What are Subpersonalities....

Most people consider their personality as fixed and unchanging; in Psychosynthesis there is an understanding that we can operate out of different parts of ourselves. These parts (or ‘sub-personalities’), which can come from the different roles we assume in life or from ways we have learned to behave in different situations, can behave and think in very different ways from one another.

Just think about the part of you who is a ‘Lover’ and the part that is ‘The Good Parent’: each has its own way of behaving, thinking, and being in the world. If you let the Good Parent sub-personality choose your summer holiday, you might end up having a week in Disneyland, while the Lover sub-personality would prefer a romantic weekend in Paris!

The more we look, the more sub-personalities we can find, and we discover some of them have very different motives, needs and ideas about how your life should be run! This can cause internal conflict, which can make life very difficult, especially if you get identified with a particular part. Using the disidentification exercise enables you to stand back and become conscious of how these different parts operate. This can be very empowering and give you back conscious control of internal dynamics, which can be so tricky and confusing if you are not aware of them!

Once you become aware of how these parts operate you can stand back and get an objective view of reality and choose which part to give your attention to. Some of your subpersonalities may have been formed in childhood and are way past their ‘sell by date’ and could do with a review or a bit of transformative work. The ‘Stroppy adolescent’ sub personality might have been very helpful in helping you formulate your own ideas and break away from your family, but its behaviour in your current life might be unconsciously destructive in relationships at work!

‘What lies behind us
And what lies before us,
Are tiny matters
Compared to what 
lies within us’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘He who looks outside dreams,
He who looks inside wakes’

One subpersonality we all have to deal with is the Internal Critic, which can be extremely judgemental of others and hugely critical of ourselves, undermining our best efforts, berating us for ‘mistakes’ and sapping self confidence and esteem.  At the root of every sub personality is a quality, the Internal Critic might ‘bring out the best in us ’or help us to discern what is useful in what is offered by others. When its negative or cynical thinking gets out of hand however, it is important to become conscious of it and evaluate its contribution to our lives. Recognising and accepting, or transforming these parts gives us more control and choice in how we live our lives. Where we have a deficit we might create a new, previously unknown subpersonality. This work is fascinating and very growthful.