Skip to Content


5 Women, Voice-work and Psychotherapy

July 16, 2016 • Lisa Perry

Paying attention to your voice can improve your life. Because the sound of our voice affects how we feel, voice-work be a huge aid in psychotherapy. As thoughts descend from the “head” and emotions come up from the “heart”, our “soul” is revealed through the voice

Disowning the low voice

Dawn is a 47 year old woman who almost always speaks with a very high pitched voice. She said in exasperation: “Whenever I answer the telephone, I’m told to put my mother on the phone. I’m an adult! This is so frustrating!” I asked her to experiment with vocalizing on lower pitches. After doing so for about 15 seconds, she said: “I feel very frightened. I’m not allowed to sound like this! This is my father’s voice and he always hollered.”

Embracing the high voice

Stefany is a 35 year old woman who sings in a community choir. She tells me she’s an Alto. She is convinced she could never sing the part of Soprano. She says: “My voice doesn’t do those higher notes.” At some point during psychotherapy, I encourage her to explore her upper vocal range. She tells me this makes her feel quite vulnerable and weak. She starts to cry and recalls to me how it was not very safe to be a female in her family growing up. Over time, as she explores and becomes more comfortable with her upper range, she finds herself embracing her femininity too.

Voice-work improves social skills

14 year old Brittany tells me she is feeling very sad because “people don’t like me”. She said her teachers get upset with her for being disruptive and her peers think she’s rude. She is talking very loudly to me, even though I am sitting very close to her. Her teacher tells me: “she always speaks with this same loud voice, regardless of the circumstances”. The teacher adds: “her whole family talks this way too”. Brittany is stuck in a particular way of sounding but is not truly aware of her capabilities. She can easily learn to expand her voice so that she can enjoy herself within a variety of social situations.

Voice-work and sexuality

Nicole, a 38 year old married woman, confides to me that she has been feeling depressed for several years now. Adding in that she does not feel inspired in her life, she acknowledges that she has not had a sexual appetite in years as well. Observing how she breathes, I notice she is expanding and contracting her rib-cage only. There is little movement observed in her abdomen and her upper chest does not move much either. With some guidance, Nicole discovers a very full, deep and resonant sound in her voice. Over the next few days, she notices longings for sexuality in her life. Her sexual appetite has returned, but she realizes she is still not attracted to her husband. She knows she is in a quandary now.

The choked voice

33 year Betsy is crying through choked tears, as she tells me about how she has been having trouble reading bedtime stories to her children at night. She acknowledges she has been feeling stressed lately, but most upsetting to her is that her throat has been tightening up on her a lot. She notices the same thing has been happening to her at work too, especially when engaging with certain customers. She doesn’t know what to do.

*The above scenarios are inspired by true encounters. However, each vignette has been altered such that similarity to any actual individual would be purely accidental.

Lisa T Perry Counseling in AshvilleLisa T Perry, MEd, LPC, CCMHC, VMT-R is a Licensed Professional Counselor and registered Voice Movement Therapy Practitioner. She is very aware of how voice and psyche interact and can integrate voice-work into her psychotherapy.


Categories: Expression, Voice

Crazy Thoughts

July 16, 2016 • Lisa Perry

Personally, I think we’re all a little crazy. Why do I think that? Because I’m human and all humans are vulnerable to crazy thoughts… at least some of the time.

Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts? I mean literally. Have you ever observed the exact phrases that run across your mind? Have you ever noticed that sometimes – maybe not all the time – but at least sometimes – that what you are thinking is not actually based in fact?

Definitions of Crazy

What is crazy anyhow?

The Definition of CRAZY according to Merriam-Webster include terms such as:

  • “full of cracks or flaws”
  • “being out of the ordinary” and
  • “distracted with desire or excitement”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think we all need a little more extraordinary in our lives. Sometimes we need to get away from logical and practical and actually get more into our “right minds”. And haven’t you ever noticed the beauty in imperfection? Check out a plant or a tree. If you look closely, do you see the marvelous cracks and flaws?

Where do my crazy thoughts come from?

Our thoughts can come from so many places. We can pick up thoughts from images, emotions, dreams, memories, conversations, media, our senses, etc. The list goes on. We can pick up stuff from almost anywhere. After all, we are all connected. We can hear something on the news; We can remember something from our past; We can “hear” things that have been “recorded” into our memory banks, this list goes on.

Be kind to your crazy human self

Shame never helps. Shame only makes us feel more alone, and dare I say, crazier. How would you treat a loved one if you knew they were struggling with feeling a little crazy? Would you shame them or would you try to help them out? Perhaps you’d even relate to what they are feeling. What would you want if you were in that same space?

Have a sense of humor about crazy

Have you ever noticed that comedians act a little crazy? It’s funny. It’s fun. Sometimes we are laughing so hard it hurts. Sometimes what we laugh about is actually what we find to be the deep down truth. It’s all mixed together somehow – in this big crazy life.

Be creative with your crazy self

Sometimes crazy can be just the right fertilizer to produce wonderfully juicy fruit. Creative problem solving always calls for Brainstorming. We are told to allow all thoughts and ideas flow during the process. Divergence comes before Convergence. Amazing music can come from experimenting with unusual sounds; Great art can come from combining different kinds of media, Compelling stories can come from trying to connect two seemingly disconnected words. Just like there is no stupid question – there is no truly crazy idea.

