What is Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue refers both to the body of work of psychologists Dr Hal Stone and Dr Sidra Stone, which includes The Psychology of Selves, and to the technique the Stones developed that enables you to dialogue with your various inner selves.
The Voice Dialogue process enhances your self-awareness and gives you access to feelings, perceptions and abilities you may have been suppressing or that have been unconscious.
It includes work with energetics, such as learning to feel when you are connecting in a personal or impersonal way, and learning about how relationships work.
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, for instance, credits it with being one of the most powerful tools she’s ever discovered, and some Buddhist teachers incorporate it into their teachings. It’s been described as bridging Eastern spirituality and Western psychology.
You might already refer to your inner selves in your everyday language, such as to your inner child, inner critic, inner perfectionist, and inner demons.
Even the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out acknowledges selves, portraying them as emotions, such as Joy, Anger and Sadness.
For information on how Voice Dialogue developed you can read Sidra Stone’s article on the origins of Voice Dialogue here.
Why Do Voice Dialogue?
- When you become aware of and listen to the different parts of yourself, and you learn about their concerns and how they influence your life experience, 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 and connection to your various selves 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 aspects of your 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 become teachers for you as you realise your judgments about others hold important lessons about yourself, and that your selves bond with the selves in other people in predictable patterns.
- Your romantic relationships will be richer and last longer if you recognise when your and your partner’s selves become stuck in bonding patterns – and when you know how to navigate those patterns before the relationship deteriorates.
- You’ll be able to handle the challenges of parenting better when you can see the selves of your child emerging as they grow and develop, and that your child’s personality and behaviours reflect your self-configuration.
- 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.
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