyche brings with it its own plurality, fluidity, and the existence of relatively autonomous entities therein. . . . [P]sychology theory-making doesn't seem possible without . . . implicit personification. Jung was the arch exponent of this; his whole psychology takes the form of an animation of inner personages.

* * * *

On the personal level, we are faced with the pluralistic task of reconciling our many internal voices and images of ourselves with our wish and need to feel integrated and speak with one voice. It is an issue of intense feeling, this intrapsychic process. It has been become an issue of thinking, for psychological theory also seeks to see how the various conflicts, complexes, attitudes, functions, self-objects, part-selves, sub-personalities, deintegrates, psychic dramatis personae, internal objects, areas of the mind, subphases, gods--how all of these relate to the psyche as a whole. And what happens when a single part out of many begins to act as if it had the force and weight of the whole?"

--Andrew Samuels, The Plural Psyche: Personality, Morality, and the Father 2 (London: Routledge, 1989)

"The self divided is precisely where the self is authentically located . . . . Authenticity is the perpetual dismemberment of being and not-being a self, a being that is always in many parts, like a dream with a full cast. We all have identity crises because a single identity is a delusion of the monotheistic mind . . . . We all have dispersed consciousness . . . . Authenticity is in the illusion, playing it, seeing through it from within as we play it, like an actor who sees through his mask and can only see in this way."

--James Hillman, Healing Fiction 39 (New York: Station Hill, 1983)

"As we listen in our thought to the critiques of ourselves and of others, we hear not only the voice of the mother or the father, but the teacher, the style of pedagogy we were schooled in, the structure of the workplaces and their values that we have given credence to the intrapsychic, the interior or the imaginal is not an isolated preserve; it is a distillation of history, culture, religion, and nature.

* * * *

In my work Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues . . . , I have described the dialogical nature of thought, how thought is a mosaic of voices in conversation. The complexity of thought can begin to be grasped as we discern the nature of the various voices who are speaking, and become aware of the manner of relation between them and between our 'observing ego' and each of them. I argued there that the promoting of dialogue among the multiplicity was crucial to psychological awareness and well-being."

--Mary Watkins, "Pathways Between the Multiplicities of the Psyche and Culture: The Development of Dialogical Capacities," in John Rowan & Mick Cooper (eds.), The Plural Self: Multiplicity in Everyday Life 254-268, at 255 (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 1999)

"Personification became Jung's fundamental method. Working with . . . active imagination, discovering autonomous complexes, he started using personification as a way of having a dialogue with the psyche.

* * * *

Today . . . the 'Hillmanian perspective' [drawing on the work of James Hillman] views the psyche as an entity with a natural propensity to personify, to mythologize and to produce images. At the same time it postulates the psyche as naturally dividing itself into many parts and images."

--A. Vrbata, Beyond the Myth of "Self-Domination": Imaginal Psychology in the Pursuit of Cultural Shift, 24 Human Affairs 142, 143 (2014)

"Psyche as described by Hillman is polytheistic, sounding forth a complex layering of often contradictory and paradoxical voices of multiple figures and perspectives. The 'heroic ego' is that part of us that attempts to deny and silence this multiplicity, asserting unilateral power and control. It denies diversity and eschews dialogue, proceeding with a monologue that does not understand its own viewpoint as a perspective. The multiplicity of the psyche arises spontaneously, however, and when repressed or negated, it voices itself through symptom and pathology. The methodology for understanding and healing . . . calls for an attempt to bracket the dominating and oppressive aspects of the ego, making space for the unlistened-to and the silenced to speak directly. One turns to the margins of awareness, to greet and coax other points of view into dialogue, and to listen to what has been voiced but unheeded."

