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Who Am I? Identity Exploration Exercise

Identity is how you think about, describe, and present yourself. It can be made up of different roles, traits, and experiences. For example, an identity may include parent, survivor, dog owner, chronic illness sufferer, and kind person. Developing a strong identity can give meaning and direction in life.

The Who Am I: Identity Exploration Exercise worksheet provides a unique way to help clients explore their identity. They will name each part of their identity, describe what it means to them, and rate how strongly they identify with this part. At the end of the worksheet, they create a nickname or title for their identity that encompasses its most important aspects.

This identity exploration exercise can help clients get to know the distinct parts of themselves and understand how they come together to create a unique individual. This exercise is well-suited for internal family systems (IFS) therapy and any approach that explores how clients understand or construct their identity.

After completing the exercise, encourage discussion with the following questions:

  • Why do you identify more strongly with some parts of yourself than others?
  • How do the different parts of your identity relate to your values?
  • What insight did you gain from completing this exercise?
  • How does your internal sense of self compare to the identity you present to the world?

For a related tool, check out our Values: Self-Exploration worksheet.

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1. Kaplan, A., Sinai, M., & Flum, H. (2014). Design-based interventions for promoting students’ identity exploration within the school curriculum. In Motivational interventions. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

2. Schwartz, S. J., Kurtines, W. M., & Montgomery, M. J. (2005). A comparison of two approaches for facilitating identity exploration processes in emerging adults: An exploratory study. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20(3), 309-345.

3. Tatum, B. D. (2000). The complexity of identity: “Who am I?”. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 2, 5-8.

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