Also known as "headmaps".
What is a "self-map"?
A self-map is an attempt by a system to illustrate their internal interrelationships, or create a map of their headspace or internal landscape.
Map styles can vary from system to system and from the skills, aesthetic and artistry of the resident creating the map. Some systems create maps that look like a landscape, a house or building, a flowchart or family tree. Essentially it's a diagram or drawing attempting to translate social and working relationships between their residents into something that can be viewed by others or by residents through their eyes.
Some therapists encourage mapping your system as part of therapy, or they can be created in an effort to explain your group to another person who wants to understand details about your system. It is by no means necessary to map your system simply because you're multiple, however mapping can be a valuable tool you can use if you desire to try it out.
Therapists specializing in DID/MPD have historically encouraged mapping because they felt that the map made it easier to identify persons whom they believe embodied defenses and fears that could be worked on in therapy, or that maps might inherently show areas where other alters might be hiding. One type of map encouraged by some therapists is explicitly to pair opposing alters, to somehow prove that this juxtaposition, if integrated, would create a balanced centered person. We don't encourage you to force your headmap into any particular configuration, as that can actually have an as inside, so outside, and vice versa effect on your internal organization.
There are many great reasons to create headmaps for your own system including (but not limited to):
- assisting with roll calls (helpful for "all hands on deck" meetings)
- locating missing links or people
- allowing people to identify themselves and their connections
- mapping out communication channels so that you can perhaps improve on them
- helping other residents who are not fully co-aware get a better idea of who else is living in their head with them
- help residents find their way around in an internal landscape
- directory listing for residents to know who to talk to internally about certain things
- help develop interrelationships with residents internally
Your self-maps or headmaps don't need to be shown to anyone else, even though that's another viable reason for wanting one, nor do they need to be drawn in any permanent/written form at all.
A really nice article about different ways to map ones system. (at the Internet Archive)