The Voice of the Therapist

The Therapist’s Voice in Mindfulness-Based, Body-Centered Psychotherapy (a workshop)

The human vocal apparatus is part of the body and much more. We create (or destroy) our worlds through words we speak and sing, sounds we utter. Different qualities of the human voice-tone like pitch, volume, rhythm, speed and intensity, influence human interaction from the very beginning of life. As perceptive and mindful Hakomi therapists, we notice both the verbal and non-verbal communication transmitted through the client’s voice.

Clients too can be very attentive to their therapist’s voice-tone during a session.  Having worked with voice and mindfulness for years, I am conscious and sometimes self- conscious of how my voice might be sounding to a client. On delivering a probe, is it slow and deep enough, warm and supportive enough, clear and understandable, resonant, etc.?  And most important of all, is it authentic …deeply connected to who and where I am in the moment.

(In the following Rumi poem, I’ve exchanged the word “faces” for “voices”.)

Be clear like a mirror
reflecting nothing.
Be clean of pictures and the worry
that comes with images.

Gaze into what is not ashamed
or afraid of any truth.
Contain all human voices in your own
without any judgment of them.

Be pure emptiness.
“What is inside that?”, you ask.
“Silence” is all I can say.

So, as compassionately-present and supportive therapists, how can our voices embody both “emptiness” (non-judgement) and “silence” (clean detachment) as well as “all human voices”?  Where do our own personality and character become embedded in our voice? Does it color what clients hear, and how might this influence the therapy? Does our “session voice” differ from our “regular” voice”? Experiments have shown that clients can appreciate having both a warm and supportive “mother-like voice tone” as well as a clear and determined “father-like voice tone” as part of their process. To what extent does our voice change during the different stages of a session and the various states of mind we visit therein? If and when we choose to disclose something about ourselves, does voice-tone modulate?

In our time together, we’ll borrow some techniques from the Korason Method of Authentic Voice (KM) to enhance a perceptual environment within which we explore our relationship to our own voice and how the latter manifests in our work with clients.

Participants will go home with a more textured sense of the concept of “mindfulness-based, body-centered psychotherapy”. Also, simple and dynamic KM techniques will be taught that can be practiced at home to further the discovery and cultivation of the natural, authentic voice. To be able to speak one’s truth and to have the right vehicle to do so, not only feels comfortable and confident, but carries power, purpose, inspiration into our expression and communication with others. And for those who are goal-oriented, it’s effective and gets results.

Information on the Korason Method:  http://hughsmiley.com/home/korason-method/

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