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 Process, or AEP.
From this internal centre we can stand between the polarities of our different parts and become more conscious of the effect they have in our daily lives. Being in touch with them in this way supports our ability to choose instead of automatically react 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 an internal self system that develops 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 stay connected to our internal vulnerability even in adulthood. They keep trying to protect us in their limited ways, usually unconscious and automatic. They have no awareness that we are now grown up and in different circumstances and might not need them in the same way. When something happens that makes us feel vulnerable or insecure, we react from the protective patterns of these primary selves. This limits our ability to exercise real choice in different areas of our life, have deeply connected relationships and stay tuned into our Soul.
It also means losing access to our Disowned Selves, the parts we have forgotten or pushed aside during the development of our personality. These Selves often hold the key to being able to be more alive, energetic, creative and able to have true connection.
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 Process, we learn to separate from our Primary Selves, embrace the disowned and free our self from unconscious responses.
The importance of the Aware Ego Process
The main goal of Voice Dialogue is to increase our ability to be centred in the AEP. 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 Relationships
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 Pattern 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 AEP, 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:
Aware Ego Process
Usually we live our lives from an operating ego, where we are run by our unconscious protection patterns. Developing and ever increasing AEP we can separate from the selves we have identified with and 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, creativity, and the ability to just Be.
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 often surpasses and limits their spontaneous responses to maintain harmony within the relationship. This can make a relationship very flat, boring and predictable.
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.
“Voice Dialogue has given me a life-changing tool to understand the person I am, to embrace all parts of me, including the less attractive ones, and to provide me with choices for behaving and living”
Marieke Simmonds - Director, HD&T Institute of NZ