Voice Dialogue is based on the idea that we are made up of a whole family of internal Selves. By providing a safe way to experience these various parts, Voice Dialogue helps us to access and develop what is called the Aware Ego. From this internal centre we can sit between the polarities of our different parts, becoming more conscious of the affect they have in our daily lives. Being in touch with them in this way supports our ability to choose, instead of automatically reacting from our habitual set of sub personalities.
Sub Personalities: what are they and how do they affect us?
Sub personalities is a psychological term for our internal selves or parts, which develop in the course of our socialisation. Born very vulnerable, we develop strategies to adapt to our environment. Different parts emerge helping us survive and function within our ever changing circumstances. These often dominant Primary Selves are interested in controlling and protecting us. When something happens that makes us feel vulnerable or insecure, we react from the protective patterns of our primary selves. This limits our ability to exercise real choice in the different areas of our life. It also means losing access to our Disowned Selves, the parts we have forgotten or pushed aside during the development of our personality.
How does Voice Dialogue work with sub personalities?
Voice Dialogue approaches our different selves as if each is a real person with unique feelings, thoughts, energetics and physical sensations. By having a dialogue with them individually during a session we can experience directly how they operate in our daily lives. We also begin to understand that our personality can be complex, diverse and full of contradictions. Developing an Aware Ego, we learn to separate from our Primary Selves, embrace the disowned and free our self from unconscious responses.
The importance of the Aware Ego
The main goal of Voice Dialogue is to increase our ability to be centred in the Aware Ego. Standing between polarities we are less identified with learned and automatic patterns. Not being attached to any particular way of behaving, we remain in touch with our many different selves and can use their gifts and skills appropriately. This help us navigate our life and relationships effectively and with real choice.
Voice Dialogue and relationship
One of the reasons most of us are in committed relationships is because we seek real intimacy. To achieve this we need to be able to access and share our vulnerability. This is often easier in the beginning of a relationship. Within the safety of the initial honeymoon, we tend to loosen our usual protective patterns and expectations. We operate within a Positive Bonding Pattern, unconsciously taking care of each other’s vulnerability. In some cases this positive bonding becomes the main focus within the relationship, limiting both individuals.
Often though we move into a Negative Bonding Pattern, reacting defensively to protect ourselves. This is especially the case when our partner is very different from us, carrying our disowned selves. Being attracted to these differences initially, we frequently react to them over time with fear and judgment. Polarising against our partner, we make them responsible for our difficulties and try to change them. This takes away the energy and focus needed to look at our own unconscious reactions and make changes.
Voice Dialogue supports us to learn about these bonding patterns and develop tools to change our shared dance of Selves. From the Aware Ego, each partner has a wide range of options to be with the other. Relationship now becomes a path to consciousness.
Voice Dialogue and dreams
Dreams are messages emerging directly from the unconscious. Instead of interpreting dreams intellectually, Voice Dialogue helps us approach each image as a part of our self. This gives us the opportunity to experience the unique meaning of each image directly. In this way, dreams can support the consciousness process, providing us with profound and relevant insights that reflect our waking life.
Voice Dialogue and the body
Just like dreams give us messages about processes in our unconscious, our body can give us information we don’t usually access. By dialoguing with parts of the body, physical sensations or an illness, we can discover new pathways to healing from the inside out.
Glossary of terms
Usually we live our lives from an operating ego, where we are run by our unconscious protection patterns. An Aware Ego can exist separately from the selves we have identified with and can acknowledge those selves we have disowned.
We closely identify with these parts which dominate our life. The main focus of the Primary Selves is to protect an control us. They often form a group of selves, the primary self system, and include parts like the rule maker, pusher, perfectionist, critic and pleaser.
These parts contain opposite values to the primary self system and were rejected in the growing-up process. They often include the vulnerable child, aggression, playfulness, self caring and beingness.
Positive Bonding Pattern
The energetic connection between two people that feels good, each person unconsciously taking care of the other without being in touch with contrary feelings. In order to be in a positive bonding pattern, each partner has to suppress and limit their spontaneous responses to maintain harmony within the relationship.
Negative Bonding Pattern
To protect their vulnerability, partners polarise against each other’s differences. They become locked in a negative reaction pattern. Relationship becomes a battlefield, where the vulnerability disappears and both partners are unconsciously dominated by their primary self system.