Sunday, March 14, 2010

Voice Movement Therapy (VMT)

Voice Movement Therapy arrives in South Africa

What is Voice Movement Therapy (VMT)?

The human voice reflects both physical and psychic states and has the ability to convey both cognitive meaning and affective expression simultaneously. It is our primary mode of communication for both ideas and feelings and can move us with words and beyond words. It is the only instrument wherein player and played upon are contained within the same organic form and therefore can achieve its fullest expression when firmly grounded in the body. It has two main channels of communication: the words we say - the symbols we use to convey our cognitive message, and the way we say them - the tones and qualities of voice which express the affective or feeling message underlying what we speak or sing.

The development of language, both in terms of the evolution of the human species and in the progression of individuals from infancy to adulthood, originated in vocal gestures without words and then became joined to acoustic and written symbols. This has often led to a de-emphasis on the emotions behind the words, an essential ingredient which we seek to recapture through the act, and art, of song, and speech which is congruent with feelings. To do this to the fullest extent possible, VMT practitioners believe it is necessary to re-embody the voice, not just from the diaphragm up but through a holistic engagement of body, mind and soul. The more we can connect our vocal output to our physical selves - the more flexible, durable, versatile and responsive we can make it to life as we experience it - the more we can ground ourselves in the reality of our whole being. Working with a particular set of vocal components, breathing and massage techniques, images, ideas, and the sounds and characters that emerge when engaging with one’s own story through the embodied voice, we seek to bring that voice into the world.

This work is currently being applied and expanded by registered members of the International Association for Voice Movement Therapy (IAVMT) or

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