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Understanding Self through "Dual Self-Portrait"

We all wear masks in our daily life. There is only a certain part of us that the outer world sees. We have different aspects of ourselves which we do not express to others be it our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and value system. And there is nothing wrong with this. Problems arise only when the gap between our outer world and inner world widens, causing us to do things that we don't believe in which can lead to emotional distress and burn out.

Here is an art therapy activity which helps us to reflect and explore different aspects of ourselves. It helps us to think about who we are on the inside and how we project ourselves to the outer world.

This activity of drawing "Dual Self Portrait" helps us to build awareness of our true self, keep a tab on our goals, check in for discrepancies between our inner and outer self, be open to embrace the whole of who we are.

Materials Needed:

Paper, pencil and color pencils or sketch pens


  • Draw a face to represent yourself.

  • Divide the face into half. One half will represent your inner self while the other half will represent your outer self.

  • Using colors/ illustration/ symbols decorate the outer self part to demonstrate how you think others see you. How do other people experience you? What do people see you are interested in?

  • Similarly, fill up the inner self part to demonstrate your inner thoughts, emotions, fears, joy, dreams etc

Once done, take a fresh piece of paper and write down your reflections guided by the following questions?

  • How different is you inner self from your outer self?

  • Do they reflect each other or combat each other?

  • What would you change about or add to your outer self, if anything?

  • What would you change about or add to your inner self, if anything?

This activity can be practised with teens and adults. It can elicit strong emotions and can provide a platform to start understanding ourselves as a whole, set goals and develop emotional intelligence.


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