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Voice dialogue is a type of therapy that allows an individual to explore different facets of his or her personality, known as other selves. The premise of the therapy states that each person has a number of different selves within, which work together to create the whole. This is where inner conflict and inner dialogue comes from; voice dialogue is guided by a facilitator who helps the individual discover those other voices.
The inner selves that voice dialogue seeks to discover are other parts of an individual's personality. These parts may or may not be acknowledged in the person's outward personality, but may instead be deeply buried. They may consist of an inner self that desires to be more driven than other parts of the personality allow for, or may include a selfish side repressed by a generous personality. Acknowledging and developing these facets can create a healthier, more well-rounded personality, according to adherents.
The main personality is referred to as the aware ego. This part of the personality often caters to the desires of the other selves without the individual knowing that it is doing so. As the main personality becomes aware of other driving but hidden facets of selves beneath, it can often embrace other parts of the personality. An outwardly driven worker may learn to relax, a stern boss may learn to connect with employees on a personal level, or an immature individual may learn how to handle responsibility. Part of the other selves is often made up of the voices of authority figures from the past, including parents.
In a voice dialogue therapy session, a facilitator attempts to connect with the hidden selves and buried pieces of the individual's personality. By asking a series of questions and going down different routes of conversation depending on the individual's answers, the facilitator helps to unlock different parts of the personalities and allow the individual to realize the potential that already exists within. This can also help an individual relate to others on an entirely different basis, as well as to discover his or her own potential.
The voice dialogue theory was developed by psychologists Hal and Sidra Stone in the 1970s. The process of using a facilitator to develop and become aware of hidden selves can be used in a number of different ways, including to develop stronger personal relationships, improve the relationship between a couple, find the strength to overcome addiction, loss, or a personal tragedy, or as one of a number of ways to enrich a healthy lifestyle. In some cases, working with an individual's dreams can also help reveal secrets about the inner self.