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As Inside, So Outside & Vice Versa: Foundations of Internal Community

Foundational Concepts in Building Internal Community

Foundations of Internal Community

For working with people diagnosed with DID and DDNOS.

Build internal system trust and learn to recognize and correct unhealthy power dynamics at play. Participants will learn to facilitate dynamics that foster communication and understand better what it’s like to be present in a chaotic or imbalanced system. We will take a page from external group dynamics, dysfunctional families, and healthy social dynamics to apply them to the internal system, to correct issues caused by unintentional internal bullying, coercion, mis-application of force. Session will include role-play to demonstrate internal dynamics.

When therapists and patients address DID using concepts from psychology without using concepts from group facilitation, organizational theory, or good social common sense, a DID system may be viewed as a hierarchy, applying power dynamics that create internal chaos and reinforce or create distrust and resistance within the system. If we can take a page from other disciplines such as external group dynamics, dysfunctional families in domestic violence, or social dynamics and apply them to the internal system, we can see how many multiple systems are in chaos due to unintentional internal bullying, coercion, mis-application of force, etc.

The first half of the session will explain the concept of “as inside, so outside (and vice versa)” and then go into how it applies specifically in system trust issues. Specific examples of internal power struggles and issues will be given.

In the second half of this workshop, we learn to recognize unhealthy system dynamics at play and how to challenge and assist in changing dysfunctional internal dynamics to ones that foster communication and system trust. We will also have a role-play where participants act out different members of an internal system to understand better what it’s like to be present in an imbalanced system.

Rev. Criss Ittermann (“The Crisses”) are a life coach and Interfaith minister who became aware of "other people in their head" at age 16. With 31 years of experience as a group entity with high co-consciousness and dealing with external multiple systems, they have brought these concepts to others to help develop better internal relationships. They are the majority contributor to kinhost.org, host of Many Minds on the Issue podcast, and the developer of the United Front Boot Camp for building internal community.


Topics that we'll cover:

  • As Inside, So Outside & Vice Versa: the principle that the boundary between the internal system and the external system is permeable and not as thick as we think. System dynamics for external systems work for internal systems. The only differences are sharing a body and group responsibility.
  • Hierarchical Language: the application of better-than, less-than terms in DID, i.e. "I only want to talk to the host"
  • Name-calling & Internal Bullying: they can hear you talk about them
  • De-personalization: stripping internal folk of their person-hood
  • Force and coercion: locking people up, keeping them out of front
  • Facilitating Balance and Respect

An example of this principle in action is calling internal folk who misbehave by demeaning names like “The Angry One” and negative role-based titles such as “internal persecutor”. There’s not a soul on this planet who would want these labels, but therapists and multiples apply them to elements within the system without considering the consequences. Hurt and angry alters get bullied by being locked up or kept out of front, and from their perspective it’s their life as well — and this would be unacceptable behavior in the general public. We will discuss scenarios where therapy or the multiple are making their internal chaos worse by unintentionally applying skewed dynamics and unkind perspectives to their situation and making matters worse. Professionals will be reminded why sometimes it’s better not to share your perspective or labels regarding the common roles within the system and to instead foster compassion, kindness, open communication, equality, and apology to help heal and encourage internal relationships.


Learning objectives:

  • Learn to recognize imbalances in internal system power dynamics that are being applied unfairly: for those without DID, it's especially important to recognize the ones reinforced from outside the system.
  • Correct language and attitudes so that the dynamics are not skewed by the behavior of the therapist or of the internal folk currently controlling the client's life.
  • A guided group role play as an internal system, leading one another through an exercise applying these dynamics in a conversation. Participants will be given roles to play, if there are sufficient numbers of participants and time there will be several role play scenarios to test their understanding of what the internal dynamics look like inside the system — to reinforce the idea that internal dynamics are often no different than those in the external world. Since persons who do not have DID have never participated in internal system dynamics, I expect the lesson to be an important one.

An example of a role that a participant may be given:

You have been yelled at all your life. Everyone is against you. Your parents would give you long angry lectures, red-faced, screaming, emotionally lashing out at you, and you were never really sure what you had done wrong. You started getting angry in response, because whatever had happened, it wasn't YOUR fault. Now, whenever you deal with the world, all you really know is how to be angry and defensive. You're only partially aware that you're in a DID system, and you've been getting flack for things they did all your life. And they're just like everyone else. They're calling you names, pushing you away, and they're upset and angry at you. They call you The Angry One. What body language do you use? What types of faces do you make? [Please be careful about yelling at other participants — you can pretend to be angry without yelling. Think broody, defensive, shut down body language, frowning, etc.]