stories from people like you
Below you will find a series of true stories of some
of our clients.
» Finding Your Voice: Smart Music for Life
» A Depressed "Floater" who couldn’t Focus finds a New Lease on Life
» A Mother talks about her Daughter’s Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD)
» Young Woman Lifts herself up from Feelings of Near-Suicide
» A Speech Therapist Shares her Observations
by Emilia Flores-Elizondo
The Listening Centre - Tomatis Dallas
Most of us go through life barely coping with all that is "required": relationships, family , school and work. We seem unable to find the time or energy to fully enjoy what we do. We often forget our own potential. The heavy load covers us up and we feel the door has been closed shut. For many people, the Tomatis Method opens that door:
Through many unpleasant experiences in life, M. Ann had learned not to listen. At 53, she had no energy, was emotionally fragile, and had a hard time making decisions. She enjoyed her work but found it difficult to stay focused. M. Ann was very aware of everything that wasn't working for her. She needed to revisit and uncover her natural qualities, skills, intelligence, energy and inner beauty that had now become hidden. In spite of all this, she was still motivated to find something to make her life easier and more complete. She found the Tomatis Method, and discovered her real voice:
"I am a teacher of young children and, as time passes, I see that this is no accident. I've
always been intrigued by how people learn and why it is more challenging for some, even when
they test out as "average" or "above average" intelligence. I was a child who couldn't
"get it" or, if I could, couldn't retrieve it. As I have studied and observed myself
and the children I work with I have come to believe that we can do more to prepare
children for a lifetime of learning.
As a child, and throughout much of my adult life, I lacked confidence and was blocked
emotionally. My reaction to challenging situations was either to withdraw or to have
emotional outbursts. I was a people pleaser, not wanting to make waves. My thinking was
disorganized and I couldn't retrieve words or thoughts that translated into verbal or
written communication. I mumbled hoping that people would think I had added to the
conversation, not wanting them to comment on what I said so I wouldn't feel stupid. My
greatest fear was that I lacked intelligence and the ability to be creative. When
the rare person in my life, like a college English professor and drama coach, tried to
encourage me, I couldn't hear them. Secretly I held on to their words throughout my
I feared that something was wrong with me because I had no goals. My life just happened to me and I had no trust that I would ever become anyone that amounted to very much. The few intimate relationships I have had were painful and did not work. Much of my life was spent in "fight or flight."
Luckily, I have been a survivor with a sense of humor, much curiosity and the drive to learn about myself and others. My search led me to the Tomatis work in 1993. The Dallas Listening Centre brought the Tomatis Program to New Mexico. When I started the program, I was encouraged to work with art materials, look at art, read poetry or just to sit while I had on headsets attached to an electronic device. I was listening to filtered Mozart symphonies, and concertos, and to Gregorian chants.
At first, the art materials were very intimidating to me. There was that old relentless voice saying, "You need talent to participate in art experiences."
Gradually, as I allowed myself to explore with the art materials, I answered that critical voice with a new voice, my own, "But I'm having so much fun!" No longer was the gathering of materials and the encouragement of others the only option for me. I now realize too that writing is not only a challenge, but can be a release and another door to creative expression.
I remember when I felt the miracle of Tomatis. I was in a cubicle doing an active listening exercise, hearing and repeating into a microphone what I heard. Suddenly I could hear from an ear that seemed to be on top of my head. I began crying. It was a peak experience. I heard my voice for the first time during that session. I didn't know that I had never heard my own voice.
Obviously, my daughter had not heard this new voice either. In a long distance conversation she asked, "Mom, what have you been doing? Your voice sounds different."
If I had to say what I gained from Tomatis it would be that I feel an increased sense of freedom, balance, aliveness, energy and trust in my life. Life is less frightening. My eyes and ears have opened to all the beauty and support that has always been there. I can better acknowledge it and take it in. My life feels more peaceful and I feel part of the great mystery that is unfolding. The Tomatis program helped me to see myself as an intelligent and capable person. I am more willing to take risks that in the past would have been devastating and debilitating.
My dream is that this program can be made available to the many adults and children who've given up on their ability to learn and to live their lives fully and creatively.
What is the Tomatis Method? The Method was created by a French Ear Nose and Throat Doctor named Alfred Tomatis.
Briefly, it is as a sensory integration method that uses sound stimulation to develop and improve listening. This is accomplished by means of an electronic device created by Dr. Tomatis, that modifies Mozart music, Voice and Gregorian Chants to train listening skills.
Hearing is the passive reception of sound, you either have a functional ear or you don't. Hearing is not Listening. Listening is an active focusing process. It implies a motivational component.
As stated by P. Madaule in his book "When Listening Comes Alive", "The sounds of the Method are designed to reproduce the main stages of development from the point of view of the ear, starting well before birth and continuing until the time we learn to read and write" (Madaule, 1991)*.
The Listening Training program based on the Tomatis Method is divided into two Phases. The Passive phase, which exercises and trains the ear to Listen effectively by using filtered sounds and the Active phase, that emphasizes voice exercises and will maintain your Listening skills in good shape.
