Issue 74 –
Disowned Instinctual Energies
The Voice Dialogue Process
Dr Hal Stone PhD
In working with the Voice Dialogue process keep the following basic thought in mind. When you are working with a new client always start working with one of the primary selves and continue this process until there is some semblance of The Aware Ego present. Once this has happened, it is much safer to work with selves that are disowned or unconscious.
It may be however that someone will say that they have a killer critic that they want you to work with. Don’t go after a “killer critic” or after “demonic” energy no matter how badly the subject wants you to do so. It is one of the great dangers of this work — especially when a Killer Energy may be a primary self. People are afraid of their violence and rightly so. Many clients are quite fearful of losing control of their emotions and they want you, the Facilitator, to work with their killer energy so that they can feel in control of it again. So let’s look at a bit of theory so you can better understand this problem.
In growing up, for each of us, there is a kind of war going on between our instinctual energy that wants us to be free, and the rules and regulations that we learn to obey, that want us to block our instinctual development. How strong these are depends on our genes, and of course also on our environmental training. Because of this war many selves develop that provide us with ways of acting out our impulses, and other selves which block our acting out impulses.
For example, let’s say that Jane grows up in a family where she is made to behave herself in a more extreme way, and so she identifies with “Good Girl/Nice Girl” or with “Good Mother” or “Voice of Responsibility.” If these Selves become too strong, then Jane will not have learned to react in the world in a way that can properly serve her. She can’t create proper boundaries. Getting angry becomes akin to a sin. A phantasy or daydream that has anger or sexuality as part of it may be experienced in a very dark way. So finally what may happen is that her natural aggression and her natural sexuality may become her enemy, and it then explodes in her in a violent way. Her nice girl then tries harder and harder to control this behavior and life can feel very threatening indeed.
Working directly with this kind of aggressive, or sexual, or what the subject often feels as “killer” energy that is nuanced by one’s family, academic and/or religious background, can indeed be a frightening experience. You must first determine whether or not this particular client at this time in her process, should be exposed to this level of emotionality and are you, the Facilitator sufficiently experienced for the job.
The safer way is to not work with these energies directly until the subject has an Aware Ego process that is strong and stable enough to be able to handle this kind of material. Instead, try facilitating her “Nice Girl” or the “Good Father” or the “Over Responsible” Mother. Work with the Selves that require the client to be controlled all the time or the “Voice of Rules” that determine what rules that Jane follows. In this way Jane gradually learns to develop an Aware Ego process in relationship to a few of the major primary selves that insist on positive or controlled behavior. With this separation and clarity, the instinctual energies can slowly and carefully begin to emerge without anyone having yet worked with them directly.
One final thought — the most important of all! The goal of this work is not to learn to talk to voices. This is only the method of Voice Dialogue. The goal is the awakening of the Aware Ego process which allows us to live our life between ever widening and ever deepening oppositional energies, and thus gradually neutralize our ideas and feelings about what is good and bad. In this way we are lead to a gradual lessening of judgment and the chance to live what is, rather than believing our judgments about how they should be.