Self • Soul • Spirit model

This section provides a brief overview of the Self • Soul • Spirit model, which was developed by Roger Strachan and which I helped perfect. I created all the visuals and developed useful tools to make it portable and accessible. I use the model when doing one-on-one or one-on-two intensives. It's a wonderful way to embrace all of who you are.

I define how Self, Soul and Spirit are used in the model and explain a few basic concepts. For a more in-depth look, you can download the paper Roger and I co-authored a few years ago – Self • Soul • Spirit: A New Working Model for Psychology. Just click here. 

If you prefer to go right to the nitty-gritty
and take a look at what a mandala looks like, click on Mado’s mandala. Once that's done and you have a feel for the mandala, you can go on to build your own. 

Genetic predispositions

We come into the world with a set of genetic predispositions that form the basis for our personality and behavioral patterns of expression. We are the only species that do what we want to do at any given moment under any given circumstances and make up reasons, excuses, and logical constructs post facto for what we did. All other animal species do what they do, offering no explanations for their actions.

Assuming we have a choice and are not mere puppets in the hands of a supernatural being, the concepts of free will and choice are valid.
 As human beings, we direct our individual lives, taking into account our biological and universal constraints. Assuming that we follow a biological evolutionary process, we are capable of change, including mutations, genetic predispositions, learning, and all other processes underlying growth and development.

Unique identities

We are entities onto ourselves. Through our senses and other receptors, we take in many forms of information. Through assimilation and accommodation, we create a knowledge and understanding of the universe in which we live. With boundaries that define our uniqueness, each of us has a specific life force identity. No two of us are alike.

Given our unique identities, the genetic predispositions we bring into the world determine our unique interpretations of that world.
Each of us forms a world view based on the interaction between our particular genetic predispositions and life experiences.


In the model, Self is determined by an interaction between our genetic predispositions and the environmental conditions we are exposed to. Self is consciousness and all related factors of being conscious. Self comprises a complex set of parts that form a gestalt; it can have many reactions to life situations, during which one or another part may voice a thought or take action, directing us proactively or reactively.

The parts we bring into the world can be described as characteristics, traits, sub-personalities, or other terms
used to describe the conceptual framework of Self. All of us have had arguments with ourselves, where one part says one thing and the other argues against the issue. “Part of me would rather stay home; yes but the boss will be there and it will be good for our career!” You can supply many of your own conversations here.


Soul — psyche in Greek — is life force. Soul is the connection to the Universe. Soul is housed in the body. It includes all biological functions designated as the parts of Self, a composite of genetic predispositions interacting with environmental and cultural experiences. As a collective of all individual aspects that make up a person, Soul is attached to this earth. As a life force, it exhibits all material qualities as well as that little extra, that specialness, that je ne sais quoi that makes it a life force.

Soul is the gestalt of our being and therefore greater than the sum of its parts.
 Soul is the essence of our totality, the essence of our being.

Soul is unique. Just as no two selves are alike, no two Souls are alike.
Each Soul is housed and maintains its functioning within the body. Yet Soul transcends the body. Soul has creator specialness and devises purposes to pursue its creative designs. Multidimensional and not limited to sensory input, Soul is dynamic and vulnerable to many life factors.

As a consummate force of life, Soul is not involved in many of life’s mundane tasks, though it could enter into any interaction if so moved.
The Soul is creative and contemplative and seeks to find significant purposes for life choices.


Spirit represents the great mystery, the unknown force we struggle to grasp and understand; it is the universe and beyond. It exceeds current knowledge and capabilities to fathom. We intuit, conjecture, project, and create structures that define and depict the force behind the creation of the universe. Each of us on earth has the right and possibly the responsibility to create and practice our own form of spirituality. In our work with you, we incorporate whatever interpretation you choose for Spirit.

Referring to the Taoist yin-yang symbol and the Native American concept of the medicine wheel,
  the mandala was chosen to represent the operational constructs of Self, Soul and Spirit. It is used as a symbol for working with parts of Self. The term means circle, a shape representing wholeness in Sanskrit. It’s an excellent representation of our totality and the universal circle.

The Soul occupies the center while the parts of Self — the genetic characteristics we’ve brought into the world at birth — find place around the inside of the mandala.
 From moment to moment, they change places. Freud posited that there is only so much energy in the system. On any given day, one or another part or group of parts can run the show. Spirit is a personal awareness. Each of us decides where and how Spirit fits into our mandala.

Click here to see Mado’s mandala.

Click here to start building your own mandala.

If you have questions and comments, don't hesitate to call me at 928-925-7516. You can also send me an email.