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This is one of a series of Web pages for people who strive to
provide effective human services.
This page summarizes seven key
premises about people and
behavior that underlie all these helping suggestions here. Other
sections of this Web site provide more detail on these core
The premises are...
Normal human personalities are
composed of a number of specialized "subselves" or "parts."
Definitions of "needs," "human
problems," and "effective human service."
Most non-organic personal and social
"problems" stem from [inherited psychological "wounds" +
unawareness of key topics]. The keystone wound is a disabled
executive subself, or "true Self."
Internal family systems
therapy ("parts work") can permanently reduce these wounds,
Effective parts work requires
some new language conventions.
This 6-lesson educational online
course can replace toxic unawareness with useful knowledge;
Adults nurturing minor kids can
protect them from inheriting the lethal legacy of psychological
wounds + unawareness.
get the most from this page and series, first read the
Web site and
introductions, and the
premises underlying this self-improvement Web site. The
premises below extend the latter. Here's more detail on them:
Premises for Helpers
Traditionally, human personalities are seen as a monolithic set
of traits + instincts + preferences that shape a person's
attitudes and behaviors. There are several personality-type
schemes - e.g.
Myers-Briggs, Dr. Carl Jung's
archetypes, and the
Luscher color test.
This Web site is based on the belief that normal (vs.
are formed by the combined traits of a
of talented "subselves" or "parts" that evolve during early life
in response to a child's environment and genes.
Subselves are probably discrete areas of the brain holding
selected data and information-processing "programs."
They each have two "states": inactive and active. Subselves
activate when they perceive (a) sensory signals like heat, pain,
and touch; and (b) environmental events, like noise, arguments,
and certain events or conditions (like "danger") in and around
the host person.
subself is triggered, it causes predictable thought and
emotional sequences, and possibly physiological reactions like
muscle tightness, sweating, and increased heart and breathing
There are three or four
functional types of subselves, all of which are ceaselessly
dedicated to promoting the host person's survival.
"Parts work" [internal
family-system (IFS) therapy] is a structured framework
for helping people learn about and harmonize their subselves,
under the leadership of a talented "true Self."
I studied parts work with Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. in 1992, and
have found it unusually effective at promoting a wide
range of desired client changes.
Premise 2) - Needs,
Emotions, and Problem-solving
Perspective on Needs
sensory forms of animal life experience a mosaic of
discomforts and pleasures. These vary dynamically
depending on cellular/organic processes (like hunger and thirst)
and environmental conditions.
Discomforts are popularly called
"needs," I agree with Dr. Sigmund Freud's classic
belief that all human
behavior and relationships are caused by the ceaseless
semi-conscious drive to reduce current discomforts (i.e. to fill
current needs) and increase
Human needs can be categorized as surface (intellectual
and superficial) or
(organic and instinctual.) Most people are unaware of this
distinction and waste time and energy trying to fill current
surface needs. Until corrected via personal awareness, this
unawareness promotes significant personal and social
frustration, conflict, and "stress."
When most current primary needs are filled well enough, people
experience "happiness," "satisfaction," "contentment," and
occasional "joy." As life unfolds, people vary on a continuum from
despair and agony (no hope of filling current
needs) to satiisfracti8on to temporary joy .
Besides surface and primary, needs can be also be rated as...
immediate to long--term;
Trivial to urgent;
Mental, emotional, physical,
social, or spiritual;
Personal or interpersonal;
Mine, yours, and/or ours.
The range of human emotions, or "feelings," can be seen as
symptoms of current primary needs. An implication is that all
emotions are useful - not positive or negative.
