In following text I mirror the ideas of David Keir Wright (The Pedagogy of Experience and Drama Intelligence) to my own experiences about Inner theater. I have developed Inner Theater from Ego state therapy. It is a self help tool for transformational therapeutic learning using primarly creative reading and journaling in a ”drama imaginarium” of mind. It is an improvised play of our ego states . (Italic type of text by David Keir Wright).
Drama intelligence is a feeling intelligence developed in processes of self-exploration, self-transformation and meaning making through individual creative imaginative action and cultural-aesthetic practice in a collective context. It is an intelligence all humans beings have the capacity to develop – an intelligence that is empathic, intuitive, spontaneous and imaginative. Its basis is man’s ”theatrical instinct”. The ability to play personal is essential.
I have been using ego states as a tool for transformational learning for some years. The process started during my hypnotherapy studies (2004-2007) . I started to use ego states as a personal tool for self-exploration during my hard period of life (burnout and breast cancer). I have published this personal journaling process as a book (Mielentilojen treenikirja 2007 – The training book of Ego states). It is a kind of self-analysis book using ego states as a reflexion tool for self- knowledge and ”new me” actualization.
I wrote a drama using my emerging sixteen ego states to get new insight of myself. The book is not a pearl of literature. Actually the purpose of journaling is not that, allthough some of my students have written really beautiful poetry. Instead drama journaling is used in Inner Theater for increasing self-knowledge and for finding better harmony inside of you and in relation to your community. I created in my personal Inner Theater for example a depressed ego state Mrs. Wrinkle, ecological state Mielikki, an inner Scientist, an inner hypnotherapist Anna, sceptic Thomas, and two inner children etc.
Through personal play and the use of his imagination, the man transforms himself and transcends into another reality. A reality where he can be different, do something different, be somewhere different than in everyday life and see things in a different perspective.
After that I started experimentally use ego state with journaling groups. About use of ego states in journaling and experiences about groups I have written another book (in English something like Inner Theater – journaling as cultivating self-awareness). I and many of my students have been able to reach this ”another reality” Wright mentions. As a hypnotherapist, I would call it creative trance or self-hypnosis. By the way, it is interesting that in hypnosis history automatic writing is well-known. In this trance state of consciousness you can for some moments let your rational ego states to give open imaginal space to deeper ego states emerging from unconcious mind. By this way you can enrich your Inner Theater.
The development of drama intelligence can be achieved through the practice of playing, play acting and acting, of being characters real or symbolic created by the individual herself alone and in conjunction with others – through practicing living. In drama, as in life, the individual is both the creator and the medium. The material to be transformed is herself. As an artist and human being she is both the subject creating and the object created.
I have used in my writing groups in first sessions as a tool ESI® (Excecutive State indentification). It is simple but genius tool for maping some of your superficial ego states. The method is developed by Australian Jan Sky. The underlying ego states are harder to reach – to get in touch with them you must use your self-hypnosis skills, imagination. Some of your ego states can be archetypal like Inner Child and Inner Wisdom but basically ego states are who they are. They are your personal unique structures of your mind.
In the process you can sometimes notice that you may have introjections, too, internalized peers for example. In my Inner Theater journaling method, you can in addition make consciously new introjections. For example you can create in the journaling process a new strong adult ego state, which you have made from a trusted, emphatic adult role model from real life or literature.
The director of your theater has to have in social situations a mature and well-formed sense of reality. Adult mature ego states and reading for example scientifical articles help to develop it. You have to develop an eye for distinctions of more realistic and imaginal worlds. The writer knows that she is all the time working in journaling in metaphorical worlds. When you move to China for example, you can study its’ culture and create a Chinese girl as a new introjection. She utilizes different metaphoric forms of reality for increasing self-knowledge and understanding.
It is important in journaling not to associate in ego states carrying painful experiences. Instead you write as an observer or director of your play. The more painful experience, the more fictional story. You can for example write a fairy tale of orphan little girl. The goal is to prison the emotional experience in soft, symbolic form. You can enrich the fairy tale by using strong adult ego states for repairing experiences.
Playing is life. Playing at living contributes the acquirement of self-knowledge, knowledge of humankind in general and awareness of the creative power of the imagination. An awareness that provides insight, strength and the will to change reality. Through his imagination man has the capacity to transform ”the given circumstances” and be in ” a continual state of becoming”.
In successful ego state journaling process you can really feel how you are in ”a continual state of becoming”. Your life becomes a process of continuing moving and changing. You kind of get your energy and information molecules in motion. Daniel Siegel talks about mindsight. Gordon Emerson writes about Happy Parts, Happy Self. Inner Theater is in my opinion a method for developing mindsight by drama intelligence. You can learn to perceive your mind better, and that helps you to see others more precisely, too.
In addition to ego state journaling, some people have used their ego state as personae of comics. The whole idea of the process is to get to know your parts in ever flowing drama atmosphere including resepct, humor and compassion.
