order to work with subpersonalities, we must first try to understand their
separate qualities. We can consult many good books on archetypes, some of
which are listed below. We may find them useful in determining the different
dynamic roles they have in the forming of our ego.
Examples of subpersonalities
This subpersonality is developed in childhood when the infant/child is
dependent upon others for survival. The innocent wants to be loved and to be
a part of things, to be socially acceptable, to fit in and to make others
love and be proud of us.
This subpersonality tries to protect us from being abandoned, hurt or
victimised by helping us to recognise and avoid situations that are 'likely
to hurt us'. This may or may not be useful. The Orphan uses phrases like
'I don't care' - 'Leave
me alone' - and may manifest itself as a rebellious attitude.
This subpersonality is responsible for getting things done. Acting in terms
of our own self-interest or to help others. It may manifest in the form of
the shadow warrior, which will 'do' at all costs whatever it things will
help to avoid negative feelings and the influence of other subpersonalities.
In its shadow form, the Caregiver wants to take care of everyone. Like the
mother, who does everything for her children at the expense of herself. A
healthy expression of the caregiver may be witnessed in nursing others when
they are sick or providing opportunities for children by paying school fees
and the like. A healthy caregiver is one step back from the recipient of the
care as true nurturing means allowing room for others to grow.
The seeker can be witnessed in the child who continually asks 'why?' The
seeker is always searching for something as life feels meaningless and
empty. The goal of the seeker is to find our true purpose in life, what will
really make us happy.
The destroyer is responsible for quitting jobs, leaving spouses and ending
unhealthy friendships. In a shadow sense the destroyer might get out of
control and destroy some of the things we'd be better off keeping.
The artist, writer, poet types the maker of dreams, the inventor that
discovers ways of making new
things and of unfolding new dreams. The creator subpersonality will assist
you in making your life less stale, more flowing, in conveying your ideas to
others, contributing to the collective dreams of humanity.
The lover is gentle and reaches out gently to others. Following a loving
acceptance of ourselves, we may gently reach out to others, contributing
ones unique abilities for the greater good of all. This subpersonality can
be activated, when love comes to us in the form of romantic or idealistic
love somehow to help us transform the fear of losing the taste of living, at the superficiality, cruelty and
indifference around us. Integrating this personality can help us to
find a way forward as true human beings, loving and nurturing one another.
The fool makes us laugh when things are bad. The fool is the observer of the
illusions of this man made world, he
is a kind of an outsider who is not touched by responsibilities. He can get
away by being sometimes nasty, critical and childish in a funny way…
because he is the “fool” people
cannot “touch” him. He is the subpersonality that teaches us how to
laugh at ourselves… Examples, when we have to work all day at a job we
don’t enjoy doing, the fool kicks in to find a humorous way of accepting
and working in that situation… the fool helps us transform a stale or
negative situation into something different. The Fool is open, an outsider
that has some magic attached to itself because he feels free from
conditioning of any kind. A
very useful subpersonality.
The Magician could be symbolised by the transformation of a caterpillar into
a butterfly through its cocoon. The magician winds a protective cover around
itself, reorganises the elements of the personality and emerges, renewed,
energised and somehow truer.
The sage is quiet and stable and holds the quality of knowingness. A good
subpersonality to draw on when feeling stressed and caught up in the flow of
life. Hold onto the calm centred knowingness of the sage and progress
calmly, quietly and reliably through your journey.
The rulers job is to blend the other subpersonalities into a continuous
The Ruler makes the decisions to leave something and start a new (enacted by
the destroyer and the creator). The Ruler decides who will do what in order
to ensure the completion of the goal in a timely manner. If the ruler were
to be a computer program he/she would be Microsoft Project, the planner with
the ultimate authority!
1 - Read about these subpersonalities…
become familiar with their characteristics… Choose one that is the
most familiar to you.
2 -Take some notes on the way
you use this subpersonality
3 - Close
you eyes and relax… take a few deep breaths and imagine yourself in a
beautiful valley going for a long walk with your chosen subpersonality.
Together, you are walking and enjoying your surroundings…the fields of
flowers, the trees… a mountain and anything else that appears around your
stroll in the countryside…. Take some time to become aware of the sounds
of nature around you - birds chirping, the wind in the trees and the
Now begin to walk up the mountain with your subpersonality. As you keep
ascending, you can imagine seeing all kinds of scenery, keep in touch with
the increasing sense of height and altitude... (pause)
Pay attention to your subpersonality. You might see it change mood, facial
expression or dress, or even a radical transformation into something else.
When you reach the top of the mountain, let the sunrays and the light of the
sun shine on both of you… on
your subpersonality and yourself… now
look again at your subpersonality… what do you see…has the essence of
your subpersonality changed… just describe what you see and feel for
Now look around and focus your attention on something impressive and
imposing like a big tree or a powerful rock… when you find it, go towards
that powerful spot accompanied by your subpersonality… when you are both
near your chosen place… stand in silence in front of that power
spot…become aware of each others presence…(remember that your
subpersonality can take any shape and become even an object) and when you
feel that you are in contact with your subpersonality, asks its name?…what
is its quality?… what does it need from you or another subpersonality?…
What do you need from it? Take a few minutes and exchange a dialogue, and
when you are ready… open your eyes and continue your dialogue in writing.
two or four of your subpersonalities – Write down their names and try to
see how they can complement and help each other. After pairing them, let
them have a dialogue with each other, so that you can figure out what they
are going to do in your life.
One useful exercise for
discovering subpersonalities is intuitive drawing. Draw what comes to mind
when thinking of that subpersonality or object, write words on the paper to
describe your impressions of your version of this subpersonality.
Back to the List of all the Exercises