Frequently Asked Questions:
About Voice Dialogue, Conscious Body, and
Trauma Work based on the Energies of Selves
What are the underlying principles of Voice Dialogue?
We are all composed of many selves.
Through the process of Voice Dialogue, we can meet and speak with these selves.
We are each identified with certain selves (like the Pleaser, Caretaker, or Hard Worker.) Other selves lie hidden within. Voice Dialogue lets us become aware of, and disengage from, the selves we are identified with, and then discover hidden selves that offer us new possibilities that we previously thought impossible.
Each self has its own unique energy or vibration. This energy directly affects the physical body, and it also invisibly affects our moment-to-moment interactions with each other.
What are the benefits of Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue brings consciousness and choice in the areas of relationships, health, spirituality, finances, the workplace, and the family. It is astounding how many selves we all have, and how they profoundly influence our lives in every way, every single day. As we get to know our own selves, and the selves of people we interact with, much about our actions, desires, and missing pieces in our lives becomes crystal clear. The wonder of Voice Dialogue is that it can be used to address any issue or concern.
How is Voice Dialogue used by professionals?
Voice Dialogue is used around the world by professionals in the fields of psychotherapy, counseling, coaching, healthcare, business and organizational consulting, and spirituality. Speaking with the inner selves that relate to any issue brings insight and rapid progress.
Voice Dialogue is a powerful tool to help clients achieve professional goals, re-orient personal direction, and improve relationships. Voice Dialogue brings clarity and insight in many areas, such as stress reduction, women’s empowerment, and family of origin issues.
Can I do this process alone?
There are certain situations in which self-facilitation can work, like decision-making. If you feel two parts of you holding opposing views on a concrete issue, such as, “Should I take a vacation or not?”, you can let the two sides speak and get a clearer sense of both points of view.
However, Voice Dialogue takes us much deeper than this. Voice Dialogue allows us to meet parts of us that we have been identified with—our “primary selves”—and then opens us up to find the opposite parts that have been hidden—our “disowned selves.” If you try to do this on your own, who, in fact, is facilitating the session? It’s your primary selves. These primary selves do not like the disowned selves, so they cannot welcome disowned selves that need to exist. Therefore, since one of the main gifts of Voice Dialogue is to disengage from our primary selves and gain access to our disowned selves, it is highly recommended to do Voice Dialogue with a trained facilitator.
What is the history of Voice Dialogue?
In the early 1970s, Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone began to develop Voice Dialogue as a method for working with inner selves. Hal Stone was a Jungian analyst, and Voice Dialogue is in the Jungian lineage. Hal and Sidra Stone worked with Jung’s theories and expanded them into a much more complete explanation and down-to-earth application of the inner world of selves. Through both their personal relationship and their professional collaboration, Hal and Sidra Stone have evolved this work into a theoretical system which they call the Psychology of Selves and the Psychology of the Aware Ego. For more, visit their website: www.VoiceDialogue.org.
Where can I learn more about Voice Dialogue?
What are the basic principles of Conscious Body?
We are all composed of many parts, or “selves.”
The energetic vibration of a self affects the physical body directly.
Illness, pain, or any body symptom is often the call of a self that wants to be known.
To find this “self behind the symptom,” we move beyond rational thinking to enter the bodypsyche, where the inner self is waiting to be discovered.
The self behind the symptom is uniquely specific to each person and is never generalized – we do not say, for example, “All headaches mean this type of self. . . .”
When we find the self behind the symptom, its energetic vibration is the precise one needed to help heal the body, and to help transform life.
Can Conscious Body actually heal physical conditions?
Yes. When you find the inner issue behind your physical condition and allow its expression, the energy of the body often changes dramatically. In many cases, the body does heal. The majority of Judith Hendin’s clients have found that, after doing Conscious Body, their symptoms have improved or even resolved completely.
What might a person discover from a body symptom?
