Embracing Our Selves – Hall & Sidra Stone

Embracing Our Selves

The Voice Dialogue Manual
Hall & Sidra Stone

Know that I don’t recommend, don’t make recommendations, except the one recommendation to not ask me for a recommendation. This is not a recommendation it is, probably, as close as it gets to one.

I will say that this book would probably feature – if I could be arsed to make one – in a top five most important books I’ve read, and certainly top three most useful.
It’s also one of only two books I ever read cover-to-cover in one sitting.

Despite some misconceptions, Voice Dialogue is not invented by or in the hearing voices movement but is an approach many have adopted and adapted.

Embracing ourselves is about recognising that each of us has within us some kind of multiple experiences, there are many names we can call them, this book does not tell us what to call them suggests we simply call them whatever works for us.
They do offer a few suggestions, as examples and illustration for those who have learned to close down-their more imaginative, creative selves.

if you like lots of structure and if you like being told what to call your experience, directed how to judge, categorise and  “correct” any deemed by some theory or tradition as “incorrect”, “unhealthy”, or just plain “wrong” or “bad” or “evil” selves within you then you’ll find this isn’t that .

Authors Hal & Sidra Stone work as therapists, from Jungian perspective, and developed this approach in working with couples.

The basic premise is that each of us has within us several selves, and that one or more will likely be more strongly developed than others, perhaps to the point of over-reliance  – and that others will be under-developed and maybe under-used.

Unlike other approaches, they suggest all these have usefulness and purpose in our lives.

What might happen – and what we might be unaware of but that others with whom we are in close-relationship are acutely aware of- is how we tend to rely on our more developed selves more than might be good, and underuse or even neglect our other less developed selves. This come out in relationship, and the closer the relationship the more evident it is to the other person, at eh same time.we are more unaware.

Being unaware of this and having not learned how to work with our own selves and other peoples selves is source of difficulty in relationships.

If we can learn ways to be more aware and ware of the choices we are making subconsciously we can learn to make different choices.

Embracing involves a lot of accepting. Learning to accept all our selves, learning how to recognise their strengths but also recognise when we can choose to develop others, develop other strengths

There is no right terminology, there is no right arrangement or structure, none are categorized,  labelled as “positive” or “negative”, they just are, each a part of a whole that is dynamic, fluid, and navigating that is a question of exploring and coming to know, continually learning and understanding and becoming familiar with our own personal “inner” landscape, and our place in it.


Voice dialogue is not therapy –  indeed they suggest that the work is best done by a person who has not trained as a therapust – because therapists have been trained in and have adopted, maybe even required to adopt, a particular theory or model or idea of  what is “right” and how things “should be”,  some “right” way to interpret, or some goal to aim for and this can get in the way of true dialogue.

It is hard for a therapist to not push their pet theory or pet ther’py upon us.

Hal & Sidra Stone suggest the role of person working with someone who wants to embark on dialoguing is that of facilitator:  simply looking after the process of dialoguing with parts, selves, voices, spirits, or whatever you call yours.

Here’s a video you can watch Hal Stone talking of The Power of Voice Dialogue [9.48].



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