Confessions in Voice Therapy and Training
Katherine Verdolini, PhD
Please visit the Members-Only area of our website for an archived video of this event.
As a young clinician practicing in the domain of voice and voice disorders, I had a clear focus. The idea, which dominated my approach for decades, was seated in the notion that the final common pathway in voice was larynx. Of course, respiration, vocal tract manipulations, personality, and emotions, are relevant for voice. However, the conviction was that the ultimate issues in vocal performance and health came down to larynx. Thus, if we can address laryngeal behaviors, our work is done.
My approach was motivated by concerns with traditional approaches to voice, which emphasized the importance of “breathing,” and “personality,” and “identity,” notions vaguely defined. Attendant interventions seemed poorly executed with variable outcomes. After 40 years of clinical practice, I find myself coming back around to the place we once called home—with less arrogance, greater humility, and as importantly, armed with more theory and more data. In this presentation, I will discuss recent data on respiration, motion, personality, physical factors, emotions, and even spiritual issues in voice. I will argue for the critical importance of multiple modalities in voice training and therapy, including exercise physiology, body work, and meditation. I will bring data to bear on these questions and suggest the somewhat unsurprising and yet recently motivated idea that indeed, “voice” resides in a physical, emotional, and spiritual setting. I hope that these ideas will provide fresh enthusiasm for older ideas, with new, crisp directions.
Bio: Katherine Verdolini Abbott, PhD, CCC-SLP, MDiv, holds her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Indiana University, and her PhD in experimental psychology/cognitive science from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior academic appointments have included The University of Iowa, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently professor in the newly established program in communication sciences and disorders at the University of Delaware. Research interests have included hydration and voice, exercise physiology and voice, personality and emotions and voice, laryngeal wound healing, motor learning, and clinical trials. She is a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, from which she also received Association Honors, the Association's highest award.