What Is Voice Dialogue?
The castle wall in Scotland.
— What is Voice Dialogue and what can it do for me? —
Voice Dialogue is a method used by people to find out what they personally do to get what they believe they want or need. By recognizing they have more than one way of operating in life they become aware. In that awareness, new choices can be exercised and change can be embraced.
— How does Voice dialogue work? What is the basic idea behind it? —
Voice Dialogue is based on the simple, common sense fact that each of us has many different aspects, facets or sides to our personalities.
— Do you mean like having an inner child? —
Exactly, but obviously we all have many other facets to our personality besides having a child-like aspect or an inner child. For example, you might nick-name one facet of your personality the responsible adult or the achiever or the go-getter. You could also nickname another facet of your personality the critic or the thinker or the analyzer.
— So, is it more than just having an inner child? Is it almost like we have an inner family of sub-personalities? Do we have an inner group of selves? —
Yes. For the sake of example, let us say that the many different facets of your personality are like the members of an inner family. Use whatever metaphor or colorful analogy that is real for you/that works for you. Some business people prefer to use the metaphor that every person is sort of like a senior chief executive officer/CEO. Their sub-personalities are a group of junior vice-president selves. Each self has specific tasks or a role to fulfill.
— What are these different selves in our inner family called? —
More important than the technical names that Voice Dialogue gives to these sub-personalities is the fact that you are encouraged to have fun and make up your own nicknames for what you would like to call them. We each have a creative sense about our personality. Just ask yourself, what would I call the different members of my inner family if I were to give them names? I begin to recognize a responsible adult, a controller, a critic, a beach bum, a gentle child and other parts of me that live inside.
— Exactly how does it work? Precisely what do you do? —
Essentially, Voice Dialogue is a tool for consciousness. We set out three chairs: the one in the middle is for you, the ego becoming aware, to sit in. This ego is a space in process that notices, has insights, and is becoming aware of the inner family. The two chairs on either side are for sub-personalities to sit in. When you want to let one of your sub-selves speak, you simply “move over” to the other chair to help yourself get the idea that now you are moving over mentally and emotionally to let an aspect of yourself come out and speak. A facilitator sits across from you and asks you questions and interviews the self you are experiencing. They guide you through the process. Your job is to let your achiever or critic or whatever speak out or be felt.
— Hmm. Sounds interesting. But what’s the actual value? What happens when I let myself move to another place in the room and let different members of my family speak and say what they are thinking or feeling? —
The lights start to go on. When you let your inner family speak, you quickly start to have many different insights and realizations about why you are the way you are, how you got that way. You also start to see practical ways you can allow the members of your inner family to live in harmony with you. You have a lot of ah-ha moments of seeing how you might tend to have a pattern of getting stuck in certain types of relationships and what you can do to change those old patterns.
— Well, I have to admit that sometimes I feel like the different parts of me are not getting along too well. Is that common?—
Certainly. Every honest person will admit that they occasionally feel like there’s a battle going on inside themselves between the different sides of their personality. Your achiever might be trying to get a job done and clashing with your partier who likes to kick back and relax, play and do nothing. Your critic who wants to examine everything under a microscope might be clashing with your gentle, encouraging inner parent.