As in M. Ann's case, it is possible as adults, to carry, from childhood behaviors, emotions and perceptions that do not serve us in leading a fulfilling adult life.
The Tomatis Method allows us to reestablish a dialogue with the stages of our development that hold us back and waste our energy. It gives us the possibility to hear a broader range of frequencies, and allows us to improve our ability to listen to ourselves and to others without distortions.
If we can have a different and more clear perception of who we are and where we are in the world, we can communicate more effectively and can live our lives more fully.
Although not all difficulties are listening related, improving ones listening abilities translates into an easier more consistent ways to increase energy, organizational skills, process information more accurately, improve balance and coordination, enhance musical abilities and learn new languages.
Fortunately, people like M. Ann, have continued to search and have found a door open. We often hear comments like this:
"Since my headaches finally stopped, I have been Wonderful! It is like a dark cloud lifted off my head and I feel great. I feel more mentally healthy than I have in a long time. I came to the Listening Centre very skeptical of how it could help my daughter or myself but I have been amazed at how great the outcome has been. I feel like I have my life back!"
Once again, using the Listening Program as a tool for growth, another door opens.....
* MADAULE, Paul. "When Listening Comes Alive" Toronto: Moulin Publishing, 1993. (p.19).
The following letter was written by a
44-year old man who went through the Tomatis Listening
program. This is what he had to say:
My experience at The
Tomatis Center was a
very positive one. Some of the results that are really changing my life
An increased energy level. Before I never
had enough energy to do anything. Now I do. What I really enjoy is the
perseverance to keep going on a task. This is very exciting because I
have severe ADD and to remain focused on a task the way I can now was
Previously, I was unable to focus.
Nothing I started ever got completed. This resulted in repeatedly
falling into a deep depression. Now it is really fantastic to live life,
to be happy to be alive, instead of wishing I was dead.
Before I lived my life like a
"floater." I never made a decision about anything. I could not
see a choice. If the wind blew me that way, I went that way. If it blew
me the other way, I went the other way. Now I see I have choices about
everything and I feel like I’m starting to live life.
The following is a letter we received
from a San Jose mother who enrolled her daughter in the listening
program at one of the Tomatis Centers.
Our daughter is 10 years old and has a
developmental delay with a motor planning and balance problem. It is
difficult for her to learn, express herself and to play with other
During the first week of therapy, we noticed improvements and she has continued to make
progress ever since. She has learned to swim, catch a ball, and is
learning to ride a bike.
Academically, she has also made big
advances. She can now recognize letters and numbers, is beginning to
count and add and is recognizing a few words. Additionally, before the
program she could not concentrate for more than 10 to 15 minutes. Now
she can easily concentrate for 45 minutes to one hour…a length of time
more in line with her peers. Her listening comprehension has also
dramatically improved. For the first time in her life, she is listening
to the radio, music and books on tape and is enjoying them!
Also she is able to express herself much
better and is having an easier time playing with other kids. She is more
patient and less reactive with others because she can understand and
participate in conversations now. For the first time, at the end of a
day, she can sit down with her father and tell him what she has done
during her day.
Furthermore, she is beginning to recall
past events and information and process these things. She is making
connections between past experiences and what she is now learning rather
than learning each bit of information in isolation without being able to
transfer it to other areas of her life, as she used to do.
The changes in our daughter have been
profound. She has begun to notice the changes in herself and has much
more self -confidence and happiness in her life. We are very grateful to
the people at The Tomatis Center.
When she came to one of
the Tomatis Centers a few
years ago, Camille had been severely depressed for several months and
was seriously considering suicide. She could not sleep, barely ate and
had been unable to work for a long time. She had a poor sense of
boundaries and had often been abused by men.
Because of the severity of her problems,
she received counseling sessions in addition to the Tomatis Listening
Program to help her stabilize. After three days, Camille reported that
she was sleeping a lot, cooking and eating well, and that she felt less
During the first phase of her program,
Camille reported a gradual increase in her energy level and a sense of
well-being that she had not felt for a long time. All the symptoms of
her depression disappeared. Right after the first segment of the
program, she found a job.
In the following months, as she was
completing the program, she took a hard look at her relationships and
started to develop a healthier sense of boundaries. She didn’t feel
depleted any longer by old and unresolved conflicts.
What was fascinating to watch was how she
took charge of herself very rapidly. Sound stimulation brought new
insights to her constantly and she acted upon them. In her relationships
with men, she didn’t tolerate being abused any longer. The depression
quickly became a memory. Five years later, she called to thank us again. She was now happily married and had her first child.
A speech therapist
who has been referring students a The Tomatis Center
for years reports
the following observations from both her students and from their
Improved auditory discrimination of
speech sounds, which has aided the remediation process for
articulation disorders that are typical of school-aged students
(words containing the sounds: r, s, z, sh, eh, j)
Increased verbal sharing as well as
more compassion and thoughtfulness of others
Improved memory of things learned in
Improved athletic skills (like
dribbling a ball, riding a bike, hitting tennis balls)
Above all, confidence in themselves
through breaking away from Mom and trusting themselves to take risks
Joyce C., speech therapist,
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