Body symptoms lead to specific issues with significant accuracy. You may hear from the part of yourself that wants to be more powerful, sensual, vulnerable, or less rational. You may meet your Inner Critic or Inner Patriarch. You could uncover emotions that have been buried, or encounter memories from childhood. There are countless possibilities for what might show up.
Some specific examples are:
In a case of chronic fatigue, a disowned Confident self emerged.
From extreme hip pain, a delicate Sensual self blossomed forth.
A man with leg cramps found a Hurt Child that fearfully recalled a teacher who used to strike him with a ruler.
A woman with cancer found a Playful Inner Child who wanted to watch silly movies and eat lots of popcorn.
Is the inner issue—the hidden self behind the symptom—actually causing the symptom?
It is vitally important to realize that unconscious hidden selves do not cause body symptoms. Such a belief implies blame: the hidden self gets blamed for the symptom, and then people blame themselves for causing their own illness. This is not at all the philosophy of Conscious Body. Rather, we see that hidden selves are using body symptoms as a way to call attention to their compelling need to finally be allowed to come into the light so they can live, expand, and grow.
Is there any logical connection between the physical symptom and the inner self that appears?
Almost never. This is the magic of Conscious Body. It unearths hidden aspects of ourselves that are usually surprising.
Does Conscious Body generalize about body symptoms—like, “All throat problems have to do with expression,” or “All leg problems have to do with moving forward”?
No. Illness, pain, or other body symptoms are never generalized. They are uniquely specific to each person.
Is Conscious Body a substitute for regular medical care?
No! If you choose to do Conscious Body to explore a serious physical condition, you must also be under a doctor’s care. Conscious Body is not a substitute for medical treatment.
What kinds of conditions have been explored?
Many types of conditions have been explored in Conscious Body Sessions. Below is a partial list. Conscious Body can be used to address any physical condition.
Bone problems – such as arthritis (both osteo and rheumatoid)
Cardiovascular – breathing difficulty or heart palpitations
Colds and flu
Ears, eyes and throat issues – cough, flashing lights, or hearing loss
Major illness – cancer, diabetes, HIV, or Parkinson’s
Intestinal distress – colitis, constipation, cramps, diarrhea, or nausea
Kinesthetic problems – difficulty walking, involuntary movement, numbness, or throbbing sensations
Musculoskeletal issues – broken bones, muscle atrophy, or scoliosis
Pain – fibromyalgia, general body pains, or headaches/migraines
Sexual conditions – impotence or infertility
Sleep problems – insomnia
Skin conditions – eczema, hives, pimples, or rash
Does this process apply to psychological conditions as well as body symptoms?
Psychological conditions, such as depression or panic attacks, have physical and energetic components that can be addressed using Conscious Body.
Energy is talked about so much in Conscious Body—is it an energy technique?
Yes, Conscious Body is based on energy. Conscious Body discovers hidden energies, recognized as inner parts or selves.
Does Conscious Body assume that all illnesses and body symptoms have an inner connection?
No. While physical conditions often relate to inner issues, illness, pain, or other body symptoms may also be influenced by other factors, such as nutrition, the environment, or genetics.
Is Conscious Body along the same lines as “illness as teacher”?
When people speak of illness as teacher, they are usually referring to the lessons one learns from living with illness, such as appreciation for other people and for life, patience, and forbearance. These are called “secondary gains.”
These teachings from illness are completely different from the gains of Conscious Body. As we dive into the bodypsyche and unearthing the hidden self that is calling, we discover hidden, often surprising, aspects of ourselves, which transform our lives and often heal the physical condition.
Is touch involved?
Touch is an optional component. While touch can sometimes aid the process, it is not a necessary component. When touch is used, it is done only with the client’s permission.
What are the roots of Conscious Body?