Choose crazy and Enantiodromia

Anything taken to its extreme turns into its opposite. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Find a safe place and let it out. You can tell yourself “I’m choosing this right now”. That way you can feel just a little bit more in control.

Set “safety” parameters for crazy

When choosing to go with crazy, set some parameters that make you feel safe. For instance: if crazy might be loud, you can choose a place that allows for sound without feeling embarrassed or like you are bothering somebody else. If crazy might be physical, you might choose a place that has objects that won’t hurt yourself or others or things that have value. If indulging crazy may lead to tears or strong emotional expression, you may want to schedule a crazy time with yourself that gives you time to transition to something else. You may consider having your social supports in the wings.

When to call a counselor

If you are feeling overwhelmed or if you just want a little extra guidance and support from an expert, seeking help from a qualified counselor can be wonderful too.

Lisa T Perry Counseling in AshvilleLisa T Perry, MED, LPC, CCMHC, VMT-R is a Licensed Professional Counselor who can find the silly in the serious.






Categories: Expression, Mind-Body, Voice

Find your voice, Listen to your voice

July 16, 2016 • Lisa Perry

We all have a voice. Our voice may not be clear to us or it may be in hiding. We may not like our voice and we may not be expressing it intentionally. But it most certainly is there.

Our voice has many colors and  takes many forms. It may be clear as a bell or hidden among the mist. It may be like a solo violinist or more like the many blended voices of a choir. It may be pleasing to the ear or very painful to behold.

However, if you don’t recognize your own voice, you may not be hearing what it has to say. You may not be taking action on important beliefs or needs. You may not be living your life fully.

Where to find your voice

Fingerprints of our voice are everywhere we look, when we know how to look for it. We can find aspects of our voice in:

Thought Content

Inside your mind you’ll find many ideas, reactions, passions, worries, opinions and beliefs. In fact you might find you have several points of view just on the same subject. You might notice a single word, a phrase or a sentence. You might notice monologues, dialogues and chat-rooms.

Dreams, Images, Imagination

Messages come to us in the form of images by day or dreams at night. We can consciously play with our imagination or we can reflect upon what comes into view at other times.


How we spend our time and our money can say a lot about what we value, what we desire, what we allow ourselves and what we prioritize. Competing behaviors may be an expression of unresolved inner conflict. We can behave unconsciously without consulting our voice, or we can learn to recognize our voice in our actions and then assert ourselves accordingly.


How we move, whether conscious or not, can say volumes about us as well. We may be voicing like or dislike, comfort or discomfort, commitment or ambivalence.


As you go about your day, if you notice what frustrates you, inspires you, makes you laugh, moves you to tears or experience yearning. All of this may be your voice telling you what you feel passionate about or where you may wish to put your energy.

Physical Sensations

Our bodies tell us what we feel by the sensations that get stirred by what we experience and observe in the world. It’s like our body is giving us its opinion on something. It may tense up trying to protect us. It may relax or lean into something. It may be voicing its preference and its concerns.

Nonverbal vocalizations

The sounds we make and how we say things can be very telling. We may be vocalize softly or with more volume, we may articulate clearly or be muffled, we may strike out in high pitch or with a low growl, our voice might sound choked or fancy free. There are a variety of vocal components that conspire to speak much louder than words.

Our Breathing

Whether shallow, deep, expansive, held, rapid or slow, your breathe may be communicating how safe and free you are feeling, among other things.

When you find your voice, you need to honor it

It is very important to give your voice the respect it deserves. Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge it. Sometimes we don’t want to hear what it has to say. Sometimes we just don’t like it. We might find it embarrassing. We might think what our voice has to say is wrong, irrational or even downright mean. We might be terrified of conflict.

But if we try to ignore our voice, it will only get louder. It will only try to get our attention in some other way. We will run the risk of continuing to do things that don’t serve us. We may find ourselves on the wrong end of medical complaints. We may become caught up in unproductive or unsatisfying relationships. We may find ourselves lacking in passion or energy for life.

If we can recognize, honor and express our voice, we can make decisions that help us flow in the direction of our values and needs.

How to listen to the voice you have found

Listen to your voice as an objective observer or scientist. Just the facts ma’am just the facts! If you can listen compassionately – with an eye towards curiosity – lean in and see what it is saying. Remember what we ignore doesn’t go away – it just may act out in some other way.

Remember that just because you are thinking something doesn’t mean you have to act upon it. But if the thought is coming across your mind – it may be trying to tell you something. Perhaps there is something that you worried about, perhaps there’s something you forgot to do, perhaps you have an unexpressed emotion or opinion, perhaps there’s just some junk traveling through. If you don’t pause long enough to listen – it might be hard to decipher what’s important- you might not be fully informed by all of your opinions and points of view.

If during your observations you notice that certain voices are monopolizing and crowding out others – you can make a more informed choice about that too. A worry may be creating repetition in the form of obsessions or compulsions, wasting your time doing things over and over that are sufficiently done, unfulfilled desire may cause you to do things that you later regret – or at times that you would have preferred not to do these things. Perhaps unfulfilled desire is spending too much money or time on something in particular to get its needs met.

If you need help finding or expressing your voice, please contact me!

Lisa T Perry Counseling in AshvilleLisa T Perry, MEd, LPC, CCMHC, VMT-R is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Voice Movement Therapy Practitioner, who loves to help people find and and express their unique voice.


Categories: Voice