Our Authentic Voice in Psychotherapy and in Dialogue

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 ‘voicetone’ such as pitch, volume, rhythm, speed and intensity influence human interaction from the very beginning of life. As perceptive and mindful ‘NACADians’, wishing to participate in Authentic Dialogue (AD), we notice both the verbal and non-verbal communication transmitted through the others’ voices as well as our own.

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Clients too can be very attentive to their therapist’s voicetone 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 nourishing affirmation during am experiment in mindfulness, is it slow and deep enough, warm and supportive enough, clear and understandable, resonant, etc.?  And most important of all, is it coherent and authentic …deeply connected with who and where I am in the moment.

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

The healing power of sound. The first sense to kick in in the embryo and last to kick out at death.Listening is at least as important as talking and there is no authentic dialogue without it. copy

So, as compassionately-present and supportive therapists (or ‘authentic dialogicians’), 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 this colour what clients hear, and how might this influence the therapy (dialogue)? 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 voicetone modulate?

Over 40 years I’ve developed the the Korason Method of Authentic Voice & Dialogue (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 (or in our dialogues and relationships).

KM helps create a textured sense of the concept of “somatic psychotherapy and mindfulness-based, assisted self-study”.  Simple and dynamic KM techniques 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.

– Hugh               www.hughsmiley.com

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