Chairwork – Interviewing the inner critic

This guide provides a semi-structured interview schedule for working with the inner critic, taking inspiration from the Voice Dialogue approach (Stone & Stone, 1993), Internal Family Systems Therapy (Schwartz & Sweezey, 2020), and Schema Therapy (Young et al., 2003).

 

Kindly made available by Dr Tobyn Bell and Dr Matthew Pugh of Chairwork.

 

DR TOBYN BELL is a psychotherapist specialising in Compassion Focused Therapy. He is also an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, Schema Therapist, and Voice Dialogue Facilitator. He works as a lecturer and operational lead at the University of Manchester and is a co-director of Chairwork with Matthew Pugh.

DR MATTHEW PUGH is a Clinical Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Advanced Schema Therapist, Voice Dialogue Facilitator, and chairwork practitioner. He is a Teaching Fellow with University College London and Lead Clinical Resource Developer with Psychology Tools.


About the inner critic

The inner critic is an internal voice that constantly judges, criticises, and undermines a person’s thoughts, actions, and self-worth. It feeds on self-doubt, fear, and insecurities, obstructing personal growth and stifling confidence. Overcoming the inner critic requires self-compassion, self-awareness, and nurturing positive self-talk. Chairwork can be a useful approach to explore the content, triggers, and functions of self-criticism or the ‘inner critic’. Interviews can also help establish the fears and vulnerabilities which may be driving the critic’s attacks.

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