Conscious Body has roots in many places. Most directly, Conscious Body is built from Voice Dialogue and its theory of selves and the Aware Center. The path to developing Conscious Body was also informed by Judith Hendin’s own broad experience in body awareness. She studied the anthropology of bodies and movement. She was a professional dancer for many years, and she has extensive training in many body modalities. All of these experiences sensitively attuned her to energies, selves, and the body, which led to the development of the Conscious Body process.
How is Conscious Body different from other bodymind techniques?
In several ways:
One of the special qualities of Conscious Body is that it emphasizes the existence of selves, or parts, operating in the bodypsyche. It sees the part that is struggling to be heard through a body symptom as a hidden, or “disowned,” self. And it recognizes that an opposite, “primary,” self does not want this hidden self to be found.
Another way that Conscious Body is unique is that it recognizes the energies of inner selves, and the direct effect these energies have on the body—so much so that when the energy of a hidden self begins to move through the body, body symptoms often heal.
Conscious Body fiercely stays away from rational deductions about the inner self that may be calling through a body symptom. Instead, the client relaxes and waits for symbolic material to arise from the bodypsyche—material which usually makes no sense whatsoever. That symbolic material inevitably leads to the self that is calling.
Finally, Conscious Body consults an inner self that has concerns and reservations about doing this sort of work. Rather than try to change its mind and convince it that Conscious Body has great value, we listen to its concerns and ask for its advice to guide us as we go forward in the process. Once we address all the concerns, the client can go much deeper, with a feeling of safety.
What is Conscious Body not?
Conscious Body is not medical practice. A Conscious Body facilitator is not practicing medicine. He or she is not acting as a medical doctor. When working with physical symptoms, the facilitator does not diagnose or treat.
Conscious Body is not medical intuition. The Conscious Body facilitator’s role is not to act like a medical intuitive that “intuits” the client’s underlying issues. In Conscious Body, the client does his or her own inner work.
Conscious Body does not focus on the psychological aspects of physical illness as covered in psychoanalysis, such as problems relating to stress, grief, anger, etc., about having an illness.
Conscious Body is not psychotherapy, though it may lead to psychotherapy. In Conscious Body, the facilitator assists the client in self-discovery, so he or she may find inner parts that need to be expressed. A Conscious Body facilitator teaches the client how to move the energy of these parts through the body, and how to bring these new energies, actions, and attitudes into everyday life. If further psychotherapy is warranted, the client can seek out an appropriate professional.
Can you tell me more about receiving Conscious Body sessions?
How does this Trauma Work differ from other ways of working with trauma?
This Trauma Work is based on inner selves and their energies. This Trauma Work sees that we are all made up of various parts, or “selves,” that contain vast amounts of information about what we do, how we feel, and what we need. Each of these inner selves has its own energy. and working with the energy of selves adds a dynamic and effective dimension to trauma work.
This Trauma Work does not immediately dive into trauma, but rather takes care to listen to all of your selves as it provides support and empowerment at every step.
Is the body included in this Trauma Work?
Absolutely. When physical symptoms arise. In this Trauma Work, you will use Judith Hendin’s technique of Conscious Body finds the message the body is trying to send, which often relates directly to ongoing trauma work. This message may be the call of the self that holds the trauma experience. It may be an emotion that needs to be expressed. It may be a new trauma memory that is surfacing. As such, the body is a rich resource during trauma work.
Are dreams included as well?
Yes. As messages from the vast consciousness, dreams provide immense wisdom and guidance. (Dreams are not required in trauma work, so if you do not recall your dreams, that is fine.)
What types of trauma does this Trauma Work address?
Types of trauma addressed by this Trauma Work include physical, emotional, sexual, medical, spiritual, and cultural trauma.
How did this Trauma Work develop?
When Judith Hendin worked with clients’ body symptoms using the Conscious Body technique, buried trauma often surfaced. This created a need to address emerging trauma within the context of inner selves and their energies. Over a period of 20 years, Trauma Work based on the Energies of Selves developed.
Trauma Work based on the Energies of Selves