Many years ago I drove our maroon Buick south through green forested highways, south through industrial Green Bay, further south past the mall in Appleton, Wisconsin. I became hopelessly entangled in a web of Milwaukee streets and shivered in neighborhoods where teenage boys huddled in groups, eyeing wary passersby. Later, I lunched by Lake Michigan, sipping tea and munching dainty sandwiches.
Almost ten hours after leaving our Little House in the Big Upper Peninsula woods, the car emerged in a Chicago suburb. I checked into one of those fancy hotels and prepared to attend a very fascinating weekend workshop.
What, you eager readers ask, is Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue is a technique created by psychotherapists Hal and Sidra Stone. It suggests that we all have many inner selves, and models how the selves develop and interact with themselves in relationships.
(Yes, dear reader, we are all Multiple Personalities. In a good way.)
The Psychology of the Selves contains many facets, including an Aware Ego that lies between a primary self and its opposite disowned self. (No yawning! There will be a quiz!)
Voice Dialogue is a technique for getting in touch with all parts of ourselves, allowing us to integrate in a healthy way.
I had devoured the book “Embracing Our Selves: The Voice Dialogue Manual” and felt eager to learn more.
We all define ourselves. We label ourselves as shy, outgoing, perfectionist, vulnerable, controlling, easy-going, critical, powerful (you add your own definition, please. Don’t be reluctant.)
Draw a big circle. Write what you are inside the circle.
Now, write the opposite of what you are outside the circle.
Let’s say you think you are an optimist.
Outside the circle, write the word “pessimist”.
The pessimist, that which you say you aren’t, is a disowned self.
Disowned selves sometimes create havoc in the psyche, and Voice Dialogue helps one get in touch with disowned energies.
One states inner confusions and then allows the voices of the selves to offer opinions and solutions.
Yesterday I told you I was a people pleaser and overly sensitive for my own good.
Voice Dialogue urges us to look at the opposite and see if it is equally true.
Is there a part of self that is NOT a people pleaser? Is NOT sensitive?
Yes, dear reader, there is a huge part of Kathy who is completely detached to what people think of her. She is going to do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants. She is fiercely independent and could live in the woods with very little human contact. She doesn’t care much about the opinion of others.
(She couldn’t believe the audacity of that blog yesterday. She was appalled. She’s still glaring.)
When you first start doing Voice Dialogue, you might be unaware that both parts of you exist. You start getting in touch with neglected parts of the self. And you dialogue, dialogue, dialogue to discover ways which nurture ALL parts of your precious self.
(You might also start getting in touch with the part of you which witnesses the seemingly opposite selves, but that’s another story for another day.)
One of my favorite things to say: “I am unpredictable.”
OK, Kathy, is this 100% true? What ways are you predictable?
Umm, well, I have been married to the same guy for almost 34 years. Have lived in the same house for almost 30 years. Have worked in the same two part-time jobs for over a quarter century.
C’mon, Kathy, so how unpredictable are you?
(Are you getting how this works, dear reader?)
Please feel free to play with talking to the disowned sides of yourselves. Invite yourself to tea and get to know who you thought you weren’t. I swear it will be instructive!
P.S. Wanting to thank Sara over at Auntie B’s Wax for the Versatile Blogger Award today! Aren’t you sweet, Sara! I do so appreciate it…and always enjoy visiting your blog, too.
P.S.S. The way Voice Dialogue might respond: How am I NOT versatile? Are there any non-versatile parts that want to stage a protest? Are we all OK with this award?
Thank you again, Sara. **grin**
Quiz: Can you embrace your amazing versatile selves? Or at least allow them to exist, give them voice and expression?