The voices in your head
Many different theories about the subconscious agree that our mind is filled with multiple voices, which form the multifaceted aspects of our personalities. Like a prism, each facet of our psyche reflects a different persona and has its own point of view, style and agenda. Each voice tells us in genuine truth what is better for us, according to him or her. Each sub-personality looks out only for our best interest and fiercely defends its territory and its argument, sometimes succeeding in saving us from danger. Sub-personalities seem to be like different characters living inside our minds, inhabiting us all at once and taking turns at who is running the show. Each sub-personality can also be visualized as an energetic aspect of ourselves. Different from the clinical diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, the idea that all of us are a composite of many individual, psychological and energetic selves is growing in the psychological field. Following are three different approaches of this enlightening theory, and the angle that Energize uses for actors.
Famous psychiatrist Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, developed the theory of Archetypes, which Caroline Myss, PhD, an internationally renowned pioneer in energy medicine and spirituality, recently reworked in her book Sacred Contracts. According to this theory, every one of us functions following different set behaviors or thought patterns that are defined as universal Archetypes. These thought patterns have existed for centuries and have been described through countless stories, songs, legends and myths. They form our behaviors and are deeply engraved in our subconscious. They are part of what Jung called the “collective unconscious.” These Archetypes shape the stories of heroes and heroines from mythology to modern day storytelling; they explain our actions and influence our thoughts, inspiring the lyrics of songs and scripts of movies. Caroline Myss believes that we are actually born with them and that they consist of the psychological grid on which our destinies are woven. They are the subliminal patterns that explain most of our decisions and choices. They resonate in our subconscious like voices telling us what to do.
Caroline Myss says:
These patterns, often ancient in origin, populate our minds and lives in ways that affect us deeply. Yet we are generally unaware of them. These patterns of intelligence are archetypes, dynamic living forms of energy that are shared in many people’s thoughts and emotions, across cultures and countries. Learning to read the archetypal patterns that influence your energy is the natural complement to working with the energy of the chakras. Just as the energies of your chakras work together to provide a map of physical and energy information, the collective body of your archetypes produces a view of the governing forces of your psyche and soul.
For example, here are a few Archetypes you should be able to recognize immediately: the Victim, the Child, the Wounded Child, the Princess or Damsel in Distress, the Mother, the Prostitute, the Teacher, the King, the Healer, the Protector, the Negotiator, the Servant, the Master, the Rebel, the Thief, the Don Juan, the Savior, the Rescuer, etc. Many roles in major plays and movies correspond to these Archetypes. Caroline Myss actually lists examples in her book: Harrisson Ford in Indiana Jones as a Rescuer; James Dean, of course, as a Rebel in Rebel Without A Cause; and Princess Leia in the Star Wars Trilogy as a Princess or Damsel in Distress are just some of the most obvious. It would be wonderful material for a thesis to examine Hollywood films from this angle. Caroline Myss’ research led her to believe that there are twelve major Archetypes that shape our lives and behaviors. Following Jung’s theory, she also explains that there is a positive and a negative (or Shadow) side for each Archetype. The Shadow side represents emotional patterns coming from repressed feelings and fears, the secret reasons why we sabotage what we try to do. Neither good nor bad, the Shadow side is a “complex,” a part of ourselves we do not want to acknowledge. Eventually, says Myss, every one of us needs to confront our Shadow sides in order to evolve to our highest divine potential. In her fascinating book, she gives tools to analyze the Archetypes that rule your “spiritual contract” (or higher purpose), and offers ways to transcend the Shadow sides of our psyche to move forward on the road to our evolution.
The Voice Dialogue approach also describes a multitude of inner voices called “The Selves.” Developed by Hal Stone, PhD, and Sidra Stone, PhD, Voice Dialogue is a psychological therapeutic tool that can be used in conjunction with other modalities, and that is also greatly influenced by the work of Carl Jung. Hal and Sidra Stone explain that they see “The Selves as the smallest discrete units of the psyche: as energy bodies that vibrate within us and determine ‘who we are’ at any given time. Each Self has its own way of viewing the world, its own perceptions, its own beliefs and rules, and its own specific history.” They refer to them as energy bodies that can deeply affect the physiology of a person, as each self can sometimes present different physiological characteristics: different allergies, different blood pressure, different pains, more or fewer wrinkles, etc. They represent certain types: the Responsible Parent, the Rational Mind, the Protector, the Rebel Child, the Procrastinator, the Overachiever, the Slob, the Emotional Self, the Fearful Self, the Pleaser Self, the Perfectionist, etc. Some of these are more familiar to us, while some are ignored and down right excluded.
The “Disowned Selves” are the energy patterns that have been ignored and rejected. They often carry violent emotions and feelings of exclusion. The Disowned Selves represent the opposite polarity, the Shadow side. For example, opposite a Pleaser will be a more selfish side, opposite a Controller will be a more relaxed, “laissez-faire” aspect, opposite a Procrastinator will be a Perfectionist, opposite an Obsessive Cleaner will be a Slob, etc. We are often aware of only one of the polarities, while repressing the other. Hal and Sidra Stone believe that even though the Selves will remain consistent, they can evolve and change. The best way to help this evolution is to let them speak, as what they want most is to be heard. Often, the Selves influence our behavior in peculiar and restrictive ways just because we do not let them speak or listen to them. However, being heard is often just enough to calm down the frustration that a Disowned Self can carry. For example, let’s say your Overachiever is pushing you to finish writing this screenplay you have started, but your laid back Beach Bum wants to get tanned and go swimming. There will be a tug-of-war in your mind until you listen to both sides and allow each to express what it wants, as well as reassure them both that each of their demands will be honored in its own time. Today you finish writing, but tomorrow you’ll go to the beach.
In Voice Dialogue, a facilitator will help a patient let several of his Selves speak their mind on an issue, fully and without restraint. Using a convention of having the patient alternately sit in different chairs, representing each voice, the facilitator will ask questions to each Self and their opposite, allowing them to speak freely. Finally he’ll help the person mediate between them, by going through a process called “The Aware Ego.” I have myself experienced this technique and was amazed by the fact that, without my control, each Self used a different body language, voice, accent, and tone of voice. I also felt the muscles of my face changing its “mask” as I was alternatively moving from one chair to the other. I witnessed the same thing happening to each of the fifteen actors experimenting with us. The Selves most often expressed long, repressed frustrations. Suddenly, the reasons why we were doing certain things in our lives appeared very clearly to each of us. With the Voice Dialogue, the level of awareness increases and the “Aware Ego” process develops. In that process the person tries to honor, mediate between, and care for the Selves without necessarily making all of them happy. This technique is especially fruitful for decision-making. Each individual wish of the Selves cannot always be fulfilled, but the Selves will feel reassured and cared for enough not to wreak havoc in the person’s subconscious.
Voice Dialogue is currently used by thousands of therapists and facilitators around the world, and many books have been published on the subject." I believe VOICE DIALOGUE is a fabulous tool for performers enabling them to tap into their inner voices to create a character.
Exert from A BALANCING ACT, by F. Emmanuelle Chaulet
© Emmanuelle Chaulet 2008
To read more please check the book : A BALANCING ACT, by F. Emmanuelle Chaulet
Emmanuelle Chaulet is an artists' coach and Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Southern Maine