--Mark Watkins, "'Breaking the Vessels'":Archetypal {sychology and the Restoration of Culture, Community, and Ecology," in Stanton Marlan, Archetypal Psychologies: Reflections in Honor of James Hillman 415-437, at 424-425 (New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2012)

"A human being's ability to live a life with both authenticity and self-reflection requires an ongong dialectic between the separateness and unity of one's self-states; critically, this dialectic must allow each self-state to function optimally without foreclosing communiction and negotation between them. When all goes well, a person is only dimly or momentarily aware of individual self-states and their respectiverealities because each functions as part of a healthy illusion of coherent personal identity--an overarching experiential state that is felt as 'I.' Each self-state is a piece of a functional whole, informed by a process of internal negotiation with the realities, vlaues, affects, and perspectives of the others. Each aspect of self has it own degree of access to the various domains of psychic functioning . . . . Depsite collisions and even enmity between aspects of self, it is unusually for any one self-state to function totally outside of the experience of 'me-ness' . . . ."

--Philip M. Bromberg, The Shadow of the Tsunami: And the Growth of the Relational Mind 48 (New York: Routledge, 2011) .


Charles Riech, The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef 19-47 (New York: Random House, 1976)

Giancarlo Dimaggio & William B. Stiles, Psychotherapy in Light of Internal Multiplicity, 63 (2) J. Clinical Psychol. In Session 119, 119-124 (2007) [online text]

Richard Schwartz, Our Multiple Selves: Applying Systems Thinking to the Inner Family, 10 Hakomi Forum 21 (1994) [online text] [first published, The Family Therapy Networker, 1987)]

Class Videos

Jordan Peterson

Class Viewing 1: Normal-You and Angry-You [4:27 mins.] [an excerpt from Peterson's 2017 Personality and Its Transformation course lecture: Historical & Mythological Context]

Class Viewing 2: Jordan Peterson Lecture: Freud: An Overview [1:18:39 mins.] [2016 course lecture in Peterson's course, Personality and Its Transformation] [begin presentation at 1:42 mins., end at 5:26 mins.] [Peterson continues with comments on Freud's structure of the psyche]


Class Viewing 3: Emerging Purpose Psychosynthesis Counselling [3:39 mins.][Greg Donaldson is a psychosynthesis counselor in London] [begin class presentation at 0:26 mins.; end class presentation at 3:18 mins.] ["within us we have a crowd of people"; parts of the self can be in opposition to each other; in therapy we can get to know the different parts of the self"; goal is to become the conductor of the chorus; we get stuck in life because our voices, our parts, begin to shout over each other.]

Class Viewing 4: Psychosynthesis: Will Parfitt [43:12 mins.] [begin presentation at 1:47 mins., end at 4:28 mins.] [on the founding of psychosynthesis, at 9:22 mins., ends at 12:20 mins.]

Hal Stone

Class Viewing 5: The Total Self [9:31 mins.] [Hal Stone] [Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove] [Stone was trained as a Jungian analyst; he gave up Jungian work in 1970.] [end class presentation at 2:12 mins.]

Class Viewing 6: The Power of Voice Dialogue [9:48 mins.] [Hal Stone] [becoming aware of the selves can be difficult] [Hal Stone talks about an "Inner Teacher" that sounds like Richard Schwartz's concept of Self that is part of his Internal Family System (IFS) approach to psychotherapy]

Richard Schwartz

Class Viewing 7: Evolution of the Internal Family Systems Model [21:48 mins.] [Richard Schwartz] [end class presentation at 9:39 mins.]

Optional: The Critical Inner Voice [5:41 mins.] [whiteboard animation]

Readings (Supplemental)

Evolution of the Internal Family Systems Model [Richard Schwartz, Center for Self Leadership] [online text]

Hal Stone & Sidra Stone, The Basic Elements of Voice Dialogue, Relationship, and the Psychology of Selves, 2007 [online text] [Your reading in Stone & Stone, "Basic Elements of Voice Dialogue" can end at mid-page 8 ("The Forth Element")]

Leonard L. Riskin, Managing Inner and Outer Conflict: Selves, Subpersonalities, and Internal Family Systems, 18 Harv. Negotiation L. Rev. 1, 11-27 (2013) [online text]

