In Your Phase works to waken your genius. As you honor your genius, "he/she" honors you.


In Your Phase uses an eclectic, holistic self-healing treatment approach that includes, but not limited to: Cognitive therapy*, Ego States*, Gestalt therapy*, Hypnotherapy*, Internal Family Systems therapy*, Neuro-Linguistic Programming*, Personifying*, Psychodrama*, Psychotherapy*, and Voice Dialogue*.


This portion of the website is for those curious about the practice of Personification Therapy and the steps involved.


* A description of the term can be found under definitions.


The Steps



What is Personification?


A general definition of Personification includes the process of personifying*; making an object or something into human form and giving it a human voice.


Personifying* is the act of attributing human qualities to inanimate objects, concepts, expressions, ideas, feelings, symptoms, etc. The Id, Ego, and Super Ego are explanations and personifications of our internal psychological processes. People do not work with or act on reality, they merely work with their perceptions of reality.


"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them." Epictetus, 1st century A.D. Animatism: The belief that inanimate things have consciousness or personality.


Anthropomorphism: The attributing of human shape or characteristics to a god, animal, or inanimate thing. Personification is an attitude or an active imagination (Carl Jung) process in which anyone can involve themselves or "inter-relate" with someone or something else.


Personifying* is an attitude, a process in which anyone can consciously involve themselves or "relate" with someone or something else that has been subconscious.


Personification: A personifying or being personified


A person or thing thought of as representing some quality, thing, or idea; embodiment; perfect example [he is the personification of honesty]


A figure of speech in which a thing, quality, or idea is represented as a person


A personification can be a concept, a quality, a thing, or an idea that is represented as a person.


Prosopopoeia: Person, Face, Mask A figure in which and absent or imaginary person is represented as speaking. ____________ Webster's New World Dictionary, 1988


Personification is frequently used in grammar/poems. Some examples of personifying* objects or emotions are: "The angry child within." "A lamp is a guide." "O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-ey’d monster which doeth mock the meat it feeds on..." "The sun smiles upon us." "The ocean is angry." "The lonely part of me." "My mind has a mind of its’ own." "I can’t seem to stop myself." "That’s not like her." "Be yourself." etc.


Personifying* is also known as: Animistic, An Aspect, A Communicating, Alter Ego, Anima, Archetypes, Aware Ego (the Psychology of the Aware Ego - Hal & Sidra Stone) Beings, Beliefs, Cara, Character, Characteristic, Co-consciousness, Complexes, Ego State (therapy), Externalization, Facade, Face, Facet, Hidden observer, Imaginations, Intelligence, Mascara, Mask, Memory, Mind, Model, Ego, Objectifying, Observing ego, People inside us (John Rowan), Person, Persona, Personality, Phase, Presentation, Pretense, Primary Selves, Re-Presentation, Role, Secondary Selves, Selves, State, Subconscious, Subpersonality, Sub selves, Thoughts, Trait, Translation, Voice Dialoguing (Miriam Dyak), etc.


"NLP does not really believe in subpersonalities, but it does use all kinds of approximations to subpersonalities in its actual of the NLP books spends two pages on giving a seven step procedure for creating a part....and then they deny that there is any such thing as a part." (John Rowan):


The notion of parts is a good pace for most people’s experience, but for me there is a bit too much anthropomorphism in the notion of parts’ (Bandler & Brinder 1982: 72).


Rowan goes on to say, NLP does not take the unconscious very seriously. pg. 112


Possibly the reason for the lack of interest in subpersonalities in NLP is that they are so much influenced by the work of Milton Erickson, and he never did very much along these lines, so far as I have been able to discover.


However, some practitioners of NLP are more accommodating than Bandler and Grinder themselves. For example, Genie Laborde talks about subpersonalities, and makes a rather nice point about them, that ‘inner conflicts are evidence of our potential flexibility’ (Laborde 1989: 187).



