How do you measure the effectiveness of inner self work?
A pragmatist's approach to Inner self and
self-awareness - and how to use them to
make changes that make a difference
I would like to affirm from the outset that inner self work and the voice
dialogue process are in my opinion, the most real, the most positive and
powerful tools for making changes that I have ever come across. They’re not
the only tools, but combined with others they really make things happen.
Whatever I say below is intended, not as a criticism of the inner-self or
self-awareness process, but as a way of enhancing it. Although some of the
techniques I suggest may differ from what I would call "Classic Voice
Dialogue" they are still very much based on the extremely sound teachings of
Dr Hal Stone and Dr Sidra Stone and all the other people to teach and train in
I have only come across one problem with Classic Voice Dialogue, and that
is the time that it takes most people (often several years) to make
significant changes in their lives. By significant I mean applying their
self-awareness to make changes, changes that lead to real and positive
differences in the person's life, changes that can be observed by others, and
changes that are reasonably long term or even permanent.
Apart from the time it takes , before people are able to do this,
there is a second problem, arising from the first. That is that many people
expect to get results quickly, which is understandable. When this doesn't
happen they all too often, lose interest, stop doing voice dialogue and self awareness work
and try something else.
I have been searching for an effective solution to this loss for a number
of years and I believe that here in SE Queensland we may have uncovered a
But for a start, I need to acknowledge that I and the characters inside me
are a bunch of pragmatists. When I talk about things like "making things
happen", "significant results" or "effectiveness" I mean real results.
So since this is an experiment, we needed some criteria to measure
results and see how well our alternative storytelling approach is working.
Here are the "measuring sticks" that I and my pragmatic inner characters
like to apply to see how quickly an individual is gaining effective results
How do you measure the effectiveness of inner self work?
Is inner self work, self-awareness or voice dialogue really getting results
for you ? You can tell by looking at:
Looking from the outside:
how much these changes make a real difference in your life. That
includes not just practical differences but also how much your life looks
and feels more positive after you make the change.
whether the changes are temporary or permanent. That is, how long the
positive changes last.
the time and amount of work it takes you to achieve a positive change or
whether you sound positive and look happy while you are
making changes and while you are shifting old habits or old
how much other people can see these changes in you and can tell you what
they see. (positive feedback).
But to achieve the outside results you also need to be able to do some
deeper work on the inside. To be more confident about how well you are doing
at making changes you need to look at:
Old patterns and old habits
- how quickly you learn to recognise your old repetitive patterns or
habits, those that regularly create difficulties for you and the ones that
you want to change. (also known as your repetitive patterns of self
- how quickly you learn to recognise the emotional pain inside you as the
trigger that gets these old patterns running.
- How well you can see and hear what then goes on inside your "inner
village" that set up the patterns as a result of having your emotional pain triggered.
- how long it takes you to do this and how much making a change actually
lowers your emotional pain.
- how much (as a result of lowering your emotional pain) you also
reduce the activity of all those old triggers and patterns - the ones you wanted
Opposite patterns and opposite villagers
- how well you can recognise the effect of opposites in your own village.
- how well you can learn to balance and integrate these opposites to
create more harmony in your life.
"I can do it" versus "I can’t do it"
- how positive and how confident you feel inside about being able to make
positive changes like these, and changing your old patterns,
- how much you really want make these changes
- how well you can recognise the clamps, the blocked off streets in your
inner village and other kinds of self-limiting or self-defeating patterns that
work inside you yet against you, to stop you making changes.
Growing Awareness – the more time you spend climbing Awareness Hill, the
easier all this becomes.
- are you aware that all of these changes and shifts are like steps you
take as you start to climb up Awareness Hill (behind the old Inner Village)
- how good are you at getting out of the old village and climbing up the
hill to get a better view?.
do you notice that the more you climb the better things get and the easier
it is to take the next step?.
- is it getting easier to look down and notice what is happening (or not
happening) in your inner village?.
Changes in terms used
By the way, you will notice, quite soon, if you start reading these new 2004 pages,
that I generally avoid using classic terms such as "inner selves" "primary
selves" and even "voice dialogue". Instead, for example, I refer to the
characters as "Inner villagers" and the place they live and work inside us as
the "inner village".
We talk, have discussions, maybe even dialogue informally with these
inner villagers, rather than "doing voice dialogue". There are a number of
practical reasons why we do this.
The one reason that I mention this now is that small changes of this kind
appear to have a major effect in speeding up the effectiveness of inner self
work. I will explain why I think this is happening, in later pages.
So this next page is a good place to start. It lists the old and new terms
side by side. It will make it easier for you to follow the other pages if you
read it first.
Awareness and Classic Voice Dialogue - Similarities and Differences (updates
and additions 21 February 2004) How
the terms used in Growing Awareness differ from Classic Voice Dialogue
search for a way to speed up the changes and to make them last longer -
Life in the village
fable about using fables
Does it Work?
We are finding this
simplified storytelling approach helps people see more quickly what their
inner selves are doing and how and why they are do it. This in turn
speeds up the development of practical everyday skills for balancing
opposite selves and dealing with disowned sub-personalities.
There are some very sound reasons why this alternative storytelling approach
seems to work so well, and I'll be explaining these in several of the
More and more we
are finding how well it works when we integrate inner
self work, voice dialogue and self
awareness work with a wide range of other processes and modalities
particularly inner child work. We also
integrate core belief balancing (amazingly
effective), CBT, schema focused therapy and
even EMDR to help people clear clamps and blockages that prove resistant
to classic voice dialogue and many of the other
more usual self awareness methods.
know that other people around the world are also trying similar
alternative approaches. If you are reading this and would like to
make contact please e-mail us: email@example.com
See also an earlier article about alternative
approaches to voice dialogue written in 2000