Voice Dialogue Edmonton - Psychology of the Selves & the Aware Ego Process

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Terms used in Voice Dialogue, Psychology of the Selves
and the Aware Ego Process Described in Plain Language


Terms Used In Voice Dialogue
Definition of Term used
in Voice Dialogue,
Psychology of the Selves and
the Aware Ego Process
Plain Language
Archetype A psychological pattern characteristic to all human beings that is linked to our instinctual energy and deepest functioning of our psyche. Ancient patterns, recognized human patterns & behaviors, established ancient roles, cross-cultural universal behaviors recognized in present time. Soldier, warrior, CEO, king, Mother, matriarch, Father, patriarch, pleaser, victim, controller, perfectionist, etc.
Aware Ego
As we develop our capacity for an Aware Ego Process, we realize the Aware Ego is not a self but a process. The Aware Ego Process strengthens each time we become aware of a self, choose to separate from that self, embrace its opposite and choose the desired balance between the two selves. Knowledge of the polarity and conscious choice. The ability to choose between opposite sides of the same issue and to consciously choose between the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. A process of listening to opposing and/or different points of view and has the flexibility of incorporating the opposing data in making a choice/decision.
Awareness In awareness, we are witnessing the ‘selves’ without feelings or attachment to the outcome. Detached from achieving an outcome. The ability to step outside of myself and witness what is going on. *A “Wow!” moment.
*An insight.
*A settling feeling.
*A knowing that everything is OK! As is.
Bonding Patterns Bonding patterns which are the re-creation of present inter-relationships of either a positive or negative psychological/emotional interactions that we experienced in our childhood. Term used to describe the type of feelings/emotions which either connect or repel us in any relationships.  I like their company, it feels like being home. I don’t feel safe with other people, as they remind me of people not to be trusted.
Caretaker Self Usually a Primary Self in the Operating System where the focus is to protect the individual by constantly taking care of others in the individual’s circle or relationships in order to get acceptance and love. A part who unconscious meets the needs/wants of others while either suppressing, denying or devaluing the individual’s needs with the intention of gaining love, acceptance, respect, etc. If I take care of everyone I care about, then everything will be okay and run smooth.
Confusion Between Judgment and Feelings When the feeling of an emotion is masked by a judgment or behaviour. When the head and mind takes over the individual, and there is a judgement and rationalization that takes over that hides a fear, emotion or body reaction to an event. Question: “How are you feeling?”
Response: “I think they exaggerate.”
The responding person in this exchange believes the exaggeration is a feeling but it is a projected judgment that belongs to the responding person.
Consciousness Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone, the founders of Voice Dialogue, the Psychology of the Selves and the Aware Ego Process define consciousness as having three parts:
  • Awareness - comes first in the process to let us know that we are different from how we usually see ourselves.
  • Experience of the Selves – group of primary selves that operate our lives (operating ego).
  • Aware Ego Process - once we can separate from our primary selves (operating ego), the ‘I’ who is sitting separated from the primary selves is the beginning of the Aware Ego Process.
Choosing through awareness a conscious choice the balance between the gifts and limitations between two opposite selves. An internal knowing that is connected to the universe that fits for me as an individual given all the different perspectives internally and externally of the data, feelings, judgments, wants and needs of any situation.
Usually a Primary Self in the Operating System where the focus is to protect the individual by controlling others in the relationship by all any any means. When the rules, values, behaviors, morals, etc. of either a given society, community, family or individual are adhered to and followed without question. When it is done my way then everything usually works out well.
Disowned self The self that is opposite to the primary self and has been hidden, repressed, denied and/or buried in a person's life. Who I am not, what I deny, who I don’t want to be, who I don’t think I am, who I’d wish I could be, untapped treasure, missing pieces, unexplored territory, source of whatever you are yearning for, long forgot, lost parts.The Disowned Self represents denying the parts of me that have the potential of revitalizing me. Want to be creating; example: actor, dancer, artist, musician.Don’t want to be selfish, jealous, envious, too perfect, too powerful, or judgmental.Do not want to be too entitled, too ordinary or special, too aggressive or weak, too demanding or needy.
