Imagine, you are driving a bus, and all the passengers in the bus represent a side of you. One of the passengers ‘Ambitious Anna’ sits next to you while you are behind the wheel. It’s your ambitious side, the one that makes you work hard, and keeps you from taking regular breaks. Ambitious Anna likes to swop seats with ‘Karen Control’, another side of you, mostly glued to the bus’ navigation device. Karen Control helps you to reach the next destination as quick and efficient as possible. Ambitious Anna and Karen Control tell passengers ‘Playful Petra’ and ‘Laughing Lisa’ not to make noise and to stay in the back of the bus. While the bus continues, they hear a banging sound from the trunk. Is that another passenger?
This passengers-on-the-bus metaphor is a great way of getting an understanding of the Voice Dialogue method. Voice Dialogue starts with the idea that every person (the bus) is made up of sides or sub-personalities (passengers). I believe – and I’ve experienced – the method to be very valuable; it gives you insight in your personal motives and drives. First, the method creates awareness on the existence of primary sub-personalities (dominant voices), and second, it let’s you experience the interaction between sub-personalities. And this is where it gets interesting.
In a coaching session where I apply Voice Dialogue, your sub-personalities literally get a voice. One of my clients found out that acknowledging different sub-personalities and discovering their value was liberating. It also taught him what he needed in order to feel happier. And there was a client who was told by a couple of his sub-personalities to remove a passenger (a sub-personality) from the bus. Later in the exercise he realised that this side was impossible to ignore, and discovered this side was helpful in reaching a professional goal. Another client mentioned to feel sad when she spoke from her vulnerable sub-personality, and felt discomfort in listening to what this side had to say. But she also realised she wanted to pay better attention to it when making big decisions.
Voice Dialogue could be useful in any situation. But when you feel overwhelmed and are going through times of change, it’s helpful to understand contradicting viewpoints, how a certain sub-personality tries to protect you, and how paying attention to different sub-personalities can be beneficial to you in the process of change.
Want to know more? The Disney movie Insight Out is a classic for everyone interested in the method. Ambitious Anna, Karen Control, Playful Petra and Laughing Lisa, are all a fan.
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