Two clinical psychologists in Northern California, Hal Stone, Ph.D., and Sidra Stone, Ph.D., developed the therapeutic technique known as "Voice Dialogue.” The idea is not to get rid of any of the internal voices, but to assist them in growing up and becoming more reasonable. This technique is very helpful for unhooking people from roles they have unconsciously played, not letting your behavior choices be dominated by a voice that's immature or destructive, and begin to familiarize you with some healthier, alternative voices.
This concept reminds me of a wonderful, classic book on clinical hypnosis called, My Voice Will Go with You. I have had a number of patients over the years who told me that they could "hear my voice" as a healthy advocate for them in difficult situations, almost as if they had internalized my voice and took a piece of our work together with them into their life.
The ego, or thinking part of the mind, first develops a Protector/Controller role. This happens when we are small children. Later, more sub personalities emerge, depending on our family relationships and environment. For example, primary selves develop like the Pusher, who makes you finish school or go to work, and the Pleaser, who wants to get along with others and be polite at all costs. The Rulemaker develops and tells us what people should be doing, us included. The Critic imposes expectations for our behavior and performance. The Rebel sub personality wants to defy, and not be restricted by the expectations of others.
The primary sub personalities also have opposite or "disowned" parts that are often not conscious. For example, the Pusher has an opposite, the Relaxer, who takes time off to relax, recharge, and play. People who become far too serious and workaholic can be said to have disowned their Relaxer voice and let the Pusher run wild with their life. Similarly, there is a Procrastinator voice whose opposite is the Proactive self. Some people have a Self-Distrusting voice, and the opposite which can be disowned is the Confident self. There are people who are dominated by their Intellectual voice and disown the Experiencing/Emotional self.
The goal in voice dialogue is to develop your ability to observe your inner selves, including the disowned selves, in a mindful way. This leads to more self-acceptance and more internal peace. You want to recognize when the selves are in conflict. If the voices disagree, it causes distress. Being more aware of the different aspects of self, and even the ability to get the healthier voices to dialogue with the less healthy ones, can really make you feel lighter and happier. You can get unstuck from automatic programming developed early in childhood. The attitudes and beliefs of our earliest caregivers can give us our set points.
Meet some of the rest of your cast:
By identifying your own internal cast of characters, you can move all the personalities along towards finding a healthy, supportive self who is not run on auto pilot from your childhood or your life experiences.