What is Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue is a potent, playful, liberating parts work method. It was developed in the early ‘70s by Hal Stone, P.h.D and Sidra Stone, P.h.D, psychotherapists with training in Jungian and Gestalt approaches. It has been used by hundreds of therapists, coaches and spiritual teachers to facilitate consciousness growth. I was introduced to Voice Dialogue in 2003 by Hogen Bays, Roshi and Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi, both of whom studied directly with Hal and Sidra Stone. It has been the most transformative practice in my life, aside from meditation.
The essence of Voice Dialogue is to develop the capacity to welcome, understand and include the whole of yourself. The basic understanding of Voice Dialogue is that we contain a multitude of selves or ‘voices’. These selves are distinct ways of seeing and being. They think and feel differently. Some of them we know very well, and take to be who we are, and some we don’t know so well. Often we are afraid of or embarrassed of these lesser known selves, or we just don’t think of them as safe or lovable enough to allow into the light. Some examples of selves are the Inner Critic, the Socialite, the Teacher, the Innocent Child, etc.
None of the selves are the 'one true self'. Consider that your body, heart and mind are a vessel for the myriad energies of the world to animate. Some animate us more than others. Some we wish would animate us more! With voice dialogue work, we shift our perspective. If I don’t take as ‘me’ any particular self, it opens a fluid ability to move in and out of selves–to access their energy and dance with selves as roles that arise through me. In this dance, we access the delicious space of non-attachment, where we can welcome but not get stuck in any particular self and its perspectives or habit patterns.
What Happens In a Voice Dialogue Session?
In a Voice Dialogue session, after a check-in about what’s up in your life, the facilitator guides you into one of the selves you would like to work with. You physically move a foot or two to the side to embody the coming into a different part of yourself. The facilitator holds a space of openness and curiosity for the self, asking questions that help draw out a deep understanding of its concerns, motivations and role in your life. The facilitator also is working with energetic linkage--- making a felt connection with you and with each of the selves and their distinct tone. This lets the self feel met, safe, and understood. After the self is finished speaking, you are guided back to the central position. From this central place, we reflect on that self we just spoke to and share insights about any discoveries. This movement from a self and back to the center is the heart of developing the 'Aware Ego'--- a capacity of awareness to embrace all of our parts but not identify with any one of them as ‘me’. Typically in a session, we facilitate at least two selves, often a pair of opposites. For example, the part of you that thrives on being busy and then the part of you that enjoys just being.
How is Voice Dialogue Transformative?
There are three essential sites of transformation in Voice Dialogue parts work. The first is an increasing awareness of the selves that are primary and central in our daily lives. We learn to listen and understand their perspectives, motivations, needs and gifts. The second is an increasing awareness of those selves that are an important and influential part of our inner world, though for various reasons they aren’t given much space to have their say. Often these selves have a sensitivity and vulnerability that makes giving them space ‘inconvenient’ in everyday life. Through facilitation, they are given space and listening, and thus healing. The third, and most essential, place of transformation is the development of Aware Ego. Aware Ego is an ability to include all the parts of our selves with balance and spaciousness. Voice Dialogue parts work is also a powerful approach to shadow work as we open to what we don't see or don't want to see about how we show up in the world.
Voice Dialogue needs to be experienced directly. It’s an embodied, energetic, felt reality. I offer a free consult and a short initial experience of voice dialogue so you can see if it is a good fit for you. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to schedule a consult or session.
Open Reciprocity Pricing
Sliding Scale $50 - 150
per 90 min session
To make this work available to anyone with a desire for transformation, please pay what is appropriate for your financial situation. The sliding scale allows those with greater financial capacity to support those with more need. This open reciprocity model is based on generosity and honors the exchange of energy between us, supports awareness work in the world, and allows this work to be accessible to more individuals.