Guidelines to working with Inner villagers

or "Life in the Inner Village"

Some things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Everyone has an Inner Village. And every character in everyone's Inner Village is real. None of them are imaginary figures or hypothetical models. Every one of them is  alive, a hard-working  individual little character who really  lives, thinks and feels inside us. They are a normal part of us. 

  2. Most inner villagers love to talk with you about what they are doing. Some not only want to talk, they have vitally important information that they are very anxious to talk about. It is this information about ourselves that gives us self-awareness, one of the most powerful tools we can ever have if we want to make changes in our lives.

  3. When I talk to inner villagers (something that anyone can do after a few minutes instruction) they tell me that they live inside you and me in a place that they like to call their "village" or something similar. It may be for you, more like a ship or perhaps a spiritual or tribal community. If it is a Village  they will probably be happy to be known as a group as." The Inner Villagers". If it some other kind of community they will probably choose a different group term, for example "members of the tribe", "the congregation".  The term you choose is not important.

  4. The character we know as our own inner child is the most important person in every story and every village. Of all the characters in all the stories they tell, your Inner child is the most real.

  5. Other people have their own Inner villages and their own inner children as well. It is important to honour and respect their own inner children, their own inner villagers and the stories they tell. And it is very important  to acknowledge that they are just as real and as valuable as ours.

  6. Almost every character in your Inner village will be in some way concerned with the welfare of your Inner child. Sometimes they are protecting it from fear or pain or vulnerability. Sometimes, if they cannot make the pain go away, they help the Inner child to cope with its negative feelings of fear or vulnerability. At other times they look after the inner child in some other way that seems to work best at the time (for example: pushing, peacekeeping,  pleasing, fighting, fleeing, folding, bargaining, anaesthetising, medicating or whatever.)

  7. Most of the characters who live in our Inner villages were created in early childhood. Although some of the may walk and talk in what they think are very "grown-up" ways, their emotional age is almost always quite young. Some have an emotional age of only one of two. Many are emotionally age is between five and eight years. Few of them are more than 14 years old emotionally.

  8. In working with the characters in the village it helps to keep in mind that logical, rational, analytical explanations and lengthy technical or psychological words are going to be a problem. If the average adult would have to work hard to follow the explanation, there is no way it could be understood by the average Inner villager.

  9. So if we are trying to help someone make really significant changes in their life, (that is changes that will make a real difference) we need to explain to the people in the inner village how these changes can work within the Inner village. But the language and explanation we choose must be one that can be easily grasped by an intelligent eight to 10-year-old. Abstract psychological explanations are often wasted. Inner  villagers aged emotionally from five to ten years just can't follow them, even though they might say they do. See separate page A fable about using fables

  10. Every character in every village lives, works, loves, struggles to survive, laughs and cries inside you and me each and every day of our lives. And like real people they love to talk to you and me about what they do and their purpose for being here. Which, by the way is always about trying to help us or protect us in the best way they can.

See separate page for a full and deeper psychological discussion of the model and why it appears to get results. 

Other pages connected to this discussion:

A deeper psychological discussion of the theory behind the experimental Village and the Awareness Hill storytelling approach

How the terms used in Growing Awareness differ from Classic Voice Dialogue 2004

A search for a way to speed up the changes and to make them last longer

A fable about using fables

Carried villagers - "refugees" from someone else's village

Feedback - please e-mail  me John Bligh Nutting -   at

Copyright John Nutting 1996- - 2004  and     GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide   LAST UPDATE  Thursday, 07 February 2008 17:31

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