Dualistic thinking When the primary system of selves are the only parts that operate in the life of an individual. These dynamics create a dualistic world of ‘us against them’. When there is no awareness or openness to discover the gifts that maybe available from an alternate source. The world would be a better place for everyone, if all the world had our values, beliefs, behaviours, rules, etc.
Ego In Voice Dialogue, ego is a combination of our operating ego and an ever-expanding Aware Ego Process. Is me, sense of myself, my  identity The CEO of the personality.
The Chairperson of a Board of Directors.
Emotional Self A self that feels all and holds all human emotions and feelings thereby providing a container of protection for the individual for safety in relationship to external forces. Container that has the ability to feel all and everything with no limits. Innocent Child’s first discovery to the dying Queen/King and everything between and beyond.
Energetics Energetics is a generic term that describes the way in which energy runs inside and outside my body, between me and other people and between me and the world. All matter has energy. An individual’s awareness to the energetic connection to any minor or major part of the universe.
Dialoguing The process of talking to a self or sub-personality with the aid of a facilitator or by self-facilitating. Providing an opportunity to discover the behaviours, values, gifts and limitations of each individual part of a person’s personality. With an open heart and without judgement discover the operation of separate parts of my personality.
Harmonics In relationships, we have an energetic harmonic with each other; that is, each self has its own vibration/energy and how we resonate with each other creates a good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant harmonic. The vibrations between individuals. With each individual person that I am in relationship with, there is a sense, feeling that I experience with only that person.
Hidden Primary Selves Selves that run/operate our life but are not readily seen by others. Also, the individual has little or no awareness of their internal existence, e.g., patriarch, matriarch or vulnerable child. Parts of the individual which are not recognized because there is no awareness of the power of their existence. As a woman, I do not recognize the power of the archetype’s existence with the rules, values, morals, gifts, limitations of being a woman in the universe from the perspective of the hidden primary self of the matriarchy.
“I” Statements A communication skill where the person takes responsibility for their data, emotions, thinking, wants/needs by expressing them in any relationship by starting with: “I”….. Taking ownership of your existence and your truth at this moment; starting any and all statements with “I”…. I see (hear; taste, smell)…….
I feel….
I judge…..
The story I tell myself is…..
I want….
I need as an individual…
I need in this relationship…
Inner Critic A self within which criticizes the individual before anyone else does.  By constantly pointing out personal inadequacies, the Inner Critic shames the individual before other people have a chance to.  The rational for this behavior held by the Inner Critic is to motivate and protect the individual. Paying attention and attending to the messages from the Inner Critic without being negatively overwhelm, honors the available wisdom from the messages for the individual. Inner Critic Messages such as:
What a stupid thing to say!
You are getting fat!
You are too skinny!
What is wrong with you?
When will you ever learn?
Inner Matriarchy An internal archetypal female self known in the male realm as the Inner Matriarchy and in the female realm as the Matriarchy which holds the container of the female’s existence.  The Matriarchy holds the belief that female individuals can and are equal partners to the male counterpart.  At present in the universe she holds the majority of vulnerable/sensitive human attributes of cooperation, the cycle of nature, love, family, feelings and nurturing attributes.  Attributes commonly associated with the female sex which maintaining life. Birthing, Nurturing, Caretaking, Managers of Family and Home.  Energy is relationship oriented based on cooperation for the survival and maintains of the whole to achieve a balanced quality of life with resources available.
Inner Patriarchy An internal archetypal male self within all humans that carries the ancient and present patriarchal traditions, values and rules that continue to hold the power of protection for the rules, value behavior and morals of society.  The Inner Patriarch takes responsibility to ensure that the human race survives through imposing on society centuries of rules for males to be strong/powerful and caring for the more vulnerable parts of society. Attributes commonly associated with the male sex which protects life. Maintains the rules, values, morals of human existence for the protection and balance of society. Energy is survival, and quality of life for individual’s family environment.
