ISH, the Internal Self Helper, supposedly an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good alter. The therapists wet dream, and probably just as unrealistic. I have heard some wild claims about ISH alters, that they know EVERYTHING about the community, everyone, every event, every memory. That they only have the community's best interests in mind, they seem incapable of anything but altruistic behaviour. They also have the answers to any crisis or problem. It is said that every multiple has at least one ISH alter, and the therapist needs to search for this person and call them out when they are needed, as they are usually very secretive. Now maybe in other systems these people exist, that they are just as described, we even have some people that are incredibly helpful and hold some important information. It is, however this belief that every system will have at least one ISH, and that they will be able to fix any problem that arises, one of the most irritating things I have heard.
I am using alter a lot in this even though it is a term that annoys me no end. Alter is short for alternate personality, and yet is another way that therapists and other professional, medical people separate us from the rest of the population. If we are just an alternate personality then we have little value and do not need to be treated like the people we are. But to me the Internal Self Helper is just another way to separate someone from humanity, they become solely a role, a job to be performed. Therefore therapists and the like, can ignore them as people and treat them just as an alter, there to perform a task, and do it at the will of the therapist. I believe these concepts of multiplicity and in turn ISH's comes from fear. They are unable to accept that one body can play host to a group of people, and therefore have to diminish it to a level that is acceptable to themselves. By making the people within the community only alternative faces of one original then they do not have to count. And by creating roles from them they count even less. And as the idea of many people within one body frightens and confuses them they also have to create the idea of one of those people knowing everything, and being able to explain and help them. They hide their own inadequacies behind the idea that the ISH will be able to do what they can't. Therefore the responsibility is placed on the ISH, and it is their fault if the ideas of the therapist fail.
I often think of the Internal Self Helper as the therapists escape hatch. If they don't know how to handle something, if they have no idea on how to deal or understand something they can call on an ISH and have them deal with it. This is their way out, their avoidance of their own issues around the client or multiplicity in general. It also provides them with an excuse for not acting or helping their clients. If they receive one that is in crisis, that can not deal with a certain situation they can put all the responsibility onto the client themselves, or specifically the Internal Self Helper. Now learning to be responsible for one's life is not a bad thing, but for a lot of people it is something that has to be learned over time. Supposedly the therapist is there to guide that process not to push all responsibility onto someone immediately. And what if for the multiple without an Internal Self Helper, or at least the ISH as implied by therapists. Will they be made to feel less, to feel responsible for the failures of therapy and self help because they can not function as so called specialists' state they should.
When we first started therapy and we discovered Guardian and Censor, our therapist decided that Guardian at least was an ISH. She would often try to call Guardian out and gather information and assistance from her. At that time our therapist believed many of the fallacies she had read about in her text books. The idea that a person can be summoned was the first mistake. Yes many will answer when they are called, but they do that because they or someone in the community wants them to, it is the decision of the person, not the command from someone in the Earthen World that decides. So often when Guardian was asked for she would refuse to come, finding her existence in this body and in the Earthen World too hard and uncomfortable for her. When she did arrive she was not worth coming with her knowledge. She guards her secrets and only ever talks about them in half truths and riddles. This infuriated our therapist at the time. She had decided Guardian was an Internal Self Helper, and since that implied helpfulness could not understand why she was being so secretive and cryptic. The reality is Guardian is a person, with her own way of being. She is not just a role set out in some text book and refused to act in accordance of that role. She holds much information and over time when our therapist learnt to treat her like a person, and also learnt the way to ask for and interpret information, Guardian became very useful in learning about how our community works. She does not fit the specified role of ISH, no one here does. But when dealt with as a person, real and multi dimensional, she had a lot to offer.
I see the term and definition of Internal Self Helper to be a fraud against a fair amount of multiples. I am of no doubt that there are people within a multiple community that are in fact very useful and helpful in understand how the community works or what things can be helpful for their development or recovery. But it is still this idea of a facet of some person holding all the answers and being so keen on sharing them that is detrimental for many multiples. There is almost an aspect of the faith healer blaming the person for not being worthy of the miracle, the therapist can point to the ISH, or lack of one as the reason crises are still happening. The therapist might hope for someone with these skills, they might feel that there is need for one. But the implication that all multiples have one is merely a projection of their own hopes and inadequacies.