How is personifying used in the treatment and prevention of substance abuse?


There are many ways to use personifying* in understanding and managing one’s urges and self talk, to curtail addictive tendencies, and to refocus toward improved personal resourcefulness.


Jack Trimpey personifies the addictive part of a person in "Internal Voice Recognition" "Some RR members ask, ‘Isn’t the Beast idea basically the same thing as the devil theory?’ The answer here is a very definite NO. There is no connection in RR to any realm other than reality– the material world. The devil, I am sure you realize, is an invisible being that is said to really exist apart from human beings and is said to be responsible for everything that goes bad in the world. That is an entirely different concept from the Beast of RR, which is only an imaginary entity that personifies certain biologically driven thoughts." Jack Trimpey, The small book, 1989, pp. 72-73


Jack Trimpey personifies our drug dependence part of us, as an "It," a "Thing" or a "Beast." Although I do not agree with the demonizing of the addictive part of us, Mr. Trimpey’s explanation of the Beast helps to explain the process of personifying* in the treatment of substance abuse.


Orchestrating a Personification Guideline/Steps


Step one: Develop a rapport with the client (later you will need to develop a rapport with the personified).


Step two: Gather personal information, assess the situation (later you will also gather information and gather the perspective of the personified). Find out the symptoms and learn about them, determine the causes, consider the resources and the positive effects sought. Consider the client’s Accessing Cues, their Beliefs, Body Posture & Gestures (physiology), their Criteria, Critical Sub-Modalities, Limited Content, Meta Model Patterns, Meta Program Patterns and Predicates.


Step three: Determine the client’s present state and their desired change, goal, or outcome.

Identify with the client the conscious or unconscious part of themselves, ability, attitude, characteristic, idea, illness, inability, issue, or relationship that they seek to understand or change. Consider the hierarchal level of change desired; Environmental, Behaviors, Capabilities, Beliefs, Identity or Spiritual/Transcendence. Determine ecology. Negative effects can create resistance or ecological problems.


Step four: Contract toward the client’s expressed intent or desired outcome. The therapist expresses his/her intent.

Once the client gives permission to personify their addictive self (personality or urge), the client can be assisted in changes, in developing insight, reinforce a desired talent, modify self-destructive patterns, etc. The "therapeutic window" is when the client gives permission to enter his or her world. The client does not yet fully know what specifically is going on in their thinking, feelings or in their behavior or they may just not be aware of how to modify their pattern(s). In the self-destructive pattern, the client usually knows that he/she is sometimes miserable and perhaps that he/she is over or under reacting. The client seeks to learn about or modify a pattern. He/she knows he/she has failed to change on his/her own.


Step five: Establish, with the client, the part of him/herself or issues, states, or symptoms that need to be personified.

This identifying requires that the client go "inward" or toward his subconscious self. One can "enter" the subconscious through a number of ways. One of the "doors" or "keys" to the subconscious is one’s imagination or pretending (to allege, claim, intend, simulate, make believe, play, pretend, profess). For example, the therapist helps the client imagine the personification(s) in the issue(s) or problem(s). A novice therapist may choose to begin working with one personification at a time to avoid becoming confused and confusing the client.


Step six: Establish contact between the client and the personification.

The therapist assists the client by guiding him or her to ask the imagined or "sensed," personification, if it wants to dialogue, "talk" or communicate (Checking ecology). The therapist looks for and allows him or herself to be guided by the client’s trance phenomena such as texture of skin, breathing, skin color, facial expression, a glazing of the eyes, body posturing, (physiology) etc. to determine the contact status between the client and the personification.


Step seven: The client imagines, "listens," "senses" or notices feelings, images, internal dialogue or thoughts (ecology).

The symptom, the imagined response or the "sensed" "signal" may be "the message."


Step eight: After asking the personification if it wants to continue its conscious communication, the therapist asks the client about his or her "involuntary" or "spontaneous," "sensual" (feelings, pictures or sounds) experience or "response" (hearing).