Instinctual The genetics of our psyche that is linked to our survival/instinctual needs, e.g., sexual, safety and belonging. An individual is often not aware of the power of this hidden primary self which operates in relationship to the senses, harmonics, energy, and archetypical values and rules.  When my internal senses indicate that all is well or in the opposite case when there is a sense of something missing or incomplete.
Judging Self A Self that blames and projects an internal judgement on an outside source to attempt to gain control of the change that is feared. By judging things and others that are strange, different, uncontrollable, feared; I push away from them by judging. Data, feelings, stories that I tell myself which can separate or connect me from parts of myself and others.
(three levels)
1. Judgments of self (the individual) and all the attributes, behaviors, values, morals, etc.
2. Judging of all the external selves (others) that are in relationship with the individual.
3. Judging part and/or the whole of society.
Through judgements I serve my individuality to determine if societies:  truths, rules, values, morals are going to be mine and/or is there room for me to co-existence in this society. Any and all judgements have one element in common:   As a test and a boundary taken with the intent to determine if it is safe enough for the individual’s needs to co-exist within the relationship or society.
Linkage Linkage is a generic term that describes the activation of an energy field with another person or thing. The feeling state that is generated from the energy between any two opposites when there is an understanding of co-existence. Time stops: with no agendas or things to do. It feels great; if only for a split second, and then life continues…Offering another opportunity.
Longing A desire for a fulfilling or live-giving experience. An organic wish that predetermines and is contracted on an archetypical level with each individual human being. An achievement or goal for an individual that provides value and purpose for their lifetime.
Mutual Respect An attitude that sets the intention to honour the differences between people without needing them to change. The experience and knowing of the felt sense of mutual respect between the individuals. The experience, feelings  and exchange between two individuals of:
*Being heard and validated for   your own truth and knowledge
*Being seen as a individual
* Not being judged
Mirroring To recognize one or many of your own attributes, behaviors, beliefs, values, etc., in someone or something else. What I see or don’t want to see is a part of me. The Golden Shadow; what I see in you that I want for myself.  The Dark Shadow; what I see in you that I don’t like and do not want to see in myself. I understand where you are coming from.  I know exactly what you are feeling.  I have had a similar experience.
Negative Bonding Pattern In negative bonding patterns, the parent-child interaction of the two people has turned negative from positive. Once it has turned negative, the two people are unable to nurture each other. When the dynamics within the relationship become negative.   At this point the individuals are unable to carry mutual respect for each other. The status quo and expectations that held the relationship together are no longer valid or reliable.
Operating Ego It is the combination or team of primary selves who we think of as ‘I’ or ‘me’ as we live our life. How we operate as an individual in the world. Certain traits, values, behaviours, rules, attitudes, perspectives, etc. define my identity.
Operating Selves A group of primary selves which the individual identifies as being “me”. Usually how we identify ourselves as an individual, or how we would like to be seen by others. “I see myself as: reliable, loyal, willing to work and learn. All characterises that I mutual respect in myself and others.”
Opposite Selves A self or group of selves that are hidden, repressed or denied by the primary operating system. Usually based on the characteristics, behavior, values, and morals etc., which are judged as negative, opposite, misunderstood, unfamiliar, strange, etc. “I see myself as being better than… (whatever behavior, value, characteristic that is being evaluated at the time by the operating, primary self system).
Perfectionist Self A primary self that is seeking approval from an internal and introjected source in which the standard for approval continually increases.  If there is an out of control Perfectionist Self then the standards continually increase to the detriment of the individual. An energy source which constantly strives for great and better results for any and all achievements. Usually the perfectionist self is team  member within a system of primary selves such as the inner critic, the judge, the pusher, etc. *I know I can do this… better.
*This is not quite right.
*Something is unfinished.
*There is a missing element.
*This is not the standard that I expect and demand of myself and others.
Personality A team of ‘selves’ that emerge to help us live our lives. By the time we are 12 - 16 years of age the most dominant characteristics of how we will behave and believe have developed. Extrovert characteristics can define one person while introvert characteristics will define another, etc.
