The Voice Keeps the Score: Sound as a Portal to Embodiment

Thursdays: May 2︱May 9︱May 23︱May 30︱June 6

*Note: No class May 16

9:00 - 10:30am PST
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60 minutes + 30 mins Q&A

Recordings will be made available to registrants for 60 days


Continuing Education Credits
Live and Home Study CEs:
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Having a voice is a fundamental part of being human and allows us to connect to others in healthy ways: to communicate our needs and desires; to speak up when expectations have not been met, or when boundaries are over-stepped; and to connect and to share our innermost worlds.

When escape from a life-threatening or attachment-threatening situation is impossible, the body and the psyche adapt to survive. These adaptations can endure, particularly if they are successful in ensuring survival of the body and/or of the attachment relationship. The absence of agency, protection and a compassionate witness takes away our capacity for agency, effective boundaries, authentic expression, and natural voice.

Trauma lodges in the body, mind, spirit, and in our voices.


Voicelessness becomes synonymous with choicelessness.


Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel are survival adaptations.

We stifle the voice or any sound, and speaking is painful. Paradoxically – and understandably – many of us leave our bodies when we speak, or develop a part of self that takes on the role of speaking and interacting. Alternatively, for some of us, there was no one there to listen to us, in joy or in sadness or in fear…so we live and express as if in a vacuum.

Healing involves reconnecting to one’s capacity for vocalization in an embodied way, and starts with interoception of cues of safety. Sound vibration is our first experience of attunement and attachment - of safety - and can be accessed through intentional vocalization.

The vision is for a five-part dynamic interactive workshop series - part didactic and part experiential - where we learn about sound as the first portal to attachment and attunement, and then we play with various expressions of vocalization. I will guide you through various somatic cues that can enhance communication effectiveness.

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Who should take this course?

The intended audience is anyone who has had struggles with and is seeking to reclaim their physical and metaphorical voice! This can be expressed as challenges around authentic expression, particularly around the communication of needs and boundaries.

Particularly for femme folks, individuals in a body racialized by society, disabled bodies, neurodivergent bodies, individuals who were traumatized as children.

Because silence equals safety, it can feel extremely dangerous and activating for the nervous system when we begin the journey of exploring and reclaiming our voices, needs, and boundaries.

Perhaps you've been attending somatic workshops and boundaries workshops...and yet there's something missing when it comes to interpersonal effectiveness. It's the voice!


Schedule

Class 1: May 2, 2024

Deconstructing our stories about our voices

  • The neuroscience of trauma and the voice
  • Develop a relationship with our voice and deconstruct the narrative that we have developed about our voice to encompass an appreciation for how our voices adapted in order to ensure survival
  • Explore the neuroscience of trauma and the voice
  • Playfully engage with embodied whole-body vocal warm-ups to prepare for vocal curiosity
Class 2: May 9, 2024

The mechanics of the voice, the social engagement system and the threat system

  • Theoretically and experientially explore the mechanics of the voice and sound-making
  • Using Polyvagal theory and Reichian-based somatic approaches, develop an understanding of emotional anatomy - how our experiences shape our neuro-muscular system and therefore our voices
  • Critique the peer-reviewed research about the relationship between disrupted attachment, trauma and the voice
Class 3: May 23, 2024

The Five Elements of Vocal Expression

  • Engage in Barbara McAfee’s Five Elements of Vocal Expression framework for exploring earth, fire, water, metal and air voices, thereby fostering the transformative potential of enhancing communication effectiveness
Class 4: May 30, 2024

Sound as a portal to attachment and embodiment

  • Develop an understanding of in utero development as it pertains to sound as the first portal to attachment and attunement
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how in utero and early postpartum experiences can re-shape the neuromuscular system and psyche
  • Engage in experiential activities based upon early infant development and to experience receiving sounds and vocalizations as a portal to attachment, and, therefore, to embodiment
Class 5: June 6, 2024

Boundaries and the voice

  • Engage in experiential exercises to explore how the body tells you yes, no and maybe
  • Engage in experiential exercises to explore how your body responses to yes, no and maybe
  • Engage in experiential exercises to explore how your body receives support, and how the receiving of support can shift your relationship to yes, no and maybe
  • Engage in experiential exercises to explore how your body receives protection, and how the receiving of support can shift your relationship to yes, no and maybe

Learning Objectives

  1. Develop a relationship with our voice and deconstruct the narrative that we have developed about our voice to encompass an appreciation for how our voices adapted in order to ensure survival
  2. Explore the neuroscience of trauma and the voice
  3. Playfully engage with embodied whole-body vocal warm-ups to prepare for vocal curiosity
  4. Theoretically and experientially explore the mechanics of the voice and sound-making
  5. Using Polyvagal theory and Reichian-based somatic approaches, develop an understanding of emotional anatomy - how our experiences shape our neuro-muscular system and therefore our voices
  6. Critique the peer-reviewed research about the relationship between disrupted attachment, trauma and the voice
  7. Engage in Barbara McAfee’s Five Elements of Vocal Expression framework for exploring earth, fire, water, metal and air voices, and thereby fostering the transformative potential of reclaiming one's voice
  8. Develop an understanding of in utero development as it pertains to sound as the first portal to attachment and attunement
  9. Demonstrate an understanding of how in utero and early postpartum experiences can re-shape the neuromuscular system and to engage with receptivity in receiving soothing songs and vocalizations as a portal to attachment and, therefore, to embodiment

My Voice Origin Story

In October 2011, I reluctantly agreed to lead a four-class meditation series, fueled by a desire to share the gift of meditation into the world while also equally terrified of being seen.

Four people turned up.

If I saw you looking at me while I was looking at you, I’d go into a freeze response. My solution: turn down the lights and close my eyes while I talked slowly and softly.

I was scared of the sound of my own voice amidst the silence of the room.

I survived this ordeal, revamped my class content, and then taught again. This time, an eight-class series. I would refer to notes on a clipboard, and draw on large pieces of paper stuck to the walls, and move my eyes between a spot in the back on the room and the side walls (to give me other things to look at, and to move around the room which would stop me going into frozen terror).

I learned to lean into the silence of the space, where the only sound was my voice. Lengthier pauses for silence ensued, and more and more people kept coming to my classes.

After class, the voice in my head would chatter non-stop about all the things I didn’t say, and critiquing all the things that I did say. I learned to discharge the excess adrenaline through shaking it out and doing some yoga.

These days, I speak publicly and teach. A lot. Inhabiting my voice and allowing my voice to become embodied through me has been the journey of a lifetime.

This course weaves together me-search, we-search and research from the fields of vocal expression, the somatics of embodiment, in-utero and childhood development, and vocal expression. Part didactic (lecture and research), part experiential (invitations to be curious as we engage in experiments and activities), and part collaborative learning (yes, you are invited to share your lived experiences and how your body and nervous system responds to the experiential exercises into our learning community), this five-class series will leave you with practical skills and soulful meanderings to enhance personal self-expression and communication effectiveness.

1. The Voice Keeps the Score: Sound as a Portal to Embodiment

$200.00 USD

Online Course

Included features:

  • 60 Day Access
  • 7.5 CPD - Continuing Education Credits
  • Certificate of Completion

In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, participants do not need to attend live.

In the spirit of addressing historic and systemic barriers to participation, there are several equity pricing scholarship spaces available for this training. Priority of access for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals living with disabilities, and individuals living with lower income. Please contact: [email protected] with your request.

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