The personified’s "response" to the question is the client’s ongoing conscious feedback mechanism that needs to be emphasized and fortified while the client improves his or her sensitiveness to the feedback mechanism "messages." The client’s "independent" sensory experience is more valuable than their judgment or the words they use to explain their experience. Words are too subject to conscious interference and miscommunication. I say to my client if he/she were to respond to you, what would he/she say? If the client says, "I don’t know." I respond, "Good. I don’t want you to know. This is not a knowing. What do you suppose he/she would say?"


Step nine: After the personification has "responded" with a feeling, thought or image (message) to the client, the therapist instructs the client to acknowledge/validate the personification by thanking the personification for its participation.


Step ten: The therapist continues to help the client to properly interpret the personification’s "response" or "signal."

When a client experiences a bodily sensory response, the therapist asks the client if they could consciously duplicate that experience? We usually cannot consciously duplicate sensory experiences, therefore, this "testing" is a subjective way to convince the client that they are communicating with a part of them that is normally not consciously available to them. The client may need further assistance in "hearing" and interpreting the personification’s response.


 Step eleven: The therapist should have the client confirm the meaning of the response by having the client inform its personification of his or her desire/intent to understand fully.


Step twelve: The client is invited to confirm, with the personification, whether it wants to communicate and participate.

To affirm, the personification is asked to amplify, intensify or increase the volume of the same "signal" that it gave before. To negate the interpretation, the personification is asked to diminish the response. The affirming or negating tends to give the client and the personification a clearer channel of communication.


Step thirteen: The therapist asks the client to pretend or suppose the personified part is there and asks the client what that part would probably say? The therapist may also ask the client what would they do or say if they were the personification.

The therapist’s job is to observe for tell-tale signs of detailed, inner dialogue (signs given off by the client or by the personification, i.e. shifts, physiology) and continues with the orchestration, if the client and personification mutually agree.


Step fourteen: Once, the personified gives "permission" to continue with dialogue, the therapist then "semi-formally" introduces the client to the personification and the personification to the client, to build their rapport with each other and to reinforce the "trance."

The therapist alerts or teaches the client about possible subconscious responses that the personification may have.


Step fifteen: The therapist utilizes the luxury of the personification’s participation.

The therapist utilizes the powerful direct channel of communication with the subconscious personification. This communication channel permits the therapist to do powerful congruency checks. The client may be somewhat bewildered because they are usually unaware of their other parts and with this "semi-formal" guided fragmenting process.


Step sixteen: Establish communication between the client and his or her personification.

 The client is assisted in "talking and listening" with the responsible personification so that the client can "understand" what the personification is wanting him/her to know. The client is also taught to "pause and listen" by sensing or imagining what he/she thinks, feels and senses the personification would tell him/her as they are staged, sitting and facing each other. The client’s sensitivity to his/her body will also assist him/her in detecting and in better "hearing" the personification.


Step seventeen: The client and the personification make their needs known through imagination and "senses".

The client does not have to "overly influence" this knowing. However, the client needs to give him/herself time for responses and to process what was said in the communicated content. With communication established, a meaningful dialogue is established.


Step eighteen: The client asks the personification questions concerning the dilemma between him or her and the personification.

The therapist consults and mediates in the communication/relationship between the client and the personification. Questioning should focus toward determining the etiology of the "defense," it’s intention and it’s desired outcome and effect. The intention of the personification (ego) is desired, noble, and needs to be acknowledged and respected. The personification has "helped" the client to survive. It is attempting to do something "positive" on the client’s behalf. There has been a secondary gain or a "perceived benefit" for the established pattern. This "positive intention" perception is also called, "reframing." The "maturity level" of the "defensive" pattern may be paramount to the "age" when it was "created." The therapist asks the client what was happening in her/his life at that stage of life that they needed the defense. Process and distinguish between the destructive pattern and the intention. Usually, before this step, the client did not fully know what the personification was trying to do. Nor did the client know that the congruency between him or her and the personification was in the intention.


