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The Inner Mother and Inner Father Process

One of the most powerful and life-changing processes I have experienced in my eleven years working with my inner child (Little John) and all my other inner selves actually happened only a few years ago. I am still adjusting to the changes which, though very positive for me, have altered so much of the way I look at the world and others around me. (Warning: If you are a person who does not accept that within each of us there is a very real part called the ‘inner child’ these notes may have no value for you, since most of what follows is about the deepest needs of our inner children and how these can be achieved.)


Many of you will be familiar with Hal and Sidra Stone’s process for ‘growing’ or inducting a new self (one that has never been present in that person) as distinct from the more usual re-connecting to a disowned self (one that was present earlier in life but has been pushed into the background). Many other voice dialogue practitioners have been working on developing ways of inducting two totally new selves, for example an Inner or ideal Mother and an Inner or ideal Father. When I say that they are totally new, I mean that these new selves carry strong and very positive characteristics that we certainly did not learn from our real mother or father. In many ways they may be complete opposites.


It’s hard to describe the incredible joy and the sense of protection that Little John is feeling inside me with his new inner Mum. She is so aware, so caring, and so non-controlling, unlike my real mother. Often when he is overly concerned about something, she just tells him "John, It doesn’t matter." (What I would have given, as a child, just to have heard that once from my real parents!)


My new inner Dad is also very different from my actual father. My inner dad has a deep spiritual strength, he is open-minded, fair and firm but non-judgmental. He is very aware and says things to me and Little John like, "We could be right or wrong about that, we can’t be sure, let’s have another look at it." and "You can choose." (Again, words I never heard as a child but desperately wanted to, living as I was forced to do, in my raging addict father’s extremely polarised, north or south, good or bad world.)


NOTE: Those of you who have read my book "Growing Awareness" (or browsed through my website) will be familiar with a term I often use namely the "aware adult" which I identified there as being different from the aware ego and also different from ordinary inner selves. I can now see that what I described as the ‘aware adult state’ is almost identical to the energy I feel coming from my two new Inner parents. And, yes, they do have a great deal of awareness and lots of grown up energy. "We can’t be sure about the aware grown up either, let’s have another look at it." I hear my inner Dad telling me and that feels so calming.


My new inner Dad and Mum are often at their strongest when they are protecting little John from inner selves like the knower and judge, the inner critic, inner matriarch and patriarch, whether they are in me and in others. And since the they were the same selves who got me into most of the strife in my life, it’s wonderful having some protection from them at last.


For example, my own inner matriarch has a nasty habit of taking a critical remark or judgement by someone else, amplifying it, then telling little John, "They’re right you know, you deserved that criticism!" Can you imagine after all these years, now having two more aware and much stronger selves who, today, tell her, "Back off and leave the kid alone while we deal with the reality!" Maybe I did make a mistake, but I’ll fix it faster and better with my new inner parents beside me instead of my inner critic and my matriarch (who I notice both happen to sound very much like my original internalised mum and dad).


The way a Voice dialogue facilitator helps induct each new inner mother or father is very individual. If I tell you about my own experience it will give you some idea. I can’t tell you about the way I have facilitated other people’s new parent selves because that would breach confidentiality. But I can tell you that the results for others have been positive and powerful in every case. I have been inducting new inner mothers and fathers with great success for the past six months, even over the phone and with clients in the USA and UK (on one occasion by cellular phone). I can also tell you that the process is not particularly hard to learn provided you have had some training as a Voice dialogue facilitator and I would be happy to discuss it with any facilitator who is interested in learning more about it.


One point I will stress, however, is that it is essential to do separate inductions, one each for the Inner Mother and Inner Father. For many years I had been inducting a self I called the ‘Aware Inner Parent". It was a useful self but it never really seemed to get fully energised. Then I tried inducting the ‘Aware Adult’. It still didn’t seem to make much of a change.


Now I understand why. The energy of the new inner mother self is totally different to that of the inner father self. The way they work is very different. They can cooperate as a two-self team to counteract negative core beliefs, but only because each one has different skills that compliment the other’s.


For example (and remember that in each person these characteristics may differ, so try not to generalise) the inner mother’s energy is often softer, kinder, and warmer. My inner Mum is extremely unconditional. She gives Little John messages about being special, lovable, good enough and worthwhile, regardless of what he does. She is always ready to nurture and support Little John when he is feeling vulnerable but she asks nothing in return.


My inner father, on the other hand is fair, but firm, he sets limits (using boundaries and moderation) about the things that Little John should or should not do to avoid impacting others. He encourages experimenting and exploring, yet he is conditional (even judgemental) when it comes to saying "No" to others about what they do that could affect Little John’s vulnerability. Even then he tries to avoid intensity.


Attempting to combine those very different energies into one ‘inner parent’ or ‘aware adult’, as I used to do, neutralises their effect. The Mum side finds difficult to be unconditional enough in her loving, the Dad side can’t set strong enough boundaries and limits.


The other thing I suggest to my clients is that they notice the significant differences between ordinary selves and the more grown-up nature of the inner parent selves. For a while I thought these new inner parents might be something else, not even ‘selves’ as we know them, but inner Dad suggested we have another look at it.


Here is what I have come up with that seems to distinguish inner parent selves in some ways energetically from the ordinary kind of selves.

Connecting, linking and communicating

With two inner parents in place, you find it easier to share all this new understanding and awareness with other people (provided they are trustworthy). With only your inner selves looking after your un-parented vulnerability it’s hard to share deep experiences without feeling you are more at risk. The less the selves are involved in your linkage with others, the more you can talk openly about your inner child, your vulnerability and whatever else you are now aware of and how all this affects you and your feelings. You are more connected yet also more protected.


Click these two links for the story of the actual step by step induction ceremony that helped me
to induct my own new

Inner Father
 and  
Inner Mother


These links will take you away from this website to my Inner Child website. Please bookmark this site before you go. After reading the information there if you use “Back” not “Home” it will bring you back  here again.




Copyright © John Nutting 1996- - 2009  and   ©   GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide   LAST UPDATE  Saturday, May 10, 2014

Don't worry about those copyright notices at the foot of each page. It just means I want to hang on to legal ownership of what I write for use in future books.  Until that day, please feel free to copy, adapt and use them to your heart's content as long as you don't charge anyone for them. If you want to use them commercially (charge a fee for them) I would appreciate an acknowledgment and if they go well and you make a profit out of them, I would appreciate an appropriate sharing.