Pleaser Self A primary self that is seeking to gain from others approval, acceptance and ultimate love. A part who strives to meet the needs/wants of others with the unconscious intention and belief that if those needs/wants can be achieved then the approval, acceptance and love which are held by others will fill the individual’s void within. *What can I do to make it easier for you?
*I really like, enjoy, love what you are doing, saying etc….
*What do you need from me to make this happen for you…?
*How can I help you to….?
*You are doing a great job, how can I be a part of it all?
*Yes, I agree with everything you do or say, etc….
Positive Bonding Pattern In positive bonding patterns, each person meets the other person’s needs.  However, there is no room for conflict, growth, or change. Very strong connection to each other, that creates interdependency. In the extreme: Twins that can create their own language to communicate that no one else understands.
Primary self/selves It is the self or group of selves that feels that it/they run our life and believe it is who “I” am. Status quo team members of the personality; most influential, seems natural, main, default or fall back position, biggest, weightiest, major, familiar, known, dominant tendency, , not fixed every evolving, disperse, fluidity, what we rely on. Ear of the CEO.
Status team member of the personality.
Automatic pilot/position.
Examples are: the nice guy, hard worker, pusher, pleaser, caretaker, provider, rationale self, perfectionist, judge, critic, responsible father or mother.
Projection The unconscious transfer to one’s own impression or feelings to external objects or persons. Manifestations, images or representations
  • Being frightened or disgusted by another person’s anger; have not acknowledged or recognized our own angry part in our self.
  • Impressed by or want to be like a person that is confident; not acknowledging the part of me that is confident.
Protecting Self A Self that holds the energy to protect the individual at any and all cost.  This self has the ability to project far and wide. Behaviors, thoughts, emotions, etc. which strive to protect the individual from anything negative. The Protector self has the ability to elicit The Blamer and direct the fear of shame onto someone else in order to excuse and protect the individual from feeling the pain of doing something wrong.
Power Selves Refers to a group of primary selves which contain the energy to operate the daily activities of the individual. Automatic responses, behaviors, thinking, feelings, etc. Planner/Organizer Self will go over ever minute detail to ensure all goes smooth.
Psychology of the Aware Ego Process Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone’s theory of the active energy exchange of the Aware Ego Process which takes place through conscious awareness between the Primary Selves and Disowned Selves or Sub-personalities of any and all individuals. The internal process of holding the moments of tension between two opposing sides of any issue while balancing the gifts and limitations of the opposing sides through awareness. The question of who we are is never settled, and that we rise to our best when we allow ourselves to imagine ourselves anew and open to oppose perspectives.
Psychology of the Selves Drs. Sidra and Hal Stone’s theory of how the human psyche functions through the Primary System of Selves and the Disowned System of Selves. The study of the many parts which are either active or inactive in defining our personality and identity. Through awareness I can consciously choose alternate options creating more wholeness.
Responsible Selves A primary self that is linked energetically to the survival and growth of the individual’s family/group/community/society/etc. A part that holds the beliefs and understandings from its perspective that it holds the ultimate container for …. *The only way I perceive an end to this is….
*In order for success we need….
*The data is…therefore the action will be….
Self /Selves Each self is like a person who lives within our psyche and has its own perceptions, energy, beliefs, values, world-view, expressiveness, behaviors and voice. One part of our personality. A separate part of a team.
One member of a Board of Directors.
(levels of)
There are three levels of selves: instinctual, personal and archetypal.
  1. The instinctual level is linked to our survival/instinctual needs, e.g., aggression, protection, procreation/sexual and territory/boundaries.
  2. The personal level results from a combination of our genetics and conditioning by family and culture, e.g., pleaser, pusher and perfectionist.
  3. The archetypal level refers to the universality of characteristics we all share as human beings from the past to our present lives, e.g., the Greek and Roman gods influence on our present lives.
The many levels of an infinite number of possible characteristics which are available in the human culture. Depending on my awareness level, I can consciously choose to access a number of different levels of selves at any one time.