Step nineteen: Continue the focus on the "relationship" between the client and the personification.

Without this "relationship," the analyzing trance does not exist.


Step twenty: The therapist orchestrates and guides the client and the personification to identify how they experience and feel toward each other.

The therapist may choose to have the client switch chairs with the personified, to help him or her view (remember) the situation from the personified’s perspective (empathy).


Step twenty-one: The therapist guides the client and the personification toward ongoing conscious "communication" and relating

 ( a remembering).

The client and the personification commence discussing their perceptions. The therapist’s job is to guide the client and the personification to "hear" each other’s needs, to clarify their issues, their stances and to work toward problem resolution or improved resources.


Step twenty-two: The therapist guides the client to acknowledge his or her and the personification’s persistence in their behaviors and in their intentions to continue "expressing" and "living."

Both the client and the personification have responsibility in their constructive and destructive patterns. Initially neither wants to be controlled or changed against his or her will.


Step twenty-three: The therapist takes cues from the personification. He or she will introduce no change until the personification "wants" to consider an appropriate change for itself and for the client.

The personification knows its needs, skills, abilities, beliefs, and identity. The therapist ally’s him/herself with both the client and the personification.


Step twenty-four: The therapist guides the client and the personification toward ongoing respect for each other, of negotiating, compromising, planning and attaining change of affect and outcome.

The client and the personifications are sometimes in conflict with themselves and their powers and strengths vary. This negotiating/mediating is similar to the negotiating and mediating done in couple’s therapy.


Step twenty-five: The therapist informs both the client and the personification that he or she will consult both parties, as the therapist conducts counseling with couples.

The therapist does not side with either party but with the total person (the client and the personification (the diamond).


Step twenty-six: Review the personification’s intentions of its behavior and solicit the client’s thoughts and feelings concerning the personification’s intentions.

The client usually develops a conscious appreciation of the personification’s intention.


Step twenty-seven: The therapist guides the client and the personification in expressing their dilemma as a need, request, plan and commitment instead of a complaint.


Step twenty-eight: The therapist assists the client and the personification in negotiating, compromising, planning and attaining.

The therapist may use the analogy of a pie, or any other couple’s therapeutic means, to assist the client and the personification express, how, what, when, who and how much (measurable) of themselves they are willing to give to each other.


Step twenty-nine: The therapist helps the client and the personification generate more constructive, resourceful means to attain their common intentions.

When the client and the personification have additional, hopefully better, options with which to carry out their intentions, the client can consciously accomplish what he or she wants and the personification can continue to take responsible care of the client in the new method(s) that it chooses. Their new rapport has changed them and will assure conscious and subconscious, ongoing therapy versus blindly groping and struggling between them. Sometimes the client and the personification get "stuck" in generating new options. That is when the therapist may introduce them to a different creative personification of the client. This creative personification is treated and worked with respect, as if an invited "genie or guru" were to have stepped in and joined in the therapy.


Step thirty: The therapist does not offer suggestions, he or she merely consults and orchestrates or facilitates effective and proper communication between the client and his or her personification(s).

The client and the personification(s) do the work. They are the ones who need to "heal". He or she is his or her own physician. When an outside therapist offers advice, it is less effective than having the client and the personification develop their own alternatives. Although the "guru" personification creates new means to accomplish the intentions of the previously patterned personification, the previously patterned personification’s attitude and desire of accepting any new changes is taken into consideration (ecology check).


Step thirty-one: The previously patterned personification will evaluate which of the many new options/ways it believes are more effective. That personification may then select a way that it believes will more effectively work.

