We are all raised in cultures and families where we are trained to think, feel, and see in specific, predetermined ways. This is our “reality.” The Voice Dialogue method is a powerful technique that allows you to discover, give voice to, and reclaim the wealth of your unexplored selves.
While the psychology of selves is as old as Freud’s concepts of id, ego, and superego, the Voice Dialogue method is a relatively new technique for physically and energetically separating the selves out from the ego.
Developed by Dr. Hal Stone and his wife Dr. Sidra Stone, it is a blending of a number of different therapeutic systems: Gestalt, Jungian, Psychosynthesis, T.A., and psychodrama.
Some crucial differences are that in Voice Dialogue:
The selves talk directly to the facilitator, not to each other
Sessions are process oriented rather than resolution oriented
The ultimate goal is the development of an Aware Ego, meaning one is no longer overly identified with certain selves, and split from others. This is an ego that embraces all the selves.
The Voice Dialogue method introduces you to your inner family, the voices or sub-personalities that live within you.
Examples of inner voices:
“I know that smoking is killing me, but a part of me wants to keep smoking.”
“I’m so strong and confident at work yet at home I’m like a little kid that can’t think for herself.”
“I need to end my relationship with Sally but when she wants to see me I can’t say no.”
“I’d give anything to lose fifty pounds yet I keep stuffing myself."
Voice Dialogue allows us to become aware of our different sub-personalities and thereby live more in harmony with others and ourselves.
"Life becomes a journey, an adventure into unknown waters. Adversaries, conflict and illness become teachers. Sleep becomes a time of magical exploration. Relationships transform."
– Hal Stone, Ph.D.
A powerful adjunct to the Voice Dialogue process is Dreamwork. For most of us in the material world, the stuff of dreams is considered less “real” and relevant than what we perceive as real during our waking hours. This is due in large part to our not “hearing” what are dreams are telling us because we are not familiar with the language of dreams and, therefore, not particularly interested in taking the time to pay attention to them.
Dreams are an expression of our unconscious mind, unedited by the filters of our dominant selves operating in the waking state, so when we ignore them we are missing out on a wealth of knowledge of who we are. We can compare our conscious minds to the surface of the ocean, and the unconscious mind as everything beneath the surface. As long as we are unwilling to dive beneath the surface-level-thinking mind, we remain subject to our fears (conscious or subconscious) of the unknown “below,” and miss out on the inspiring, creative and empowering revelations stored within our individual and collective psyche.
Dreamwork allows us to cultivate the capacity to remember, record, analyse, and interpret the profoundly brilliant language of our unconscious psyche. Dreamwork is a relatively simple yet powerful and inspiring tool for self-knowledge. When coupled with the vehicle of Voice Dialogue, it expands our “reality” far beyond the limits of our habitual and familiar persona, or “selves”.
“What a fascinating experience it was to become acquainted with many of my inner voices through facilitated, non-judgemental Voice Dialogue, discussion and dream analysis. Since my last session about 2 months ago, I continue to grow by exploring my inner voices and analyzing my dreams … in fact, I actually came face to face with a couple of my inner voices in my dreams – physically embracing my delicate inner child in a public place and fearlessly standing up to my inner critic only to learn that he’s way more approachable than I ever thought ! Life is an incredible journey and through my sessions with Daryl, he has provided me with some very useful skills to assist me in my efforts to better understand myself. Awesome!”
SARAH RUSSEL / MUSIC TEACHER
The Roar of Awakening
Once upon a time there was a tigress who was about to give birth. One day when she was out hunting she came upon a herd of goats. She gave chase, and even in her condition, managed to kill one of them, but the stress of the chase forced her into labour, and she died as she gave birth to a male cub. The goats, who had run away, returned when they sensed that the danger was over. Approaching the dead tigress, they discovered the newborn cub and adopted him into their herd.
The tiger cub grew up among the goats believing he, too, was a goat. He bleated as well as he could, he smelled like a goat, and ate only vegetation; in every respect he behaved like a goat. Yet within him beat the heart of a tiger. All went well until the day that an older tiger approached the goat herd and attacked and killed one of the goats. The rest of the goats ran away as soon as they saw the old tiger, but our tiger/goat saw no reason to run away, of course, as he sensed no danger. The old tiger did not know what to make of this full-grown tiger who smelled like a goat, bleated like a goat, and in every other way acted like a goat. Not particularly sympathetic, the old tiger grabbed the young one by the scruff of the neck, dragged him to a nearby creek, and showed him his reflection in the water. But the young one was unimpressed with his own reflection; it meant nothing to him and he failed to see his similarity to the old tiger.
Frustrated by his lack of comprehension, the old tiger dragged the young one back to the place where he had made his kill. There he ripped a piece of meat from the dead goat and shoved it into the mouth of our young friend. We can well imagine the young tiger’s shock and consternation. At first he gagged and tried spitting out the raw flesh, but the old tiger was determined to show the young one who he was, so he made sure the cub swallowed this new food, and this time there was a change. Our young tiger now allowed himself to taste the raw flesh and the warm blood, and he ate this piece with gusto. When he finished chewing, the young tiger stretched, and then for the first time in his young life, he let out a powerful roar – the roar of a jungle cat. Then the two tigers disappeared together into the forest.
Heinrich Zimmer tells this story in the opening of his book, The Philosophy of India, and calls the young tiger’s roar the “roar of awakening”. This “roar of awakening” is the discovery that we are more than we think we are. It is the discovery that we have taken on identities that incorrectly or inadequately express our essential being. It is as though we awaken from the dream, look around, and become aware of a totally different reality.
* Excerpted and adapted from the prologue of Embracing Ourselves: The Voice Dialogue Manual by Hal & Sidra Stone, 1989.