Voice Dialogue is a self awareness technique that uses the different aspects found within ourselves as a tool for self reflection, self understanding and to heal inner conflict.
I enjoy this sort of work and looked forward to having some time to tune in with the facilitation of another. It is always somewhat confronting to allow myself to be vulnerable, and walking into a room with that intent for my Voice Dialogue session made me slightly uneasy.
But the moment the practitioner met me at the door I relaxed. Her manner was straightforward and open, which made the situation easy to trust.
The practitioner described for me the process of Voice Dialogue. It is about creating a dialogue between the various parts of ourselves, and observing their relationship.
We often feel there are many parts of ourselves. One part may be assertive and clear, one part may be shy and removed, one part extremely judgemental.
She takes her clients through a process whereby those parts are named and explored by literally moving from one chair to another, from one part of the room to another and letting those ‘parts’ reveal themselves.
She will engage each one in by speaking with her or him and in return these ‘parts’ begin to reveal some pretty interesting insights.
I was amazed to see how these ‘parts’ or personalities began to actually appear. I could tell immediately where they sat in the room, how they held themselves and what role they played.
The practitioner would ask me who they were and where they sat, and then invite me to sit in the different places and speak as those different parts.
It was interesting to note how my voice and manner would change with each character. At times it felt exposing, but the practitioner held the space with much integrity, and the judgement would melt away.
The work was much stronger than I anticipated, but there was space to go at my own rhythm.
At some point the work went quite deep and a silence was in the room, which needless to say, brought everything into a clearer perspective.
The practitioner’s ability to bring this to her sessions is what makes the difference between a therapy session and real transformative work.
I was quite moved by what was revealed for me, and also touched that the practitioner would accompany me with such integrity.
The practitioner told me that over the years this work has moved to the point where having identified all these voices in our heads, from our past, the point is not to change anything, but rather to understand their relationship to each other, and that none of them is “you”.
If you can see them, then they cannot be “you”. And that to fight with these “voices” is not the point, rather to accept their presence, that at some point they may in fact have originated with a well meaning figure from the past who has now become more archetypical.
Rather than them taking over in different situations, the thing is to identify them and be able to consciously call them in when wanted, when their influence is appropriate.
‘Body Dialogue’ is also possible, which facilitates conversations with particular body parts.
She works in this way with people who have long term body illnesses, such as cancer, and says she is often startled by the things which are revealed, amazed at the new insights into the illness or pattern that can be gained simply by giving these parts a voice and listening.
The practitioner opens first one then another door into the subconscious, inviting into the light various sub personalities that alternately dominate the conscious.
The Judge, the Critic, the Rebel (with the cause of giving me a lively existence), all of these aspects of “my” personality got up to give a rendition of who I am.
I was quite surprised at how ‘normal’ it all sounded.
I mean I wouldn’t take that stuff from my friends, and yet listen to what these voices say, and the conflicts they create, all the time. I left the session more at ease with these seemingly conflicting parts of me.
Being conscious is really the only way anything gets resolved, and I have found that Voice Dialogue is a direct and uncomplicated way of getting to the root of issues.
Written by Mark O’Brien for the “Session of the Month’, Here & Now magazine 1999-2005
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