The client may not be privileged, by the personification, to the details of the personification’s evaluation nor of it’s specific choice(s). This wards off the client’s conscious reasoning from interfering (limiting) something he or she does not rationally understand. Not all processes or things are consciously rational. Personifications have their own rationale. The therapist takes into account the repercussions of "other parts," of the client’s experience and behavior. He or she may ask the client to imagine what the other parts of him/herself think/feel about change (ecology). Once the client learns to personify, he or she can then change without an outside therapist. The client has learned an increased autonomy/options/resourcefulness.


Step thirty-two: At the end of the client’s conscious discussion with the personification, the therapist reminds the client to thank the personification(s) and to inform the personification that she or he intends/would like to revisit the personification at another time.


Step thirty-three: The therapist further reminds the client to respect the personification by honoring their discussion and commitments.


Step thirty-four: The therapist then guides the reintegration of the personification(s) and the client.

The therapist asks the client to imagine the personification returning to his/her body and spirit and awaits the client’s acknowledgment that this integration has occurred.


Step thirty-five: The client is encouraged and challenged to take responsibility of their new conscious remembering/understanding/insight and to make new choices in their behavior, attitude, belief and or identity.


Step thirty-six: The client reports his or her experience with the changes or with his or her incompetency in applying his or her responsibility to the initially presented situation.

If the client has returned to the old self-defeating pattern, he or she is to use this as a barometer or indicator of his or her relationship with him/herself. Then, he or she is to return to do more or different negotiating to fix their incompetency and the personification’s specific needs. What secondary gain was in the incompetency? (Ecology) There are many reasons why the process may not have worked (Thomas Jefferson attitude). The personification may inform the client that the client did not assume responsibility in the discussed change(s). The client is then faced with other choices. The client could revert to the self-defeating behavior, could assert him or herself in renegotiating and recommitment to applying the proposed change.


Step thirty-seven: When the client appears to have failed and asks the therapist, What should I do?

The therapist can redirect the question from the client to the personification. The therapist may see "resistance" (a not knowing or not having other options). However, when something does not work, the therapist may also assume some responsibility of the resistance and try something else. The therapist is obligated to determine, within him or herself, how something worked and how something failed.



Return to the Top

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Personification The Steps Bibliography Definitions



Cognitive Therapy: Psychotherapy especially for depression that emphasizes the substitution of desirable patterns of thinking for maladaptive or faulty ones





















Ego States: A psychodynamic approach to treat various behavioral and cognitive problems within a person. It uses techniques that are common in group and family therapy, but with an individual patient, to resolve conflicts that manifest in a "family of self" within a single individual.





















Gestalt Therapy: Psychotherapy with individuals or groups that emphasizes treatment of the person as a whole, including a person's biological components and their organic functioning, perceptual configuration, and interrelationships with the external world.





















Hypnotherapy: Psychotherapy that facilitates suggestion, reeducation, or analysis by means of hypnosis





















Internal Family Systems Therapy: An integrative approach to psychotherapy, relationship counseling, and family therapy developed by Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. It combines systems thinking with the view that mind is made up of relatively discrete sub-personalities each with their own viewpoint and qualities. IFS applies the theories of family therapy to understand how these collections of sub-personalities are organized.





















Neuro-Linguistic Programming: The study of the structure of subjective experience and what can be calculated from that and is predicated upon the belief that all behavior has structure





















Parts Therapy: Parts Therapy is based on the concept that our personality is composed of a number of various parts, which are aspects of the subconscious. In other words, we all wear different hats. The facilitator acts as a mediator to help clients resolve inner conflicts.





















Personifying: To embody (a quality, idea, etc.) in a real person or a concrete thing.



Psychodrama: An extemporized dramatization designed to afford catharsis and social relearning for one or more of the participants from whose life history the plot is abstracted.





















Psychotherapy: Treatment of mental and emotional disorders through the use of psychological techniques designed to encourage communication of conflicts and insight into problems, with the goal being personality growth and behavior modification.





















Voice Dialogue: The technique for implementing the theory and "primary selves" are those selves that emerged in our maturation process to protect the inner child from pain and allow us to reach our goals.





















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