The Voice Dialogue System, simply known as Voice Dialogue, was developed by Hal & Sidra Stone, in the early 1970s, based on their theory of the Psychology of Selves. This theory describes how each self relates to the other in relationships, both external and internal.
We are all aware of the voices in our head - the ones vying for our attention. Well these voices are actually energetic selves, (also known as sub-personalities) that make up the “me” we think we are. Primary Selves are dominant, (such as People Pleaser, Perfectionist, Inner Critic - see below for more detail) and specialise in running our daily life, while others operate behind the scenes craving our attention (usually making themselves known when we’re under the influence of alcohol/drugs or in dreams). The challenge is to break away from our dominant selves and reclaim those aspects of our personality that have been neglected/disowned. When these energies are out of balance they mask our authentic nature. When in balance, they animate and empower our life in unique and distinctive ways.
Voice dialogue allows us to become more aware of these parts of ourselves, to get to know them more deeply. When we speak with parts of ourselves we are giving that part attention, approval, and affection - even the parts we don't like! We are not trying to fix anything or change these parts, we are accepting them as they are - with love and compassion.
These energetic selves are made up of behaviours and characteristics unique to that particular self, dependent upon experience, domestication, core beliefs, learned behaviours. We can often refer to these selves without really understanding they are separate energies – particulary the Primary Selves.
Primary selves: This is a self that is dominant in the personality and one that a person is identified with. There is an initial primary self that developed in infancy or early child hood called the protector/controller or security guard.
The typical primary cells for Westerners are: The rule maker The critic The pusher The pleaser The perfectionist
Throughout our life time, other selves come to the forefront so a primary self may be current, but might not have been one of the original primary selves.
Protector/controller: This part is the first of the primary selves to develop to protect the vulnerable child, and to control the child’s behaviour in an effort to gain whatever love and approval is available from those around the child.
Disowned selves: These are the selves that represent the opposite value structure from the primary selves. They are the selves that have had to be rejected or hidden in the growing up process.
Disowned instinctual selves: These are the selves that have been so deeply buried that they have taken on a highly charged energy. They are very threatening to the primary self. When they come out, they can cause the primary selves lots of anxiety and problems. Examples: when a normally mild-mannered person becomes violent or verbally vicious under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Acting or Operating Ego: This is an ego that is identified with the primary selves system. This identification can shift throughout one’s lifetime. Often the selves of the initial primary selves system, then become the current disowned selves! Example: You may still be identified with the original selves in the sense of having attitudes like “Keep a smile on your face” “ Don’t let anyone see you crying” “Be strong” “ Make sure everyone likes you”
You may go through a personal growth/ recovery program/ therapy and become identified with a new set of attitudes and values. “let it all go”
Aware Ego (sub-conscious): There is an ego that can exist separately from the selves we have identified with and can acknowledge those selves which we have disowned. It is an ego that can hold the tension of opposites. This is a hallmark in the process of individualisation and the evolution of consciousness.
Voice dialogue is a great tool for exploring consciousness work.
It's basically a feeling tone process that: - is accepting, honouring, respectful and nonjudgmental - is never pattern or logic orientated - explores with interest, even fascination, and is open to all possibilities.
‘Each person’s selves are treated as unique. There is no emphasis upon uniformity, and there is no attempt to fit the selves into preconceived categories.’ Sidra Stone
'Selves or parts are constantly operating in everyone....they are the energy systems that experience life. Voice dialogue gives us a chance to objectify them, to recognise them, to name them, to understand and work with them creatively. When we use Voice Dialogue, we are becoming sensitive to the dramas played out by the selves.’ Hal Stone
Once you start honouring and welcoming all of the parts of you - especially the ones you don't like - a balance, acceptance and natural healing takes place.
If this has piqued your interest, then read on :
It is recommended to start with 6 sessions:
first three sessions to get to know your Primary Selves System (Protector/Controller and Primary Selves)
the next three sessions to unearth and get familiar with the disowned selves.
Because this is experiential and we are all different, you may wish to stay longer exploring the Primary Selves or alternatively, Disowned Selves may want to speak up sooner. In addition to the facilitation sessions, I will explain ways in which you can work with the selves between sessions. You may also wish to take more than a week to be with, and notice, the newly recognised selves and this is fine too. The only guidance is to complete the second set of three sessions within 6 months of the first.
The sessions last 1-1.5 hours @ £45.00 per session if you pay up-front I can offer 6 sessions for the price of 5 - £225