Therapeutic Listening® as an Approach Not a Program

One of the most unique, yet challenging features of implementing Therapeutic Listening® is that it is not a program, but an approach. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ tool, nor is it intended to be. The essence of Therapeutic Listening® is the practical blend of theory with clinical reasoning. When a practitioner understands the mechanics and foundations of Therapeutic Listening®, it offers amazing flexibility to adapt each listening sequence to a client’s individual needs. Reaching this level of mastery can take time and requires clinical reasoning. However, with a little support, any therapist may effectively incorporate sound into their current clinical practice.


Tweet: The Therapeutic Listening® library is 4 categories, each with specific clinical applications #therapeuticlisteningThe Therapeutic Listening® library is 4 categories, each with specific clinical applications #therapeuticlistening

The broader Therapeutic Listening® library consists of distinct categories, each providing a specific clinical application. Each of these collections of music offers a unique type of electronic modification, specifically selected to support unique functional outcomes. The library is comprised of four unique classifications of music: the Modulated series, the Gearshifter/Quickshift series, the Spatially Enhanced series, and the Fine-Tuning series. In general, the Spatially Enhanced and the Fine-Tuning series are used later in a listening progression to complement the albums in the Modulated category. In order to most effectively use each of these auditory tools, it is critical to match the music (i.e. the unique sound pattern) and the type of electronic modification to the individual’s current needs.

As Therapeutic Listening® protocols are not formulaic, they cannot be mapped out at the beginning of therapy. Instead, to achieve the greatest gains, clinicians are encouraged to choose albums based upon overall progress, response to previous albums, clinical observations, and reports from parents, caregivers, and teachers.

Tweet: Therapeutic Listening® as an approach to treatment goes beyond just implementing the music #therapeuticlistening   Tweet: Therapeutic Listening® as an approach to treatment goes beyond just implementing the music #therapeuticlistening

Establishing Therapeutic Listening® as an approach to clinical treatment expands beyond just implementing the music in treatment, but in supporting the whole body, posture, respiration, oculomotor, and ultimately overall function. Therapeutic Listening® sets up the body and the nervous system for emergent skills that the therapist then builds upon by selecting activities to elicit an adaptive response. The process of individually selecting and adapting activities based upon clients’ needs comes from a comprehensive understanding of the various sensory systems and their integrative impact on function. It is this foundation of knowledge combined with the music of Therapeutic Listening® that underlies our overall approach to treatment.

Top 5 List of Recommendations

How do you start your clinical journey toward mastery of the Therapeutic Listening® approach to treatment? As there is no one “right” path, we have created a top 5 list of recommendations:

1. Select
Select one, initial auditory-based intervention.
Whether you start with modulated music (featured in our Listening with the Whole Body course) or Quickshifts (featured in our Quickshifts course), pick only one series of music to start. If you are unsure where to start, see our Free Quickshifts Webinar Recordings.

2. Explore
Explore the gains from incorporating this one sound tool.
Discover the gains both within the immediate clinical setting and by sequencing the music for home progressions based upon client’s individual clinical picture and functional outcomes.

3. Develop
Develop clear, measurable, and function-based objectives.
In order to accurately assess the effectiveness of the music, therapists need to establish clear starting objectives with the family.

4. Strengthen
Strengthen your understanding of how to assess and support the whole body.
A Therapeutic Listening® approach involves being able to analyze and treat the whole body from both the sensory and the motor foundations. If you are ready to explore this recommendation see our “Course Offerings” for new course recommendations.

5. Expand
Expand your sound toolbox.
Once you understand the benefits and applications of your initial sound tool and are looking for more, it is time to add another series of music to your toolbox.
Let your journey of integrating Therapeutic Listening® into treatment commence!

-Tracy Bjorling, MS, OTR/L

Musical Notes:
We understand that sometimes it can be intimidating starting a new client on a Therapeutic Listening® progression, especially given the variety of musical tools available to you. In the ‘Musical Notes’ section of the Vital Links blog we will aim to highlight topics related to the music and feature specific albums to assist with deepening your understanding of the Therapeutic Listening approach to treatment.


5 Comments on: “Therapeutic Listening® as an Approach Not a Program

  1. I did the TL training awhile back and bought all the music on CD as that was the only medium available at the time.

    I am keen to use the app but would like some discount when buying it again as I have already purchased all the music on CD. Please let me know how this can be arranged.

  2. Thanks, Tracy! It’s always wonderful to hear you and Sheila encourage us to expand our repertoire of clinical tools. I love working with you!

  3. Great advice on how to start using Therapeutic Listening! Any journey begins with a first step. All the following can lead to an infinite number of roads.

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