IC = Inner Critic, ID = Inner Defender, IG = Inner Guide

View the following prezi to get the definitions of the terms used in this exercise (IC = Inner Critic, ID = Inner Defender, IG = Inner Guide): https://prezi.com/drufpilrfmml/inner-critic-inner-defender-inner-guide/ (Links to an external site.)

First, in the box below, write a sentence expressing a recent problem or event that upset you. Think of something troubling that happened in school, at work, or in your personal life. For example, “I got a 62 on my math test.” Next, write a list of three or more criticisms your Inner Critic (IC) might level against you three or more criticisms your Inner Defender (ID) might level against someone else as a result of this situation. Then, type the response your Inner Guide (IG) might use to dispute each one immediately. Review the four methods of disputing described below. You only need to use one of them for each criticism. For example, IC: You failed that math test because you’re terrible in math. IG: It’s true I failed the math test, but I’ll study harder next time and do better. This was only the first test, and I now know what to expect next time. For example, ID: You failed that math test because you’ve got the worst math instructor on campus. IG: I have trouble understanding my math instructor, so I’m going to make an appointment to talk with him in private. John really liked him last semester, so I bet I’ll like him, too, if I give him a chance.

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Example: Scenario – Instructor didn’t show up for a scheduled conference. Inner Critic says, “My instructor thinks I’m dumb. I’ll never get a college degree. I’m a failure in life.” Inner Defender says, “My instructor won’t help me. Teachers don’t care about students.” Meanwhile, the Inner Guide disputes:

  • Offer evidence that the IC/ID judgments are incorrect: “My instructor emailed me last week to see if I needed help with my project, so there’s no rational reason to believe he won’t help me now.”
  • Offer a positive explanation of the problem: “Sure, my instructor didn’t show up, but he may have missed the appointment because of a last-minute crisis.”
  • Question the importance of the problem: “Even if my instructor won’t help me, I can still do well on the project, and if I don’t, it won’t be the end of the world as long as I learn something from the process.”
  • If you find the IC/ID judgments could be true, instead of continuing to criticize yourself or someone else, offer a plan to improve the situation: “If I’m honest, I have to admit I haven’t done well in this class so far, but from now on, I’m going to attend every class, take good notes, read my assignments two or three times, and work with a study group before every test.”

Finally, view this article on self talk (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201803/how-construct-effective-self-talk (Links to an external site.)) and then write in the box below what you have learned or relearned about changing your inner conversation when you disputed the judgments of your Inner Critic and your Inner Defender. Your journal entry might begin, “In reading and writing about my inner conversations, I have discovered that. . . .” Wherever possible, offer personal experiences or examples to explain what you learned.


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