The Voice Dialogue Manual, Novato, CA: New World Library, 1989.
The Voice Dialogue Manual was my companion in the two years I practiced dialoguing with my inner selves. Let us first clarify what voice dialogue actually is all about? It’s a synonym for the inner dialogue with all our inner selves.
The Voice Dialogue Manual accompanied me with valuable advice over these years; I highly appreciated its clarity and depth that gives immediate credit to the authors’ immense expertise with facilitating personal change and transformation. This is not just a technical manual that teaches a method. It’s that also, but much more. Here is how the authors introduce the book:
Voice Dialogue is not a school of psychotherapy, it is not a substitute for psychotherapy, and it is not a profession in and of itself. It is a technique for psychological exploration and for the expansion of awareness. Although it can be a highly effective tool for any psychotherapist it should be clearly understood that it is not a complete and autonomous therapeutic system./78
The authors appear to be beyond the mechanistic paradigm, radiating a true and living spirituality. One of the objectives of their unique and empathic approach to personal development and transformational change is to help people develop their unique vulnerability, their openness to the whole of life.
In my work, I have indeed become aware that vulnerability is a sort of key word, and can be set as a destination in therapy. Vulnerability is our highest virtue, it’s the daringness, the courage, the boldness to really embrace our destiny, to live fully and without anxiety or fear of life.
Coping with this fear is a process, it cannot be brought about through an instant, sudden insight but is the result of dissolving, one by one, our shields, defenses, and projections.
Now, there is one pattern that is stronger than the others and which builds most of our character armor: it’s our inner controller. The authors write:
The protector/controller is the primary energy pattern behind many other selves. For example, it will utilize the energies of the rational self and the responsible parent as a way of maintaining control over our environment. When most people use the word I, they are in fact referring to their protector/controller. For the vast majority of us, protector/controller energy is the directing agent of personality. It is what many people think of as an ego./15
The authors express some things better than any of the famed psychologists I have been reading, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. They speak of our psychic fingerprint, which is an expression that beautifully wraps around our inner clarity, and cosmic identity, when we are in the state of total awareness, when there are no defenses, when there is peace, when our inner lake is reflecting life without ripples. And beyond the scope of this book, I believe that this cosmic identity is related not to our mind, but to our emotional identity. It’s coded as a vibrational code, and it’s related to the flow nature of our emotional body, the human aura. The authors write:
The problem is, of course, that we gradually begin to lose track of our psychic fingerprint. This is a sad state of affairs, for our whole system of relationships is affected by this loss. If we are no longer in touch with those qualities that make up our unique psychic fingerprint, then it is not our deepest and most vulnerable self that is involved in relationships. Instead, it is a group if subpersonalities, watched over by the protector/controller, that determines our feelings and behavior./15
Another expression I find helpful for understanding our inner life is the notion of disowned selves. The authors write:
We can be helpless victims to the multitude of relationships in our lives that reflect our disowned selves, or we can accept the challenge of these relationships and ask: How is this person, or this situation, my teacher? Asking this question in itself represents a major shift in consciousness. A great deal of the stress in our lives results from our tendency to attract reflections of our disowned selves in our relationships, and we continue to suffer as the same patterns are repeated in our lives. Unfortunately, for most of us there is no support to learn this lesson inherent in this process. Without this support the energy of our disowned selves grows stronger and more twisted./32
Sigmund Freud was among the first psychologists who found that the etiology of neurosis is primarily sexual, or with other words, that when we repress sexual desire, we risk to become seriously ill. Later, Wilhelm Reich found that not only neurosis, but also psychosis, and especially schizophrenia are disturbances of the vital energy flow that are the result of a distortion of body perception.
The same is true for the repression of ‘negative’ emotions such as anger, hate or revengeful desires. What happens when we are conditioned to repress our hot emotions is that they will be replaced by depression. Thus, every time you would be angry at somebody, you will ‘make’ a depression.
The depression will lead you back, through dreams and intuition, to the original wound, which was inflicted upon you when you were punished, as a child, for being angry. When you go deep enough down the rabbit hole into your depression, you can trigger the therapeutic effect of remembrance!
But what we do most of the time when we are depressed is to seek distraction, else we take anti-depressants, thus avoiding the catharsis that the depression would naturally trigger. And on it goes. Every time you get angry because somebody interferes with your boundaries or lacks respect toward you, instead of using your anger as it should to put that person ‘straight’, you escape into your next depression.
Hal and Sidra Stone speak in such a case about disowning the anger energy, which is a good terminology that vividly describes the effect of the unhealthy repression of desire, which is unfortunately an integral part of our patriarchal tradition.
When natural instinctual energies such as the need for survival, sexuality, and aggression are disowned over time, they cycle back into the unconscious and go through a significant change. Energy cannot be destroyed; thus, these disowned energies begin to operate unconsciously and attract additional energy to themselves. They soon lose their natural qualities and become malevolent./32
Emotional flow is the natural positive flow of the bioenergy. Demonic and destructive energies are the result of a negative polarization, which in turn is the consequence of the repression of the original desire and its biogenic expression as ‘emotion’:
The disowning of the seven deadly sins results in a particular blend-up of instinctual energies in the unconscious that we call demonic energies. They are among the major disowned energy patterns, and as a society we pay a particularly heavy price for their negation./33
The subpersonalities also protect themselves by revealing themselves only to a facilitator who has access to a similar energy. Thus, the facilitator must be aware of and able to locate the energy pattern within himself or herself that resonates with the subject’s energy pattern./76
As an evaluation, this book clearly has merited the attribute excellent, both in its addressing the intelligent lay reader and the psychic health care professional. For both audiences, there is ample information, which is not just theory, but practical and directly applicable when actually doing the work of voice dialogue, with oneself or in a team, or else with a group, as a voice dialogue facilitator.
I may point you here to a more specific book by these authors which is about handling the inner controller—which they call the ‘Inner Critic.’ You can find the book on Amazon.
—Hal & Sidra Stone, Embracing Your Inner Critic: Turning Self-Criticism into a Creative Asset, New York: HarperOne, 1993