Systemic Listening Therapy Training
Systemic Listening Therapy (SLT) is primarily an auditory treatment method. It targets and optimizes the various processes essential to our sense of hearing in body and mind. It promotes a person’s self-organizing, creative and communicative potential. Below you will find a more detailed explanation of each keyword.Systemic Listening:
Human development unfolds itself through relationships. Our senses take in information from the world around us as well as from within our bodies and connects them. This process produces a new “unit”, a subjective reality. What appears to us as a person is in fact the result of numerous communicative interactions. Under favorable circumstances an integrated structure emerges that is intrapsychic as well as interpersonal: a person with a sense of self-worth who is able to relate to others in a meaningful and engaging manner.
Within the concert that is made up of a person’s senses and subsystems Systemic Listening Therapy focuses particularly on the sense of hearing. The communication based act of listening occupies a special place in a person’s development. Already during the prenatal life sounds and rhythms govern our development. Within the “sound space” of the womb the child experiences the sounds from its mother. Her voice takes center stage. It elicits the child’s attention and interest, sensitizing it to speech and awakening the desire within for human communication.
Therapy as a developmental support
Given that our sense of hearing enables communication, it takes on an essential part of listening therapy. The first and most important step is for the therapist to connect and begin the formation of a relationship with the child, the parents or the adult. The second step is to recognize the individual strengths and weaknesses. Therapy is a voyage of discoveries that take us to the innermost treasures and developmental potential, allowing us to shape life creatively and confidently. Systemic Listening Therapy supports this developmental journey with listening to selected, edited music, active exercises and through extensive conversations.
By relating to the client the therapist becomes a part of their relational world. They enter into a form of resonance with the client. The therapist simultaneously helps to reflect on and mirror events. Both of these aspects speak directly to the words of the American psychologist and infant researcher, Daniel Stern: “At first I thought that one could explore the child’s experience through a purely intellectual approach. Gradually, however, I realized that my interest was not based on curiosity. These were the beginnings that I wanted to trace, because they wanted to lead me to the real, the innermost essence of human nature. After all, we were all children once.”
When we speak about children for example, we always talk about ourselves in the literal sense of the word. We are deeply moved by our self.
In order to become an instrument in body and mind, a therapist who can connect and harmonize with another’s resonance or dissonance, one must possess a high degree of self awareness as well as the ability to evaluate oneself objectively. This is the reason the training program requires students to experience listening therapy themselves. Regular supervisions further support the professional work with clients.
Reflecting on one’s own work and the exchanges with other treatment systems is part of Systemic Listening Therapy. We observe the phenomenon of listening through the perspective of various disciplines.
Systemic Listening Therapy is grounded on the ideas of developmental psychology and developmental neurology.
- Our understanding of audiology and psychoacoustics are derived from current scientific knowledge on anatomy and physiology of hearing and central auditory processing from H.P. Zenner, H.P. Hesse, E. Lehnhardt, M. Spitzer and J.G. Roederer.
- Systemic Listening Therapy draws from findings in Depth Psychology as described and understood by C.G. Jung, D.W. Winncott, J. Bowlby, J. Lichtenberg, as well as humanistic psychology (C. Rogers, V. Satir).
- The findings of neurobiology are also significant for systemic listening therapy. These include G. Hüther, A. Damasio, J. Bauer, W. Singer, M. Spityer and L. Eliot.
- Systems theory approach (G. Schiepek, H. von Foerster) and constructivism (F.J. Varela, P. Watzlawick) are present in Systemic Listening Therapy.
- Also included are art therapy (E. Wellendorf, G. Schmeer), traumatherapy (L. Reddemann) and prenatal psychology (L. Janus).
- Philosophical and spiritual aspects also play a role in how view our world and fellow humans. Respecting each individuals' way of life is fundamental. Each person’s independence must be respected and protected.
The origin of Systemic Listening Therapy
Systemic Listening Therapy is an advancement of the Listening Therapy that was created by Dr. A Tomatis in the second half of the 20th century. Dr. A. Tomatis had already studied hearing with cybernetic theoretical models in the fifties. During this time he was the first to scientifically prove the relationship between listening and the voice (known today as the audio vocal loop). Another scientific pioneering achievement was the discovery and exploration of prenatal hearing. Dr. A. Tomatis termed his research approach “Audio-Psycho-Phonology”. This referred to the relationship between listening, psychological processes and communication. The discoveries, experiences and recent scientific findings that were garnered by this method have influenced the Systemic Listening Therapy concept. The primary technical apparatus and methodological procedures for the Tomatis Therapy were developed approximately 40 years ago. The characteristic aspects of this treatment method are as follows:
- An intensive and individually adapted sound stimulation of the hearing sense with use of a technically validated procedure.
- The simultaneous transmission of the music through the air as well as bone conduction.
- The use of especially selected music: symphonic and concert works by W.A. Mozart, Gregorian songs, and if possible a recording of the client’s mother’s voice.
- The music is processed with the use of specialized electronically controlled amplifiers and filter systems.
- Noteworthy are the high-pass filtering and use of a noise gate.
The original concept of Dr. A. Tomatis has been further developed and enriched by Systemic Listening Therapy:
- New diagnostic procedures supplement and refine the diagnostic methods developed by Dr. A. Tomatis.
- Recent neurobiological as well as neuropsychological research results define the objective, methodological approach and the integration of systemic listening therapy into a holistic therapy concept.
- A therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist is vital.
- The technical equipment has been optimized with respect to the sound characteristics and processing capabilities. The new digital technology creates wealth of possibilities for a more refined therapeutic work.
- The new sound media were produced at a high artistic and technical level. Their energetic and dynamic overtone spectrum reaches partly over 21kHz.
The concept of systemic listening therapy is one that is still growing and open to evolving. It seeks to absorb and bring together new ideas and insights.