What does a Voice Dialogue session look like?
Below you will find a short example of what a Voice Dialogue session could look like. Every client, every case and every sessions is different, so not all elements of this example would be perfectly the same in every other sessions. I do hope to be able to give you a more vivid picture of the core aspects of Voice Dialogue: the interactive work with the Selves, accepting what is and training to keep the overview from a central position and from there, manage your Selves.
An example session
Linda (24) has asked for a coaching session because she wants to stop procrastinating. During exam weeks, it is extremely difficult for her to stick to the study goals she set for herself. Instead of starting early and study ahead of time, she finds it hard to withstand her Netflix account and often finds herself watching series for several hours during the day. This especially happens when her energy is low. It is difficult for her to stick to studying, because it costs her so much energy. On the other hand, she does see the importance of finishing her Law studies and she does like the courses of her study.
In the Voice Dialogue session, we decide to investigate the different aspects of her situation. We sit across from each other, both on a chair. I check with her if the distance between us is ok. That is the case. I reformulate her situation in Voice Dialogue language: “On the one hand there is a part in you that doesn’t want to study and that would rather just Netflix. On the other hand there is also a part that feels studying is in fact important. Which part is the strongest at this moment?”
Linda needs only a second to answer this question with: the part that wants to watch series. So, I invite Linda to find a place in the room for this part and to go and stand there. She leaves her chair where it is. We will call this chair ‘the centre position’ for now. Then, I start up a conversation with the part that just wants to watch Netflix and Linda assumes the role of this part of her personality.
“Welcome”, I say, “So you are the part of Linda that would rather watch Netflix than study. Would you like to tell me a little bit about you?”
At first, it feels a little weird for Linda-in-character-of-the-Netflixing-girl to talk about Linda in third person, but after a while she gets the hang of it. I talk with the Netflixer and we discover what Linda feels when the Netflixer is active in her. We also learn when and how often she appears in Linda’s life, and also what she thinks is important: that Linda has enough energy and also looks after herself. If I delve a little deeper by asking how long this subperson has already been a part of Linda’s life, she tells me that must have been during her time in high school. In one year she had to do several courses that she neither liked nor was very good at – and that cost her a lot of energy. Furthermore, she was afraid to not be good enough in these subjects, while she was a good students otherwise. At that point, this procrastinating subperson took action to make sure Linda had enough of a distraction and fun in her life. When we have talked some more, I ask the part if there is something that is wants to say to Linda. It wants to: the Netflixer is ok with Linda working for her study, as long as she takes good care of her ‘energy battery’ so she doesn’t wear out.
I thank this part and invite Linda-as-a-whole to return to the chair in the centre position. I give her some time to come loose from the part that she just experienced. She tells me it is kind of strange to talk about yourself in this way and to immerse herself completely in this one part of herself. She notices that this part has taken good care of her ever since high school and it is actually also very good that is a part of her, even though this part has too much stage time in this period of her life.
“Alright, shall we also let the other side speak? The subperson that says that studying is important and that also has the discipline to study?”, I ask.
“Yeah, that’s ok, I am curious to see if I have any discipline at all!”, says Linda with a smile.
She picks up another chair from the room and places it about 1m behind the chair-in-the-centre. When she sits down on it, her energy changes. This part-that-is-disciplined-and-thinks-studying-is-important sits up straight and looks at me with a clear focus. I welcome this part and ask: “What are you focused on?”
This part says: “Well, I think about the future, of course. She could lie on the coach all day, but that won’t bring her any further in life would it? She has to study! However, she almost never listens to me these days.”
“What would be the advantage for Linda if she’d allow you back into her life a bit more?”, I ask.
“She would plan her time better, have much less stress and have a lot more free time when the work is done. And get her Bachelor before turning 25 would also be nice.”, says this part.
“And what if Linda has low energy, would you also allow her to relax?”, I ask.
“Yes, of course, as long as she doesn’t slouch on the couch for hours. She could also take a walk outside or go out for a run, then study and afterwards reward herself by watching a series for one hour.”
I thank this part for sharing her opinion and then I ask Linda again to return to the chair in the centre position. After a few seconds in which she can come loose from the energy of her inner Disciplined Student, I ask her how it feels to sit here on the chair between these two opposing parts of her.
“Yes, quite weird to be able to feel them both. I am actually quite calm now. It’s nice to be able to get a literal overview here in the room.”
I tell her that both parts have their own energy, qualities and desires and that it is not necessary for these subpersons to completely change how they are and what they do. You don’t need to, because from this centre position (that we call Aware Ego Process in Voice Dialogue) you can be aware of which part is most strongly present at a given moment, accept that and then take a conscious decision which part you want to give more stage time.
Next, we practice with the exercise of Volume Control. I ask Linda to get a sense of how strong the two opposing parts feel right now and if one might be stronger than the other.
“Yes, my Netflixer is still the boss with about 70 percent, the other part is smaller.”
“Could you now try to change the ratio between them? You have just felt the energy of the part that thinks studying is important, could you muster that energy and make it bigger?”, I ask.
We practice for a little while and I notice how Linda’s posture and look changes when she increases the presence of her studying part. For the next week, I invite her to pay attention to when which part becomes active. When she notices, she should try to accept it first and then adjust with the Volume Control.
We wrap up with a short summary of the session, in which I invite Linda to stand next to me. I ask her to observe without judgment the entire picture that we made in this room, while I discuss the most important elements of our session. And that is where we close the session.
I hope this example gives you a better picture of what you might expect of a Voice Dialogue session. If you would like more information, feel free to contact me or make an appointment for an intake session.