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The Psychology of Reconciliation

A Course Summary, 2004

Martha-Lou Wolff, Ph.D.

Three concepts are fundamental in this course

Conflict is not a result of a disagreement in ideas.  It is caused by the energy in the interaction. In a confrontation, we are always more aware of the power the other person has over us than the power we have over them. Reconciliation is possible when the underlying vulnerability is honored and addressed.

When we study the building blocks of the human personality, we find that there are parts or selves within the psyche.  The Psychology of Selves and the Voice Dialogue technique created by Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone, provide a theoretical model and a method for exploring them.  Selves can be experienced directly, awareness of them is heightened and a central place is created where selves can be honored and we can have choice about their effect on us. [the Aware Ego Process].

Currently there are several approaches available for understanding selves/parts.   Most recognize that each self has its own function and perspective. Using the Stone's work, it is clear that each one has its own unique energy as well.

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Facilitation under Supervision

A Summary of my Introductory Comments

Martha-Lou Wolff, Ph.D.

In the late 1970's Hal and Sidra Stone put forth their model of consciousness. It has three essential ingredients: first, direct experience in the selves; second, observing these selves from a place of awareness; and third, developing a center point from which it is possible to embrace the selves and have choice over their effect on us. Voice Dialogue is the technique they created to guide a person through these three steps and ignite an Aware Ego Process.
In order to use this method with clients it is essential to avail yourself of Voice Dialogue personally. Further, facilitation under supervision is very helpful in developing these skills.

Essential Elements of Facilitation

A facilitator is responsible:

  1. to create an environment to which there will not be interruptions, [If there is an intrusion while the subject is in a self, the facilitator must move the subject back to the center so that he/she shifts from the altered state and is able to be fully present.]
  2. to establish the length of the session and determine how much time is available for each phase of the session. The person being facilitated has little awareness of time. [It is easy to do this without disturbing the flow by making a habit of checking when the person moves from one place to another.]
  3. to be fully attentive to the subject without judgment or a personal agenda for the outcome.

There are two fundamental principles that apply in the practice of facilitation. One is to pick selves that are accessible and unchallenging for the facilitator and the subject. The second is to stop the session if either person feels uncomfortable, come to the center and discuss the dynamic that has developed.