David Lestor, A Multiple Self Theory of the Mind, 1 (5) Comprehensive Psychol. 1 (2012) [online text]

James Vargiu, Subpersonalities and Psychotheraphy, 1 Synthesis (1974) [online text]

Reference (Jordan Peterson)

Maps of Meaning: Patterns of Symbolic Representation
[2:16:49 mins.] [begin presentation at 0:32 mins, end presentation at 2:34 mins.] [an introduction to archetypes]

Resurrection of Logos
[2:34:51 mins.] [March, 2017] [Peterson's presentation begins at 51:59 mins. ends at 1:15:46 mins.] [Paterson's comments on how we might live by setting out not to lie, and how, in doing this he learned of his own two selves, the talking person and the watching person; this commentary begins at 1:12:00 mins. and ends at 1:15:49 mins.]

Jordan Peterson Jordan Peterson-II

Reference (Psychosynthesis | Greg Donaldson)

Psychosynthesis & Sub Personalities
[3:34 mins.]

Feeling Stuck: Where's My Purpose? Psychosynthesis
[4:58 mins.]

Reference (Psychosynthesis)

Psychosynthesis Introduction
[8:34 mins.] [Will Parfitt] [audio with slides]

Understanding Psychosynthesis
[7:41 mins.] [Vicky De Freitas]

What is Psychosynthesis? Counselling & Therapy
[3:40 mins.] [Gillian Moody] [brief presentation on psychodynamic, humanistic, and transpersonal approaches to psychosynthesis; an unruly broad definition of psychosynthesis]

What is Psychosynthesis?
[2:29 mins.] [reference to guided imagery and work with sub-personalities]

Egg Diagram
[14:08 mins.]

Reference (Voice Dialogue | Hal Stone)

Voice Dialogue and Consciousness
[8:11 mins.] [Hal Stone talks with John Kent]

Voice Dialogue: Health and Subpersonalities
[7:05 mins.] [Hal Stone & Sidra Stone] Pt2 [5:32 mins.]

The Dream Self
[9:14 mins.]

Introduction to Voice Dialogue
[9:36 mins.] Finding The Right Partner [6:20 mins.]

The Dance of Selves in Relationship
[7:27 mins.] [Sidra Stone in conversation with John Kent]

Voice Dialogue a Psycho-Spiritual Approach to Consciousness and Transformation
[3:12 mins.] [John Kent] [reference to the "aware ego"]

Voice Dialogue and the Neurobiology of the Brain
[12:11 mins.] [John Dougherty, professor of Medicine (neurology), University of Tennessee talks about finding and work with voice dialogue] [reference to Hal Stone's concept of the "aware ego"]

Voice Dialogue and "Psycho-Education"
[14:19 mins.] [Martin Pollecuff, a London psychtherapist]]

Peter Chown & Ana Barner Talk about Voice Dialogue as a Transformational Practice
[15:56 mins.]


The Psychology of Selves
[Hal Stone & Sidra Stone]

Embracing All Our Selves
[Hal Stone & Sidra Stone]

Allow Me to Introduce My Selves: An Introduction to and Phenomenological Study of Voice Dialogue Therapy [Zohar E. Berchik, Adam J. Rock & Harris Friedman, 48 (1) J. Transpersonal Psychology 88 (2016)]

Reference (Richard Schwartz)

An Overview of Internal Family Systems
[21:49 mins.]

IFS by The Center for Self Leadership
[10:40 mins.] [in the first minutes of the video, Schwartz talks about the origins of Internal Family Systems therapy that he talks about in a more comprehensive way in Evolution of The Internal Family Systems Model (an in-class video)]

The Power of Self to Heal Our Parts
[18:57 mins.] [an overview by Richard Schwartz of how he began to devise the IFS approach to therapy]

A Dick Schwartz Interview
[48:49 mins.] [Schwartz begins by talking about his childhood]

Full Keynote, 2017 Next Practice Institute
[57:21 mins.] [Toronto, 2017] [Schwartz's presentation begins at 3:55 mins.]

