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Voice Therapy is a powerful technique that quickly taps into clients’ core negative beliefs. It is a process of identifying and eliciting negative thought patterns (“critical inner voices“) that are driving a person’s maladaptive behavior. It is called Voice Therapy because clients learn to verbalize the negative thoughts they are aware of in the second person, as though another person were talking to them. Shifting to this second person format brings to the surface the emotional content of these negative thoughts. This also helps clients to separate their own point of view from the hostile point of view toward themselves. It allows them to “take their own side” and identify the sources of these destructive cognitions which originated in traumatic attachment experiences. Therapist and client then collaborate on suggestions for behavioral change.
The principal technique of Voice Therapy involves an individual’s verbalization of their negative thoughts as though another person were addressing them, for example, “You’re stupid. You’re a failure,” instead of “I think I’m stupid. I feel like a failure.” This methodology is important for two reasons: (1) this is the form in which most people think critically about themselves or experience negative internal dialogue (2) this technique usually brings out considerable affect, leading to meaningful emotional and intellectual insight.
Developed by Robert Firestone, Ph.D.
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