What is Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue refers to both the body of work of psychologists Drs Hal and Sidra Stone, which includes the theory of inner selves known as The Psychology of Selves, and also to the technique that’s a part of this work and that allows us to dialogue with our various selves.
Many self-development teachers and psychotherapeutic systems have been influenced by The Psychology of Selves and use aspects of it in their own work. Shakti Gawain credits it with being one of the most powerful tools she’s ever discovered and some Buddhist teachers incorporate it into their work. It’s been described as bridging Eastern spirituality and Western psychology.
Many of us refer to inner selves in our everyday language, for example we talk about our inner child, inner critic, and inner demons. Even the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out refers to selves, portraying them as emotions, such as Joy, Anger and Sadness.
There are many selves that inhabit our psyches and that can be dialogued with, including the Pleaser, Perfectionist, Responsible Parent, Achiever, Warrior, Worrier, Romantic, Spiritual Seeker, Procrastinator, Joker, Adventurer, Princess, Creative, Playful Child, Rebel, Patriarch, the Wise self, and the Vulnerable Inner Child.
For information on how Voice Dialogue developed you can read Sidra Stone’s article on the origins of Voice Dialogue here.
What Will Voice Dialogue Do For You?
- When you become aware of and listen to the different parts of you, and you learn about their concerns and how they influence you, you gain a deeper insight into your behaviour, feelings and life choices.
- You start to realise which selves are running your life – including your relationships, career choices and goals in general – and which selves do not get much say.
- As your awareness of the various selves within you grows, you develop the ability to make increasingly conscious choices, rather than acting – or reacting – from habit.
- This process of growing awareness and of embracing often very opposite selves within your own psyche develops a more centred and inclusive sense of who you are.
- You become more aware of all the aspects of your humanity, be they spiritual, instinctual, materially-focused, service-oriented, emotional, rational, parental, or childlike.
- Your relationships transform as you realise that your judgements about others hold important lessons about yourself, and that your selves bond with the selves in other people in predictable patterns.
- You learn to use the energies the selves hold appropriately, such as warm, personal energy and cool, impersonal energy, and you can more easily set healthy boundaries and manage how you connect with others.
What emerges when dialoguing and connecting with selves is what Hal and Sidra Stone have called the Aware Ego Process. This is when you become aware of a self operating in your psyche and can unhook from it. It is with an Aware Ego that you can access other selves – often opposites – and embrace both. It is a process of freeing oneself from being stuck in one or one group of selves that have taken over who we are and how we live our lives.