Category Archives: Voice of the Therapist
The Therapist’s Voice in Mindfulness-Based,
Somatic Psychotherapy & Facilitation
– by Hugh Smiley
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 psychotherapists and facilitators, we notice both the verbal and non-verbal communication transmitted through the clients’ voices. Clients too can be very attentive to their therapist’s voice-tone during a session. Having worked with voice and mindfulness for 40 years, I am conscious & sometimes self-conscious regarding how my voice might be sounding to a client.
On delivering a probe (verbal experiment in mindfulness), is it:
slow and deep enough?
• warm and supportive enough?
• sincere enough
• clear and understandable?
• resonant? …and most important of all, is it
• authentic (deeply connected to whom & where I am in
the present moment?
(In the following poem by Rumi, the word “faces” has been exchanged for “voices”.)
Be clear like a mirror,
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 or group facilitators, how can our voices embody both emptiness (non-judgement, clean detachment) and silence (peace and equanimity) as well as “all human voices” (celebrating unity on a common human ground)? This is where the therapist’s own personal healing work (or lack of it) may shine through and where a level of psycho-spiritual maturity is required.
Where do our own personality and character become embedded in our voice? Does it colour what clients hear, and how might this influence the therapist-client relationship and course of 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 sometimes, 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 (for example intake, making contact, accessing, emotional “riding the rapids”, working with the child, weaving meaning) and the various states of mind and degree of mindfulness we visit therein? If and when we choose to disclose something about ourselves, does voice-tone modulate?
The Korason Method for Authentic Voice and Dialogue (KM)
Trauma lives in the body and through somatic- or body-oriented therapies, this trauma can be relieved and healed. The vocal apparatus, being part of the body, can be imbued with and, in it’s sound, reveal trauma embedded within. So working with the client’s voice, vocal apparatus and throat chakra in a mindful, gentle and skilled manner, can be extremely helpful as part of the therapy process of those suffering from trauma and PTSD.
In our time together during a session or workshop, we’ll borrow some techniques from KM to enhance the cognitive, perceptual and energetic environment within which we explore our relationship to our own voice and how the latter manifests in our work with clients. As the Korason Method is practiced, there is an unfolding of “Authentic Voice” on two levels: 1. the natural physical voice (comfort, ease, resonance clarity), and 2. the ‘psychological’ voice, i.e. the confidence and freedom in expressing or voicing one’s truth.
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, and inspiration into our expression and communication with others. Our consultations, dialogues, mediations and negotiations will have wings. And for those who are goal-oriented, the Korason Method is effective and gets results.
Korason with Hakomi workshop on Zoom April 15, 2023: https://hughsmiley.com/korason-method-workshop/
Hugh Smiley 416-924-4941 www.hughsmiley.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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