Relativity by M. C. Escher
Relativity by M. C. Escher

What is Voice Dialogue?

Voice Dialogue is a conversation between you and another part of yourself. It is an important tool for getting to know the variety of memories, attitudes, opinions, fears, needs and preferences that reside in you. I work with two distinct groups of voices. One is your ego-based (ordinary) self at different ages in your life. The other is your body, and each part of your body can be given its own voice to let us know how it is feeling and what it needs.

It was in Glastonbury (UK) in the 1980’s that I first became aware of the concept of our “inner collective”. This concept refers to the different aspects of ourselves that live within us. They are sometimes referred to as ‘sub-personalities’ and they all have things to tell us. Unfortunately most of us are unaware of this multiplicity of selves and the mental health professions at their inception did us no favours by indicating that if you were aware of more than one self you were very likely mentally ill and potentially delusional and dangerous.

It has only been since innovative work began on cancer treatment that accessing buried memories or hidden beliefs has been recognised as emotionally liberating and heath-supporting. This knowledge is held in both your consciousness and in your somatic self which is why I work with both you conscious self and your body.

How can we use Voice Dialogue in our work together?

In the course of counselling we often become aware that there are key points in your past or challenges in the present that seem to hold a significant ‘charge’. Inviting the relevant self or body sensation to speak with us can be helpful in revealing what the core issues are and what is needed for resolution. Using a combination of relaxation, Gestalt and other techniques we invite this other aspect of your awareness to take their own seat and to give us their opinions, memories and feelings about whatever issue we are working on in counselling. I speak with the sub-personality using the non-violent communication formula and other skills and you listen respectfully. After the conversation, we review what the sub-personality has told us and you decide to what extent you are willing to meet the needs that they expressed.

Any particularly challenging issue in the therapeutic process can warrant a conversation with your self of a previous era of your life, or with a particular part of your body. Relationship challenges, workplace issues and health questions can all be clarified using Voice Dialogue. This intelligence can be a valuable resource in our quest for self-knowledge and self-realisation.