What is voice therapy?
Voice therapy is a highly specialized field within the broad discipline of Speech and Language Therapy.
In my mind, Voice Therapy is a specialist field because contemporary voice rehabilitation programs needs to address aspects of the total person, including physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive.
- At the physical level, I consider Voice production as a total body, balancing activity. So, I attend to all the variables contributing to the physical aspects of voice rehabilitation, including how fascia, muscles, nerves and ligaments co-function and communicate, how discomfort and pain are perceived, how the body is facilitated towards learning and maintaining new habits.
- At the emotional level, the voice specialist considers the voice as an expression of thoughts and emotions and how these are involved with the voice difficulties each person faces. Our emotional world is always implicated in the way we express ourselves so it is most likely that emotions are a contributing factor to most voice problems. If only we consider the pandemic spread of stress-related problems, it would be hard to imagine how the voice, a principal gateway for the expression or depression of this stress, could not be affected by the detriments of stress in many many ways.
- At the behavioral level, specialist voice therapy will often need to support a patient through the revealing journey of (re)consideration of multiple areas of their life. Daily habits, dynamics within personal and professional relationships, personal goals, belief systems, work-related habits and all aspects of daily life are frequently visited in order to help a voice disordered person identify issues related to their voice problems in direct or indirect ways.
- At the cognitive level, state-of-the-art voice therapy techniques consider brain function, principles of motor learning, the synergetic or cooperative relationship between mind-body and emotion and, the critical ingredient for success of every voice therapy program, which is the development of awareness re voice, body and emotion. Developing awareness involves eclectic teaching methodology so that voice skills are not taught with a “one-size-fits-all” style. The skilled voice specialist has to be experienced with identifying the specific learning styles with which each person can cope and tailoring specific voice skills to specific needs and learning styles, in order to assist transference and maintenance of the newly acquired voice skills in the long-run.
Deciding to follow a voice therapy plan with a voice specialist means embarking on an exciting journey of self-discovery, irrespective of the principle aetiology behind your voice issues. That is because, no matter what the outcome of your therapy plan is, you will have learned that little bit more about yourself in one or more ways and that is always exciting!. So, it may not be an easy journey, but it is certainly interesting, if not downright fascinating!.