Hal and Sidra Stone are a married pair of contemporary psychologists who developed the process of Voice Dialogue.
Hal Stone was born in 1927 and graduated from UCLA with a PhD in psychology in 1953. He served in the Navy for four years as a psychologist and later trained at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. He remained there for 14 years, working as an analyst, and resigned in 1974. He established the Center for the Healing Arts in 1973 and served as its director until 1979.
Sidra Stone was born in in 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Barnard College with a bachelor’s degree. She continued her education at the University of Maryland, and received her PhD in 1962. Sidra Stone worked in the mental health field in public service, as well as privately as a psychotherapist. She served as the executive director of Hamburger Home, which offered residential treatment services to adolescent girls.
Hal and Sidra met in 1972 and married in 1977. The couple have authored several books together, including Embracing Each Other: How to Make All Your Relationships Work for You (1989) and Embracing Our Selves: The Voice Dialogue Manual (2011). The Stones have been providing seminars in their Voice Dialogue technique since 1977.
Contribution to Psychology
The Stones developed Voice Dialogue based on their theory of the Psychology of Selves. According to the theory, an individual's personality is actually composed of several sub-selves. Everyone has a primary self that he or she identifies with and shares with the world. A disowned self, by contrast, is the opposing personality trait that is repressed by the individual. For example, a woman who perceives herself as kind and jovial may have a “disowned self” that is depressed and hostile.
The Stones also believe that each person has three core components of consciousness. Awareness is a meditative-like “big picture” state that allows people to see each of their selves in action, and the Experience of the Selves is the individual's subjective experience of each element of his or her personality. The Aware Ego is the collection of selves that run our lives on a daily basis, and is described by the Stones as occupying a midpoint between the primary and disowned selves.
This psycho-spiritual approach is designed to identify and understand the various selves that reside within each person. By gaining awareness into each of these selves, the Stones claim that people are able to better comprehend how each self influences their behaviors and choices. Although each voice, each self, serves a necessary function, a client must be able to realize which ones serve them best in order to live a life of balance and harmony. Voice Dialogue aims to teach people how to break free of living through only one of their inner selves.
In addition to their joint work on Voice Dialogue, Sidra Stone has also contributed to the field of feminist psychology. Her book The Shadow King: The Invisible Force that Holds Women Back explores the evolving role of women. Stone questioned why women are still falling behind men, despite feminist gains. She argues that an “inner patriarch” plays a role in this challenge and that by internalizing sexism, women are more likely to struggle to achieve.
- Hal Stone. (2007). Contemporary Authors Online. Retrieved from http://www.gale.cengage.com/InContext/bio.htm
- Sidra (L. Winkelman) Stone. (2005). Contemporary Authors Online. Retrieved from http://www.gale.cengage.com/InContext/bio.htm
- Stone, H., Ph.D., & Stone, S., Ph.D. (n.d.). The basic elements of voice dialogue, relationship, and the psychology of selves. Voice Dialogue International. Retrieved from http://www.voicedialogueinternational.com/pdf/The_Basic_Elements_Of_Voice_Dialogue_Relationship_And_The_Psychology_Of_Selves.pdf