Voice Problem Support

community for people with voice problems started by The Lary Project

One of the contributors at the latest Lary Project support group meeting was Jacob Lieberman. He is a psychotherapist and osteopath specialising in the larynx. An important point he reminded us all of was the role of emotion in the voice.

I think it's an important thing to remember. A "new age" lady (forgive the pigeon-holing!) once said to me that the throat is the emotional spaghetti junction of the body. Certainly what many say about their voice problems bears this out. Even voice problems that have a physical cause (trauma, cancer, reflux, etc...) can still be greatly affected by one's emotions such as stress.

I suppose the next logical question is: how do we effectively manage our emotions in order to control their effect on our voice condition? What do people think? Some herbal remedies may be helpful, eg: St John's Wort, Bach's Rescue Remedy and 5-HTP (check with doctor before using these, particularly St John Wort!).

Some psychological approaches may also help. Something I've been told is very useful is "mindfulness". This involves being completely in-touch with the present moment so that we can escape - or at least try to put on the side for a moment - the daily worries that can crowd our lives and make us stressed. Practising mindfulness involves some meditation. A good link on this is here: www.octc.co.uk

What are people's views on this? Any other ideas?

Views: 158

Tags: emotions, problems, psychogenic, voice

Comment by Sparkle on July 12, 2010 at 12:37
Stress can be a cause, contributory factor and a symptom. I think reducing or addressing stress can only be good. Breathing and relaxation exercises can help, as well as counselling and meditation. I have never tried herbal remedies so cannot comment on that. Things like CBT can help break the 'voice problem causing stress-stress aggravating voice problem' cycle.
Comment by Terence McDermott on July 12, 2010 at 20:31
Absolutely agree about the utility of CBT whatever the cause of your voice problem. Indeed, in cases of psychogenic voice problems (voice problems with an exclusively psychological cause), CBT and other talking treatments may be the only treatment approach that works. This is a post I did on the forum on psychogenic voice problems which may be useful to those reading this:

"One thing I find surprising is just how many people have contacted me experiencing a voice problem despite being told by specialists that they have nothing physically wrong with their larynxes. It seems that in many of these cases, the cause is psychological - some stress, anxiety, emotion becomes "symptomised" in the larynx. The conditions are known as psychogenic voice problems. Often these people can be quite baffled as to exactly what the matter is, particularly where they do not agree they have some emotional or psychological issue.

Indeed, a reaction of "but I don't have a psychological problem" can be quite characteristic. In some cases it seems like an emotion gets buried, so is unknown to the person affected and this very burying can lead to the voice problem developing.... There can sometimes be a triggering event that is physiological, such as a bout of laryngitis, so this can only add to the confusion as the cause appears, on the face of things, to be physical when in fact the long term explanation may be psychological.

NOW THE GOOD NEWS: these conditions may be treated successfully with talking treatments...

I am currently reading a book on treating psychogenic voices problems - "Understanding and Treating Psychogenic Voice Disorder - a CBT framework" by Butcher, Elias and Cavalli. Interesting bedtime reading let me tell you! The book is a bit techie and quite expensive but it may be available in a big library local to you if you want to know more? They focus on cognitive behavioural therapy as a treatment approach for psychogenic voice problems. Apparently many cases are treated with complete success.... "

Has anyone reading this had an experience of a psychogenic voice problem? Do you want to share your story? Have you received successful treatment?

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