Life is not life if there is no moving and changing. Drama intelligence is about life and living. It is the individual’s capacity to relate imaginatively, intuitively, emphathetically and consciously to other human beings and oneself as a human being. Drama intelligence is man’s ability to make symbolic universal meaning out of symbolic particular meaning and vice versa.
I encourage my students to be spontaneous. I actually encourage them to merge mindfulness and other contemplation activities in their self-awareness practices. Although mindfulness and hypnosis have different historical backgrounds, they have a lot of common ground. For many people, journaling process is a spiritual process, too. Journaling can be one kind of contemplation. As in contemplation, in Inner Theater, the epistemiology of new knowledge is love.
And ofcourse, you can use ego states as in traditional actual drama play. The group members can play your parts, and the writer, the creator of these ego states, can be a director of this play. Hypnotherapist, is a facilitator of the directing process. The athmosphare must be gentle and all the ego states must be respected.
Of course the journaling group have to be made of people who trust each other. The ego states can be unethically used for bullying. When you make your parts known, it is a very intimate process and everybody are not ready for revealing themselves to foreigners or even to close team members. That can be sometimes a wise decision.
My intention is always to encourage participants, students etc. to be spontaneuos. I want them to trust their intuition and believe in their feelings and emotional states while searhchig for their aesthetic impulse. I want them to be engaged in identity making projects.
The play in the potential space where they are given the opportunity of attain personal knowledge in the area of cultural experience between ”me” and ”not me”. I. The writer is both the playwriter, and actor improvising her drama. New characters, ego states, tend to be created in this meaning making process.
It is my belief that individuals are more inclined to have an excess of energy and desire to work constructively with others, when they are conscious of choice and their own continual state of becoming. Self-knowledge and self-awareness cultivates the soil in which collective collaboration, democracy and solidarity can grow.
That is my idea too. People can get to know themselves better and they can make more conscious choices and in this way grow more responsible citizens. In Inner Theater it is a question about cultivating self-awareness. The life is full of traumatazing personal and public news. The global world is multicultural, traumataizing and full of contradictionary information. In this kind of situation, it is for most of the people liberating to know, that they are plural selves. We have in different situations possibility to choose which is the excecutive ego state in our Inner Theater. Our bodymind doesen’t have to be directed by autopilot. Ego states give you possibility to learn to grow and know your ever-flowing and changing consciousness.
A process of personal investigation always reveals something old and new. The philosophy and methodology enables individuals to see themselves as both fixed and not fixed. It gives them the opportunity of discovering and trying out other possibilities and the freedom, power and confidence to perceive themselves, other and the world in a new way. A process of discovery and meaing making that is anchored to their creation of a character and a drama and using both as a transitional object. The purpose is to give participants adequate time and space to work reflexively and the possiblility of ”losing themselves” in the characters and the aesthetic experience in order to expand and deepen their self-knowledge, knowledge of human beings and the world through inner dialogues, contemplation in solitude and reflexive conversation.
It is imperative that each participants in this drama methodology creates her own representational form that comes out of her level of knowledge and experience, the present everyday themes and together given circumstances in the specific context. The participants are responsible for their own production of knowledge. They produce and transform cultural knowledge, which is their own knowledge, expressed in aesthetic form. This implies a theory of knowledge that links sensuous experience to theoretical reflection.
As a hypnotherapist I emphasize that ego states are not just emotional states, they are physiological states, too. The purpose of inner drama is to get your inner energy and information molecules in flow, which for sure have a positive effect in your holistic well being. Hypnotherapy can be a holistic, integrative method for healing. Mindfulness and hypnosis share a lot of common ground.
For me GMM (guided mindfulness meditation) is hypnosis, allthough they have different paradigmatic backgrounds. I think that is why I, as a hypnotherapist, feel myself confortable in the world of mindfulness. In my work I stress western contemplation, spiritual, philosophical and hypnosis traditions. Ego states give us tool to integrate different wisdom traditions. My favorite philosopher is Danish Soren Kierkegaard, whose whole philosophy was written by his colourful and wonderful alter states. I believe Kierkegaard would have had some benefits of knowing the principles of Ego state therapy. For me, this genius was quite merciless towards himself and traditional authoritian priests. His parts were not very happy.
”Playing” is different from, but just as important as, presention of meaning and knowledge ” a play”. A differens stands between theatre as communication and a drama created as an investigative and experiential practice not dependent on an external audience. A ”third” space for sharing and communication is to be found in the more intimate and secure cultural community, the space that theories on ritual call ”communion”. The ”third” space has its own valuable contextual aesthetic, between everyday social life and the artistic public sphere. This ”third” space was an essential arena in the methodology of the Pedagogy of Experience.
Thank you for your ideas, David Keir Wright. They matched perfectly with my ideas of Inner Theater of ego states! I think our views complement wonderfully each other.
Inner Theater in facebook.
PS. Sorry about my English mistakes…. I should find a speller.