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Voice Dialogue - Inner Self Awareness

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Eric and Lyn are both experienced with the voice dialogue process but until now they have only used it to facilitate fairly safe selves or deal with relatively safe issues.

Tonight however Eric  is facilitating Lyn, hoping that the voice dialogue process will unlock her inhibitions about being more adventurous in bed. He is trying as hard as he can to remain in the neutral uninvolved facilitator mode, but his agenda about Lyn’s inhibitions is likely to be a problem for two reasons.

Firstly, his own adventurous sexual selves are going to want to get in on the act and ‘help’ things along. Secondly, Lyn’s selves will be suspicious about Eric’s motives and will be watching him closely to see just how neutral he really as  he need to be if he is to suceed as a facilitator.

By the way, if Eric had a strong enough aware grown-up or adult side he could be quite successful facilitating Lyn’s ‘inhibited’ selves, in a way that would seem totally non-controlling. If Lyn also had a strong enough aware grown-up adult the outcome would probably be greater intimacy and better sex between them.

Let’s assume however that neither Eric nor Lyn have reached this level. That’s when the following dialogue is more likely to take place.

Eric: Talking to Lyn’s ‘inhibited’ or ‘shy’ self:

‘I wonder why you are always so shy?’

Lyn’s Justifier or defence lawyer self: (stepping in to protect the one-below shy self):

Because Eric is so unromantic and pushy. All he is interested in bed is doing what  he wants. That’s why the shy self doesn’t feel confident around him.’

You will notice that the voice is not saying ‘ I am the self that ....’ as you would expect. This alerts you to the presence of the explainer, who has stepped in to tell you about another self, rather than have you dialogue with that self face to face.

The typical justifier also specialises in presenting forceful and rational arguments to weaken the position of the other person’s selves. In the case of Lyn and Eric, that also reduces the chances of any dialogue with the shy self. This takes Lyn further away from the vulnerability involved in being open and intimate. The justifier defence lawyer has stopped her shy private selves being heard, which guarantees that there will also be no improvement in intimacy.

The payoff for Lyn’s inner selves is that she maintains the distance they think she needs to avoid being controlled by Eric. That distance is, of course, what the justifier self was really setting up.

The tour guide or introducer

At first glance the tour guide appears as a helpful self, because it seems to be busy assisting us to get to know the other selves, even going to the trouble to introduce them and tell us about them.

You will recognise the guide when you are facilitating and the client having moved to another chair says something like the following:

‘This is the self that .........’ or ‘This is the one that ..’

Notice that the voice is not saying ‘ I am the self that ....’ as you would expect. This alerts you to the presence of the tour guide, another self who prefers to tell you about other selves, rather than have you meet them face to face.

What you do then depends on the situation. However, in most cases, if a tour guide is active, its effect is to block you from meeting and getting to know the rest of the selves, so it is more of a problem than a help.

A busy tour guide reduces the chance of anything worthwhile coming out of a dialogue session. This may be a sign that the client is not ready for voice dialogue, or has other more pressing issues that need to be dealt with first. It may also be a way of letting you know the client is feeling more vulnerable about doing voice dialogue than you expected.

You might decide to halt the session in these cases. An alternative is to talk to the guide by name, thank it for helping, and try to find out by dialogue with it, what lies behind the vulnerability or why it wants to stop the other selves coming out to talk.

The Explainer or Justifier self

You will notice this self when it comes in to speak on behalf of another self and actively defends, argues, explains or justifies what that other self has done or said (regardless of whether it might really have been on the right track). At the same time it prevents the original self from dialoguing on its own behalf.

The explainer self is like a defence lawyer stepping in when there are hidden power and control issues at stake. Imagine that a couple are trying to use voice dialogue to enhance intimacy in their relationship. Lyn has issues about being controlled by men. Unfortunately her inner selves confuse the vulnerability she feels being intimate with her new partner, Eric with her underlying fear of ‘being controlled’ by him. Note: In this case Eric is actually not a controlling person but he is becoming more and more desperate about his desire for greater intimacy with Lyn. As a result Eric will be inclined to push too hard and his efforts will be unbalanced.