What is Voice Dialogue?

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You are not what you appear to be. You are much, much more than what you seem.

“Voice Dialogue” is a shorthand term used to describe Drs. Hal and Sidra Stones’ empowering system of psycho-spiritual philosophy, techniques, and processes called Voice Dialogue, the Psychology of Selves, and the Aware Ego Process.

“Each of us “contains multitudes”. We are made up of many selves, identifying with some and rejecting others. This over-identification with some selves and the loss of wholeness that comes from the rejection of others, can create imbalances and blind spots. This work is about embracing all the selves. This dance of the selves is an amazing process and we see the dynamics of the world around us shift as our internal world changes.”

– Dr’s. Hal and Sidra Stone, Co-creators of Voice Dialogue

The Psychology of Selves is based on the premise that, rather than being a single entity, humans are made up of many inner parts or sub-personalities. You have an inner family just as you have an external family. Each of these distinct inner selves is developed for a purpose, and has a unique perspective, agenda, and worldview. Those inner parts or selves that helped you survive childhood, protected your sensitivity and deepest feelings, and were often supported by your family, school, church, and culture, are called Primary Selves.

Generally when you say, “I”, you are referring a group of Primary Selves. Some examples of this identification are: “I am a good, caring person.” “I am very responsible, and work hard to do things the right way.” “I love to hang out, let go, and go inside myself.” “I’m independent and self-sufficient.” “I am rational and logical in my approach to life.”

Your Primary Selves determine how you behave in order to prevent your sensitive, vulnerable child self from being hurt too much, or from experiencing too much pain. They are largely responsible for your success in this world. Learning about your Primary Selves is a huge first step in understanding why you act and react the way you do. However, they are not the whole picture. For every Primary Self you developed, you had to bury or repress an opposite part. These buried aspects are called Disowned Selves. If you had to please your parents in order to get their love, attention, or avoid abuse; then you couldn’t afford to be displeasing, “selfish”, or rebellious. These behaviors meant trouble. If your father expected you to be a strong, rational, successful young man/woman; you had to bury the parts of you that felt fear and not confident, reacted emotionally or intuitively to life’s challenges, or were not concerned about constantly achieving for others’ approval.

At some point in your life, you become aware that something is missing; that there must be more to life than what you are experiencing. That is a call to discover more of who you are; to begin to appreciate and put to use the skills, beliefs, and talents of  your Disowned Selves . This is a vital part of personal growth and the drive to wholeness that is inherent in all human beings.

Voice Dialogue is a simple, structured method that guides you into direct communication with your Primary and Disowned Selves. Through honoring and understanding the Primary Selves, Voice Dialogue gently and respectfully opens the door to your Disowned Selves. There you discover great gifts of energy, passion, and creativity. You claim lost talents, emotions, and authenticity. The truth is you need access to both your Primary and Disowned Selves to be whole and truly fulfilled; and to have genuine choice as to how you respond to life’s challenges and cross-roads.

In the process of Voice Dialogue, you separate from your Inner Selves and become Aware of these different parts and how they influence your life. This Awareness is a huge leap forward. This is the objective witness perspective that is often nurtured in meditation. Awareness notices and names the various selves as they emerge; or as they call to you from the dark territory of your psyche (also known as the Unconscious or Shadow).

This developing Awareness (the objective witness) helps you separate and detach from your many Inner Selves. This state alone doesn’t interact with the Selves or moderate them in any way. The Selves still take over and live your life for you. What is needed is another level of perception that brings the ability to make conscious choices in life rather than behaving in automatic and habitual ways. This key contribution of Voice Dialogue is called The Aware Ego Process.

This Aware Ego Process understands and respects both the Primary and Disowned Selves; and becomes a master of holding the tension of these opposite selves within. The Aware Ego is a growing ability to have choice when making decisions, to see both sides of an issue and to behave with greater awareness and consciousness.

“The Aware Ego is not a thing; it is a process. It is an energy in the psyche that moves us towards change. It is constantly requiring of us that you separate from these unconscious selves and learn to use them in new ways. It gets stronger as you separate from more of your primary (self) systems and learn to become aware of and experience your disowned self systems. It ultimately gives us the ability to stand between opposites and live with this tension so that new possibilities can begin to emerge from the deeper – and wiser – parts of your psyche.”

– Dr’s. Hal and Sidra Stone

As you have choice about which inner self or selves will be the most effective and authentic in any situation, you also develop more choice about your actions and responses in relationships. Your primary relationships become less harmful, more alive, more equal, and much more loving and intimate. Your relationships at work become more collaborative, less triggering, more productive and creative.

Essentially, Voice Dialogue gives you the capacity to manage your multifaceted inner and outer worlds in such a way that you grow and thrive. Voice Dialogue gives you back your lost talents and skills, while it gives you the ability to make conscious choices in your life. Voice Dialogue supports the resolution of conflicts and life issues, expands consciousness, and gives you the skills to realize your complete potential.

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