Creative Solutions for Common Problems
One of Firestone’s core concepts is that of “the voice,” which he defines as “… a well-integrated system of thoughts and attitudes, antithetical toward self and cynical toward others that is at the core of the individual’s maladaptive behavior…. “ (1997, p. 45). From this perspective, the voice generates both hostile self-attacks and harsh assessments of others. In generating self-attacks, the voice undermines the person’s ability to more fully enjoy life and derive satisfaction from everyday accomplishments. In attacking others, the voice impairs the person’s ability to develop and sustain intimacy in relationships. Indeed, the voice has been implicated in a range of emotional dysfunction-- such as suicidal thoughts, child abuse, addictions, violence, marital conflict, and sexual problems. Voice Therapy methods are easily integrated with the Internal Family Systems Model.
The core therapeutic intervention of Voice Therapy is deceptive in its simplicity, as it has the power to produce detailed self-criticisms and powerful affect. The technique involves voicing your self-criticisms out loud using the second person pronoun “You,” as if another person was addressing you. That is, instead of saying, “I’m so stupid, I’ll never amount to anything”, you say “You’re so stupid, you’ll never amount to anything.” If you allow yourself to go into as much detail as possible in stating and elaborating your self-criticisms, you may be surprised to hear how hostile your inner critic can be toward you. This experience can become the starting point for separating from your inner critic and developing a more compassionate perspective on yourself. If this exercise feels too upsetting after you begin, you should discontinue it and talk to a supportive friend or loved one. You can also learn more about this approach through the following websites and book.
Voice Therapy website: www.glendon.org