Slap Theory In the slap theory, the Aware Ego Process has not made the choice/decision; a self has made it.  At some point after the decision has been made, an opposite self comes in, usually an inner critic and gives the slap, e.g., How could you have…? When there is only dualistic thinking and behaviours between selves which bounce back and forth to access the gifts of the separate selves without the knowledge of the limitations of those same selves. The internal experience which feels like there is a battle between parts of me who are active in operating my life.
S.U.D.’s Rate
(Low 0–10 High)
Subjective Unit of Disturbance on a scale of 0 being low and 10 being high.  Through muscle testing of the individual’s varied energetic systems, this scale offers a tool to track and validate the therapeutic treatment. An intuitive sense of knowing which can be validated with muscle testing the individual’s body, mind and energy centers. I feel the pain of this issue as: with muscle testing (0-10) with the friction of my muscle testing using the calibration of: Yes as a stick and No being slippery slip, is a 6.
Stages in the development of the
Aware Ego Process
  • Usually, awareness precedes the Aware Ego Process.
  • In the early stage, the Aware Ego Process is very weak and cannot offset the power of the primary self.
  • In the middle stage, the Aware Ego Process has strengthened but the primary self is still substantially stronger.
  • In the late stage, the primary self and the disowned self are more equal and there is more choice in the Aware Ego Process.
With each conscious choice between opposite perspectives the individual develops increasing awareness of the balance between the gifts and limitations of opposite perspectives.  With time, practice and awareness of judgements, etc. and choosing a balance between the gains or losses of opposing sides of any and all issues. Similar to muscle development; the more it’s used the more it develops.
Sub-personalities A part/self that exist within the individual’s personality. Has the same meaning as ‘self/selves’ of the operating system. The characteristics that identify the individual as well as how others see and experience that person. Characteristics, such as: warm, personable, inviting; identifies the person as an internal identification and how others see and experience that person.
Theoretical Foundation of Voice Dialogue The Psychology of the Selves and the Psychology of the Aware Ego Process. The study of the parts of an individual’s personality and the development of the conscious choice of balance between the gifts & limitations of the issue. A framework which allows the individual to separate from the power of the separate perspectives to find balance between.
Trinity thinking Through awareness, the Aware Ego Process is able to embrace opposites.  We can now move from dualistic thinking of 'us vs. them' to Trinity thinking where the Aware Ego Process is the mediator. Consciously choosing the middle between two opposites dealing with the same issue. Choosing to say, “Let’s not make a quick decision, on this difficult situation”, when one part wants to say “Yes” and another part wants to say “No”.
Triggers The felt or masked or unmasked emotional response that the individual can experience with any and all relationships. An interaction that affects the individual either negatively or positively. This interaction can either be: hidden, repressed, denied or acknowledged by the individual. Example of a Positive Trigger:
When I see a beautiful sunset I feel calm and serene. Example of a Negative Trigger:
When I hear anger, I start to feel sick to my stomach.
Undeveloped self Is a self that has not become a part of the person's life because the person is not interested, or in need, or has not been exposed to the qualities of that self. The qualities of a particular self are not developed in an individual because of unfamiliarity or an unknown experience to the gifts and limitations of that self. The qualities of unfamiliar self will not be readily available to an individual if those qualities are from a foreign culture.
Voice Dialogue It is a consciousness tool that can help us to become aware of our many different sub-personalities or ‘selves’ and how to consciously choose given the strengths and limitations of these selves. A psychological facilitation method which accesses the energetic connection of the Psychology of the Selves and through awareness further develops the Aware Ego Process of consciousness.  Access the energetic connection through dialogue increasing the awareness of the gifts and limitations of the many separate parts of an individual’s personality, such as:  Inner Critic, Pusher, Perfectionist & Controller.
Vulnerability Able to be physically or emotionally feel all emotions. Open to all experiences in life;
State of being open.
Sensitive to being available and open to life’s experiences.


Written 2009 by Donna Armstrong of Armstrongs' Counselling Service


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