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Speaking to Yourself

Michael Rosen talks to himself - and other people as well - to find out why it is that many of us habitually talk to ourselves. When and why do these self-conversations occur?

Michael Rosen talks to himself - and other people as well - to find out why it is that many of us habitually talk to ourselves. It can be for reassurance or exhortation; It's cited as evidence of a psychological disorder but can also help to unclutter and order the mind. People use it as an aid to prayer and a way to enjoy our own company.

Most people will admit to talking to themselves every now and then. We do it to steel ourselves to do a difficult task or it can help to organise our thoughts. Some people think through past dilemmas aloud testing out different points of view and many berate themselves for mistakes. Some use it to say all the things they wish they'd said but didn't.

But what does this self talk do to the individual? Is it healthy and to what extent are our perceptions of it damaged by the old adage that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness? After all, therapy encourages us to ask questions of ourselves rather than seek external solutions. And to what extent does self talk play a part in prayer and confession? Michael talks to psychologists, priests, actors, stand ups and writers to find out.

Producer Sarah Langan.

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28 minutes

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