A Basement Full of Wild Animals

Hal and Sidra Stone, two psychologists, are the founders of the Voice Dialogue method and the ‘psychology of selves’. It is not therapy but a form of dialogue that acknowledges that we have ‘primary selves’, the parts of ourselves that we know well and deploy, ‘disowned selves’, which we suppress, deny, and avoid, and ‘undeveloped selves’, which have not flourished. By giving these sub-personalities a stage, we become aware of their energy and informational potential and they lose their destructive power over our physical and mental health.

The Stones have endlessly fascinating anecdotes. For instance, a woman with severe abdominal pain, which completely dominated her life, came to their practice. Investigations and hospital admissions provided no relief. This woman had an out of control ‘pusher’, always busy, on the move, and with a packed schedule. In Voice Dialogue, this pusher, so familiar to the woman, is called a ‘primary self’. These aspects were fully expressed by giving the pusher time to speak.

Next, the Stones invited her to speak with the proverbial opposite, a ‘disowned self’. In this woman’s case, it was the self that is used to sitting relaxed and doing absolutely nothing. To everyone’s surprise, the abdominal pain, which had plagued the woman 24/7 for three years, completely disappeared. When the woman returned to the role of the pusher, the pain immediately returned. The opportunity to simply be and relax had not previously entered her consciousness and offered her a direct experience that this could restore balance in her life and lead to healing.

Each sub-personality has a completely different psychophysiological reality than another. Someone who stutters might have another sub-personality that does not stutter. Some ‘selves’ experience headaches and migraines, others do not. When the disowned selves are given a voice, the symptoms often disappear, and when the primary selves return, the symptoms also come back.

One of the primary selves that Hal and Sidra often saw in women with breast cancer is a very responsible mother who has cared for everyone since she was very young, sometimes from the age of four. Many women with breast cancer who eventually had one or both breasts amputated felt that this event marked the end of their primary self that had to care for everyone. ‘I have done enough for everyone, now it’s time to take care of myself,’ they literally said. Hal and Sidra are cautious in concluding that the primary self is responsible for the cancer but have seen countless examples in their practice of people, for instance, with a strong pusher as a primary self who developed heart problems or a powerful perfectionist who often had migraines.

Emotional and feeling blockages have a strong disruptive effect on the body. When suppressed, a primary self that must keep everything under control develops, fearful that these sub-personalities will break out. These increase the pressure to maintain the status quo and prevent the disowned selves that want to be heard from surfacing. This stress depletes the adrenal glands and many other bodily functions. Hal and Sidra see a compelling causal link between these suppression patterns in relation to burn-out and other health complaints. You literally deplete your physiology by suppressing the disowned selves that have no right to exist. Every disowned self has unique energy and information for us that wants to be integrated into our conscious personality.

Dreams play a significant role in Voice Dialogue as a dance of the different selves. They sketch a picture of what is in balance and what is out of balance. The images in dreams range from everyday reality to infinitely deep archetypal and mythical representations of the different realities in which we exist as multidimensional beings. Stone has seen over the years that many people who disown, deny, or suppress their primary and instinctive parts receive dreams alerting them to this. Not as something good or bad but to show what is out of balance.

A striking example of this was a spiritual woman who dreamed of a cellar full of tigers, lions, and panthers that had fallen asleep because they were listening to the spiritual new-age music playing in the cellar. The connection that Voice Dialogue makes here is that people who want to be exclusively conscious and loving are disowning an essential part of themselves, namely the ability to meet life, growl, make your voice heard, be assertive, and think of yourself. ‘People who do this define consciousness as being loving but consciousness is not just being loving, it means being everything,’ says Stone. So if being loving and unconditionally loving becomes your goal, at the same time your instinctive selves are sidelined.

Just like energy clearing, Voice Dialogue is a safe way to make the veiling of the unconscious and subconscious conscious again and integrate it. Its strength lies in that we can experience all aspects of what it means to be human, and by making them conscious and no longer rejecting them, give them their natural place in our existence. It enables us to view and experience our lives through the lens of unity and inclusion, which can lead to nothing other than healing.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.