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Exercise Your Sub-Personalities

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Exercise your Subpersonalities

  • This exercise has been designed to help identify principal subpersonalities. You can probably work successfully on only one subpersonality at a time, although you may find that, to begin with, you conflate two or more. Worry not, for as you continue to work with them, they will become increasingly differentiated.

  • Think of yourself doing something that you often or typically do. Something that has a usualness about it for you, in that you do not feel as though you are acting out of character. As you think about you doing that, or being that, or being in that situation, what words or phrases come to mind? To carry out the exercise, you may find it helpful to use a pen and paper.

  • Go through the questions sequentially, for they are designed to lead you inwards. The questions are of value in making subpersonalities concrete and explicit. After you have been through the list once, skim each of the responses again to see if you wish to add anything to your responses. Do not be anxious if you find yourself unable to write much or anything in response to the odd question, as this is normal. One of the points about subpersonalities is that they are partial, and by their nature incomplete.

  • Unless otherwise made clear, the term “you” is used to indicate that part of the whole you about which you now are thinking: you in that frame of mind, you in that subpersonality.


  1. How old are you? How do you feel? You may feel a particular age, maybe the same age as the whole you is now. Rather than a specific age, you may feel yourself to be within an age bracket, or maybe you feel no particular age.

  2. Describe your body image. For instance, are you tall or short? Slender or portly? Do you wear your hair long or short? Have you facial hair? What is your complexion? Do you wear make-up?

  3. What kinds of clothes do you like to wear? For instance, formal or casual? Loud or quiet? Bright or sober? What colours? What kinds of material? What kinds of cut?

  4. Where, if at all, would you prefer to go on holiday? For instance, somewhere in the sun with sand, or somewhere exotic, or skiing on the piste, or visiting museums and old quarters of towns and cities?

  5. In what kinds of situations are you typically to be found? In what kinds of situations do you flourish?

  6. What are your strengths?

  7. In what situations do you feel least comfortable?

  8. What are your weaknesses?

  9. What do you want out of life?

  10. What do you need out of life?

  11. Try to identify and describe, if you are able, a time, time period, or event when this part of you first appeared.

  12. To what extent is this part of you the part of you that you use much of the time anyway?

  13. If this part of you is not predominant, what do you believe life might be like if this part of you became predominant?

  14. What helps this part of you to grow?

  15. How do you relate to women? men? children? animals?

  16. Try to think of a name to give this part of you. Maybe your own name, maybe another name, maybe the name of a characteristic feature of this part of you, maybe the name of an object.

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Last updated: 07/11/09

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