Premise: emotions are caused by activated personality subselves
or physiological events. Thus
emotions are reliable indicators of (a) which subselves are affecting the person at the moment, and (b) what each subself
currently needs. For example: "I'm feeling sad" suggests
that a person's Sad Inner Child has been triggered and needs to grieve a loss (broken bond),
Problems and Problem-solving
personal or relationship "problem" can be seen as one or more unfilled
primary needs. "Problem
solving" is the process of identifying and filling current
Personality parts can have different needs at the
same time. Their needs may conflict (Part 1: "I want to go dancing!" /
Part 2: "But I want to be quiet and rest"). These
uncertainty, "ambivalence." "hesitation," "double messages," and feeling
By definition, people seeking human-service help (a) haven't
identified what they need or how to resolve current inner
This is usually because their wise true Self is
and they don't know how to problem-solve
Effective human service aims to teach troubled people how to
problem-solve - i.e. how to...
their true Self from false-self takeovers
identify and prioritize their active subselves' current
mix of primary needs; and...
fill their needs and resolove any need conflicts well
Premise 3) -
Inherited Psychological Wounds
causes of most (all?) nonorganic human "problems"
are (1) inherited psychological
(2) unawareness of a
unless parents or their adult kids recognize
them and proactively act to heal and learn. The
keystone wound is a disabled true Self
Implication: effective human service intentionally promotes
healing these wounds and educating persons, couples or familiees,
family systems (IFS) therapy ("Parts work")
can permanently reduce psychological wounds
The six inherited psychological wounds are caused by the ghost
person's unawareness of (1) significant early-childhood trauma
and (2)protective personality parts (subselves.) Paradoxically,
each subself wants to promote the host person's survival, but
their strategy for helping may cause stress.
Skillful Parts Work and
education can retrain such well-intentioned subselves to be
Recall - we're reviewing seven important premises about people,
problems, and human service.
Effective parts work requires some new language conventions.
All kids and adults use the descriptors "me,""myself." and "I"
when communicating about themselves.
The Parts-work concept proposes that personalities are composed
of discrete subselves (personality parts). It also
proposes that all non-organic moods, attitudes, and behaviors
are caused by active subselves.
This allows a new way of thinking and speaking: "I'm sad"
becomes "a part of me is sad." "I'm conflicted" becomes
"Several of my parts disagree with each other." "I don't
know what I feel" can be expressed as "My Numb-er subself is
blocking my emotions."
Using this kind of parts-work language can help people feel less
overwhelmed by their current problems, less self-critical, and
more optimistic about filling their needs.
Try it! Get quiet and undistracted, and identify one or
more current non-physical discomforts in your life - e.g. "I'm
anxious about..." / "I'm depressed when I think about...' / I'm
confused right now about..." Now change your language,
substituting "a part of ,me" for "I." and see how you feel.
Option - explain this new language convention to a receptive
person and ask them to try it and see what they feel. Collect
several opinions and notice the pattern.
Premise 6) This 6-lesson online
replace toxic unawareness with useful knowledge
The first root of most human problems comes from unwise
conception decisions, ineffective parenting, and resulting
psychological wounds. The second of two roots comes from
widespread ignorance (unawareness) of six core topics.
Both roots are
Test this premise by patiently taking each of these six
, and see what you learn, Then ask yourself...
How would each of my family
adults and mentors do on answering these quizzes?
how would my professional
how would average adult
clients do? and...
are most kids and teens being
taught these topics well enough by their school systems and
experience is, the great majority of average people can't "pass"
these quizzes - they don't know what they don't know, or what
that unawareness costs them and their families.
This suggests that a major part of providing
effective human service is (a) alerting people
(specially parents) to what they could learn, (b)
the benefits of learning key basics, and (b)
motivating them to do so.
This nonprofit Web site is my attempt to summarize vital
knowledge that everyone needs in order to...
be effective parents,
choose and enjoy healthy relationships, and...
live up to their full potential as unique, worthy persons.
Adults nurturing minor kids can protect
them from inheriting psychological wounds + unawareness
"Human service" aims to resolve personal and social problems
or to prevent
them. If these "problems" come from inherited
psychological wounds + unawareness, then service providers
should do what they can to help parents guard their kids against
these two toxic stressors.
My impression is that our country has focused more on treating
"mental health" problems than preventing them. That's partly
because of public apathy and passivity, and partly because of
difficulty identifying, validating, and quantifying successful
Pause, breathe, and reflect: in your efforts to help troubled
people, how often do you
intentionally include wound and ignorance prevention in
For a sampling of the many ways lay people and
professional service providers can help to break the
lethal cycle of inherited [wounds + unawareness],
Have you ever seen premises like these listed in one place?
How many of them do you agree with? Note with interest what your