IFS and Trauma
[44:58 mins.] [Toronto, 2017]

Healing the Exile
[6:02 mins.] [reference to "attachment" theory; commentary on the "parts" of the self that become exiles]

Soothing Our Inner Parts
[2:45 mins.]

You Are Not Alone: Richard Schwartz & Stefan Molyneux
[49:41 mins.] [Schwartz appears only by way of audio]

You Are Not Alone | Dr. Richard Schwartz & Stefan Molyneux
[49:41 mins.]

Dick Schwartz: Development of the Internal Family Systems Model
[48:49 mins.]

Internal Family Systems (IFS): A Guided Meditation
[9:06 mins.]

Reference (Multiple Selves | Inner Voices | Subpersonalities)

Understanding Subpersonalities
[5:20 mins.] [Nando Raynolds]

Self-Sabotage from Jungian, Kleinian, and Fairbairnian Perspectives
[13:48 mins.] [Jeffrey Lewis & Michael V. Adams comments] [begin at 1:04 mins.; end presentation at 2:54 mins.]

Are There Several Subjective Selves or Just One?
[16:18 mins.] [Stan Klein Interview] [professor of psychology, affiliated with the Department of Philosophy, University of California-Santa Barbara]

Is Our "Mind" the Only Mind that Exists in Our Brain?
[7:11 mins.] [Mark Solms] [a Freudian perspective lacks reference to Jung's concept of the collective unconscious]

Get Rid of Internal Conflicts: The Deep Wisdom Process
[14:49 mins.] [Midlife Crisis Coaching] [on work with parts of the self] [a steady flow of sub-personalities jargon]

Author Chat: Mary Harrell
[28:36 mins.] [Jungian oriented therapist; author of Imaginal Figures In Everyday Life (Chrion Publications, 2015)]

Managing the Inner Critic
[6:13 mins.] [Bill Crawford] [reference to the "psychology of selves"]

The Critical Inner Voice
[5:41 mins.] [whiteboard animation]

The Brain's Greatest Con Trick
[18:22 mins.] [Bruce Hood]

The Self Illusion: How Your Brain Creates You
[Bruce Hood, 2012]

The Self Illusion
[23:27 mins.] [Susan Blackmore]

Sub Personalities
[5:57 mins.] [Eckhart Tolle]

To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion
[1:00:53 mins.] [2010]

Ken Wilbur on Subpersonalities
[15:34 mins.]

Web Resources

First Person Plural
[Paul Bloom, The Atlantic]

Working with Our Inner Parts
[Mary-Anne Johnston] [Jungian analyst]


James Vargiu, Subpersonalities
[1Synthesis: The Realization of the Self (1974)]

John Firman, Self and Self-Realization

Identifying Your Subpersonalities

Reference (Internal Family System)

Finding Your Parts
[9:30 mins.] [animated introduction to Internal Family Systems Therapy; music by Indiajiva with sitar, rhythmic chants and pulsating drums prominently featured]

IFS (Derek Scott)

Understanding The Personality System: Introduction to the Internal Family System
[9:40 mins.]

IFS: Exploring Your Own System
[9:40 mins.] Pt2 [9:49 mins.] Pt3 [9:50 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #1: Self-Leadership
[18:38 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #2
[28:31 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #3: Working in Session
[22:14 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #3a: Meditation for Self Energy
[3:15 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #4: Common Dynamics
[32:52 mins.]

IFS for Therapists #5: Working between Sessions
[23:51 mins.]

