Voice Movement Therapy
Voice Movement Therapy (VMT) is a relatively new expressive arts therapy, initially conceived of and developed by Englishman Paul Newham in the early 1990’s. It is based primarily on the pioneering work of singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn, actor and director Roy Hart, director Peter Brook, director Jerzy Grotowski, psychologist Wilhelm Reich, psychotherapist Alexander Lowen, psychologist Carl G. Jung and Otolaryngologist Paul Moses.
As a therapeutic practice, VMT is concerned with helping people to develop their acoustic, creative and metaphorical voice. It is an embodied process that draws on the knowledge of the body to develop self-awareness, increase self-esteem, enhance communication and deepen connections with others. The process helps people to establish and strengthen personal boundaries, boost self-confidence and expand the understanding of the self and the self in relation to others. VMT promotes resilience, a sense of being grounded, assertiveness and a deeper understanding of the physical and vocal manifestations of emotion.
The techniques used to transform and empower clients require that client and practitioner work together, physically, vocally and creatively in a studio environment. Engaging with VMT techniques and processes we ‘play’, improvising with the images and impulses that naturally emerge and, in this multimodal way, develop an awareness and understanding of the client’s habitual and restrictive vocal and movement patterns and of the alternatives available.
Although the ways of working vary, VMT is used with clients of all ages. We work with those who are challenged with language and developmental delays, neurological and speech impediments. The work is used for psychological healing, self-cultivation and creative development. It is used by singers, actors and dancers and by many non-performers who seek vocal development and confidence building. VMT has been used in many diverse social and cultural settings, in schools, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and in conflict situations. VMT has been successfully practiced in early childhood intervention and with the aged. It is a modality that is beneficial in some way to everyone for everyone has a fundamental need and desire for self-expression.
The practice aims to enable verbal and non-verbal people to expand their vocal and movement range and to reach towards their innate creative and expressive potential. VMT offers the client opportunities for full self-expression and to be heard and seen in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment. As a flexible modality VMT encourages experimentation allowing the client’s own imagination to spark personal growth and development. VMT works from the client’s strengths and builds on these. It is therefore a positive and uplifting process that fosters pride and solidifies the client’s sense of self thus cultivating a sense of wellbeing.
VMT pioneer Anne Brownell writes that the foundation of VMT is “not the spoken word, its cognitive content or articulation, but the affective aspects of vocal sound. It is in essence an exploration of the self through vocal expression and combines knowledge of acoustics and the anatomy and physiology of the voice with movement, enactment and imagery that it integrates with psychotherapeutic principals and practices to create a specific vocal modality for therapeutic work” (Anne Brownell 2001).
Outcomes of Voice Movement Therapy include:
-Improved self-expression, self-confidence and self-esteem
-Improved self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-image
-Improved body image and body/mind integration
-Improved independence and assertiveness
-Improved concentration and focus
-Improved ability to control impulsivity
-Improved emotional intelligence and emotional maturity
-Improved verbal and non verbal communication skills
-Improved social and interpersonal skills, including the ability to recognise and respect boundaries and interact with peers and adults
-Improved levels of co-operation
-Improved coping and problem solving skills
-Reduction in tension and stress
-Improved breathing and breath control
-Improved ability to ease and manage anger, anxiety, nervousness and depression
Gina Holloway Mulder
1 Hour Session
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