Most inside family's/systems don't have a great communication. Especially in the beginning. When your getting to know each other. Everyone is most likely very scared. Most early try's at communication can be frustrating an confusing. Some people know some people inside an others have no clue there are others. Its chaotic an confusing. But don't worry its can an does get better. As you begin to learn to communicate with each other the less chaotic it becomes inside.
Good communication doesn't happen over night. Sometimes it takes a long time. It can be a slow an frustrating process. Communication can be a difficult task but not a impossible one.
You might have been hearing the voices of others for a long time but cant always tell who is speaking. Some inside family members/alters will have different accents or vocabularies. This helps allot when trying to learn who is who. I have 1 with a English accent 1 that using sign language an many of the littles speak like children around the age of 5. But sad to say usually most are not quite as willing to be distinctive. At least at in the beginning.
Using a journal is a great way to learn about each other. As well as a great way to add to the healing process. Inside family members/Alters can write notes back an forth in a notebook or send e-mail's. In time you may fined that you are able to tell who's who by there handwriting.
Notebooks are inexpensive and easy to buy. Everyone in the system can use them. Even the littles can draw in them if they would like.
It may also be a good idea to make a copy of it for your therapist when your inside family/system feels safe enough to let s/he read it.
A journal is good for looking back to see how far the inside family/system has come. It also gives you a way to show the inside family members that you care for them and wish to know how they feel. Even if they don't write in it much to start with.
Another good way to use a journal is to sit down an write whatever comes to your mind. Without censoring it. Then let your therapist read it if you all agree that's safe. What might happen is that your inside family members/ alters will write to each other and maybe even to your therapist.
THE TAPE RECORDER
Some inside family's/systems like to let alters tape messages to each other. This very useful for inside family members/alters that can not read or that are blind. It can also let you know what's happened when you weren't out.
Tapes can also be very valuable for your therapist to listen to if you choose to let s/he. Since your therapist cant be around all the time.
Not everyone in a inside family/system likes to write. Artwork is a good way to let inside family members/alters have some time out an express themselves.
Drawing is a safe way to let out feelings, wishes, hopes, dreams and fears. Drawings can be done in any way you choose. My inside family/system likes to use colored pencils, markers, crayons, finger paints, clay and oil colors. Drawings can be done on pads of paper, paper bags, coloring books .
Remember that different inside family members/alters may like to use other ways to create art then you do. Be respectful in letting them do so. Even if its not your kind of art. Remember that artwork is a way to process pain, not creating a master piece. For most it works best when you can just go with the flow.
Another favorite in my inside family/system is to make a collage. Which is cutting out a bunch of pictures from magazines an pasting them on one big piece of paper. Sometimes you don't even understand what's going on until the end. When all of a sudden a meaning will be there.
When you allow each inside family members/alter a way to express themselves, Some of the energy used for self-harming and self-hate will be used to create something healing, beautiful and meaningful.
Artwork helps build self-esteem in littles an teenagers as they learn that they can create something worthwhile. Artwork helps the inside family/system grow an feel better about themselves.
INSIDE FAMILY OR COMMUNITY MEETING
As communication and cooperation grows inside, threw journaling, artwork and working together. Your inside family/system may want to begin having inside family meetings or Community Meetings.
This meeting is where inside family members/alters can talk about situations, options and experiences in the outside world. This is a time where they can make recommendations for changes in the inside family/system and decisions.
In my inside family/ system we have a big room inside with a table an chairs. Everyone in the family/system has a chair at the table. Even if that member/alter has never come to a meeting before. The littles also have a chair. But they also have toy's in a corner in case they get bored. (which they often do) lol
When a decision needs to be made the family gets together an goes threw the options. Listening to everyone's thoughts and opinions. Then devises a plan to best fit the need of the family right then. Then it is decided who best in the family/system or group of someone's will best be able to carry out the plan.
The inside family meetings works well for family's that have gained a fair amount of cooperation. It works well because its a deliberate getting together of family members/alters to work on common goals for the family/system. It also lets everyone inside known that things can be changed for the good of all inside.
Written by Boyy M. (DMA) © Copyright 10-98. Revised 01-27-00 May be reprinted for non-profit personal use ONLY. Please include my name, copyright dates and web address. For all other use, (your web page, hard copy or anything you plan to make money from), please email me for permission. mailto:BoyyM@worldnet.att.net
All material on this information sheet is provided for INFORMATION ONLY and should not be construed as advice or instruction. Action should not be taken based solely upon the contents of this sheet; instead, appropriate professionals should be consulted.