IFS (Jay Earley)

IFS Webinar
[1:53:00 mins.] [streamed live on March 11, 2015] [Jay Earley introduces himself as a psychologist and psychotherapist] [good working introduction to Internal Family Systems approach to therapy]

The Voices in my Head with Jay Earley
[56:36 mins.] [podcast]

Inner Critic Webinar
[1:08:44 mins.] [webinar begins at 3:54 mins. after some technical difficulties]

Introduction to Inner Critic
[15:49 mins.] [streamed live on May 13, 2016] Inner Critic Stage 1 [9:00 mins.] Stage 2 [23:26 mins.] Stage 3 [5:31 mins.] Stage 4 [21:40 mins.] Stage 5 [16:56 mins.] Inner Critic Conclusion Stage [10:05 mins.]

Interpersonal Patterns Webinar
[1:47:45 mins.]

IFS (Pete Gerlach)

Q&A about Your Personality "Subselves" or "Parts"
[14:58 mins.]

Who Are You? An Intro to Common Personality Subselves that May Shape Your Life
[14:51 mins.]

Who's Really Running Your Life?
[12:14 mins.]

How to Identify Your Personality Subselves (Parts)
[10:39 mins.]

An Explanation of "Inner-Family Therapy
[8:21 mins.] [Pete Gerlach is a trauma recovery therapist, and a psychotherapist]

Are You Distorting Reality? How Do You Know?
[13:06 mins.]

Are You a "Grown Wounded Child"
[12:23 mins.]


Introduction to Internal Family Systems
[19:58 mins.] [audio]

Internal Family Systems Therapy
[59:09 mins.] [Graham Disque] [February, 2016]

Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Writing: Writing from the Self
[7:26 mins.]

Parts Works and Buddhism
[4:04 mins.] [Tom Holmes]

Tom Holmes Lecture
[1:03:49 mins.] [June, 2012]

Internal Family Systems: A Guided Meditation
[9:06 mins.]

Referencce (Dialogical Self)

Working at Relational Depth in Counselling: The Dialogical Self
[12:43 mins.]

Hubert Hermans on the Dialogical Self
[4:14 mins.]


Dialogical Self

Reference (Inner Child)

What is the Inner Child?
[5:23 mins.]

How to Heal Your Wounded Inner Child (Carl Jung and Individuation)
[4:27 mins.]

Reference (Inner Critic)

Joyce DiDonato on Your Inner Critic
[6:20 mins.] [DiDonato is a music teacher at the Julliard School of Music]


Inner Critic

Bibliography in progress

John Rowan, Subpersonalities: The People Inside Us (London: Routledge, 1990)

_________, Discover Your Subpersonalities: Our Inner World and the People in It (London: Routledge, 1993)

_________, Personification: Using The Dialogical Self in Psychotherapy and Counselling (London: Routledge, 2010)

Rita Carter, Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2008)

David Lester, Multiple Selves (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publ., 2015)

John Rowan & Mick Cooper, The Plural Self: Multiplicity In Everyday Life (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1999)

Hal Stone, Embracing Ourselves: The Voice Diaglogue Manual (New World Library, 1998)

Sidra Stone & Hal Stone, The Voice Dialogue Anthology: Explorations of the Psychology of Selves and the Aware Ego Process (Delos, 2012) (Dassie Hoffman ed.).

Richard C. Schwartz, Internal Family Systems Therapy (New York: Guilford Press, rev.ed., 1997)

________________, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model (Oak Park, Illinois: Trailheads Publ., 2001)

Tom Holmes, Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Winged Heart Press, 2007)

Jay Earley, Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child (Larkspur, California: Pattern System Books, 2009)

Jay Earley & Bonnie Weiss, Freedom from Your Inner Critic: A Self-Therapy Approach (Boulder, Colorado: Sounds True, 2013)

Greg Henriques, One Self or Many Selves? Understanding Why We Have a Multiplicity of Self-States, Psychology Today [online text]

Eric J. Green, Individuals in Conflict: An Internal Family Systems Approach, 16 (2) Family Journal: Counseling & Therapy for Couples & Familes, 125 (2008) [online text]


Contact Professor Elkins