By Rafaele Joudry
Rev Sarsha Carpenter, Psychologist and healer, has travelled her own long road to recovery. She was introduced to Sound Therapy during her studies, to help her tinnitus which had left her house bound. Immediately Sarsha found she was sleeping through the night for the first time in years. Then her tinnitus faded and her dizzy spells, caused by Meniere’s syndrome, disappeared. She realized that her hearing had improved, when she asked her son to repair the blinker on the car that was making a strange clicking noise. He informed her that the noise had always been there, she just never heard it before!
A grave setback came when, in her final year of study, Sarsha had two strokes and lost her ability to speak. Doctors said she would never finish her degree. She listened to Sound Therapy 24 hours a day and in two months had made a full recovery and graduated the following December.
Sarsha now cares for her father, who has dementia. She started him on Sound Therapy and was amazed that he suddenly became a caring person, interested in hearing about her day.
Sarsha now offers Sound Therapy as part of her healing practice.
While it helps ear disorders, stress, sleep problems and learning difficulties, one of the most interesting areas of Sound Therapy is its impact on psychology.
The role of psychology in our hearing and the psychological implications of the whole hearing process were explored in depth by the French ear doctor, Alfred Tomatis, over the past fifty years. Tomatis distinguished between hearing as a passive process and listening as a conscious, intentional act. We are capable of tuning out our listening or of focusing it on a subject that interests us. The ear is directed by the mind, and without this direction it does not function.
Both the physical and psychological aspects of hearing begin earlier than we may think. Hearing is our means of verbal communication and thus it is the foundation upon which human relationships are built. The first of these relationships is always the relationship with the mother, which begins in the womb. Dr Alfred Tomatis was one of the first to investigate the auditory environment of the foetus. His theory was that the auditory relationship between baby and mother lays the foundation for all our other relationships and is therefore the crucial point of intervention to bring about change in the person’s psychological response to sound and language.
Opening the Ear
Dr Tomatis speaks of ‘the opening of the ear’, an occurrence which happens on the combined physical and psychological levels. It can be gradual or sudden, dramatic or almost imperceptible. It means that the ear has regained its natural, full responsiveness to sound. The degree of noticeable effect depends on the degree to which the ear was closed off to sound. It also means that the psyche has adjusted and opened its receptivity to sound and that early traumas have been released.
One of the ways that Sound Therapy brings about this opening of the ear, is by using sound to exercise the middle ear muscles. Another component can be the rearranging of the route by which sound is conveyed to the auditory cortex so that there is more efficient relationship between the ear and brain.
The effect, once the ear has opened is that the brain is receptive to the re-charging effect of high frequency sounds. At this point, listening to Sound Therapy music will increase the energy levels of the listener as well as helping in many cases to resolve deep, psychological blocks. Tomatis states that the original functions of the ear in our evolution were to maintain balance and to provide the brain with energy. Language is a secondary and later function in our evolution.
Healing at the Breast
The following is a quotation from the book Sound Therapy: Music to Recharge Your Brain by Patricia Joudry and Rafaele Joudry.
“Dr. Sarkissof, a psychoanalyst, speaking at the International Congress of the SECRAP in 1972, describes certain patients whom he had agreed to analyse, rather reluctantly, not holding a great deal of hope for their cure. He states: “The results of these analyses confirmed my doubts as to the possibility of completely curing these patients. The more time passed the more I doubted that I could succeed in obtaining anything more than an improvement of their condition — I decided to let them undergo treatment with the Tomatis apparatus. Not only did they accept willingly, but they accepted with gratitude and high hopes, and I realised, although they had not spoken of it, that all of them were fully aware that treatment by psychoanalysis alone could not completely cure them. The material they offered at the sessions then changed radically. In each of them the Tomatis apparatus brought to light fantasies of a return to the mother’s breast and to birth, and the analysis of these fantasies was accompanied by a clearly visible transformation of their entire personality. All these patients shared a core of unconscious autism: their emotional contacts were without warmth and life, their analyses went round in circles without uncovering any particular cause of resistance, which meant a basic difficulty in communication. Sound Therapy rapidly reduced this core of autism. In the space of a few months, the autism gave way to a joyful, outgoing self-awareness, and their co-operation in the analysis became fruitful. My personal reservations regarding these patients gave way to great optimism as to their ability to get well completely.”
It has been said that we are all homesick for the womb. In the days just after birth the infant’s ear is still filled with liquid, so it continues to hear through a liquidian milieu. When the ear drains, it has to adjust to hearing through air, and this is when birth becomes realised on the auditory plane. The filtered sounds of Sound Therapy imitate the uterine auditory environment so that the listener re experiences the birth through the auditory sense. Sometimes this is accompanied by visions or memories of the birth or of being at the mother’s breast. Sonic birth is the reliving of the birth experience and transition into the world through sound.
Author and speaker Rafaele Joudry (BSW, MSc Psych) was raised in the fifties by a radical mother who believed in unconditional love, extended breast feeding and respect and nurturance for the child: many of the child raising ideas that have become a lot more accepted today. Rafaele and her mother popularised the work of Dr Tomatis with their books and the first portable program on audio cassette. Rafaele and other practitioners now lecture to many groups on the use of the method in Australia. Her second book, Triumph Over Tinnitus includes a variety of treatments both wholistic and conventional, physical and psychological to assist with the troubling condition of ringing in the ears. Her most recent book, Why Aren’t I Learning? : Listening is the Key to Overcoming Learning Difficulties, underscores the importance of early intervention and sensory integration for children experiencing learning, sensory and psychological problems.
For more information and a referral for a free consultation in your area contact:
Sound Therapy International on Aust:1300 55 77 96