What is Therapeutic Listening®?
Listening is a function of the entire brain and goes well beyond stimulating the auditory system. It is a voluntary act. Active listening is dynamic and continually adapting. Listening requires the desire to communicate and the ability to focus the ear on certain sounds selected for discrimination and interpretation. An individual actively listens and directs attention to sounds in the environment with the whole body.
Therapeutic Listening is a comprehensive, multi-faceted sound-based approach that involves much more than just the ears. Like other sensory systems, the auditory system does not work in isolation. Neurologically it is connected to all levels of brain function and as a result it has a vast range of influence. How we listen impacts not only our overall physiology, but also our behavior.
Therapeutic Listening is a specific sound-based intervention that is embedded in a developmental and sensory integration perspective. The music in Therapeutic Listening gives the listener unique and precisely controlled sensory information. The music is electronically modified to highlight the parts of the sound spectrum that naturally capture attention and activate body movement, synchronizing it with the environment. Therapeutic Listening uses electronic modifications, along with the organized, rhythmical sound patterns inherent in music, to trigger the self-organizing capacities of the nervous system.
Many therapists currently trained in Therapeutic Listening find it an important addition to their Sensory Integration treatment modalities that can increase the intensity and shorten the duration of treatment.
What makes Therapeutic Listening distinct?
Therapeutic Listening is not a listening therapy approach that consists of one program that must be followed in a certain order. The various albums included in Therapeutic Listening can be arranged in a number of different sequences to address a client’s specific clinical picture and goals. Unlike other listening therapy programs, Therapeutic Listening programs are not formulaic, and cannot be mapped out at the beginning of therapy. Instead, they are more like a dialogue between therapist and client where progressions are based on practical guidelines and on how the client responds to each music selection. Therapeutic Listening is organized to empower the practitioner to use clinical reasoning skills to determine the most appropriate album selection for each client based upon the Therapeutic Listening parameters. The practitioner is able to select the progression of albums based upon client gains and response to the previous music selection. This sound-based intervention (listening therapy) was developed using client-centered principals to function as an individual therapy tool rather than a predetermined program. Not only can Therapeutic Listening be used independently, it can also be used as a tool to complement other sensorimotor based therapies as part of a sensory diet at home or in the clinic. This listening therapy program offers therapists a broader range of applications, making it appropriate for a greater variety of clientele. Therefore, Therapeutic Listening serves as a tool to be used with nearly any sensory-based clinical issue.
Who could benefit from Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening may benefit a wide variety of individuals of various ages who might exhibit:
- poor attention
- difficulties interacting with peers and limited play skills
- challenges with transitions or changes in routine
- difficulty communicating (both verbal and non-verbal)
- struggles with sleep, bowel and bladder control, and eating
- trouble following directions
- challenges perceiving and navigating space
- poor timing and sequencing of motor skills
- difficulties with irritability, mood
- difficulties with regulating their energy level (i.e. too low arousal or hyperactive)
- postural insecurity (fear of heights, playing on playground equipment)
- abnormal responses to various sensory stimuli (sounds, touch, taste, pain)
- poor praxis and motor planning: coming up with an idea, planning, and completing the task
- difficulty responding to sounds and verbal directions
This is not a comprehensive list of individuals who could benefit from Therapeutic Listening. Please consult your therapist to determine if Therapeutic Listening is appropriate for you.
Getting started with Therapeutic Listening
Interested in starting Therapeutic Listening with your child? There are thousands of therapists across the world trained in Therapeutic Listening and are available to help. A Therapeutic Listening provider will be able to assess the unique needs of your child and develop an individualized Therapeutic Listening program.
There are several different options to become a trained Therapeutic Listening provider. By offering both live and online courses, our aim is to suit the needs of every individual and their unique learning style. Register online and view all our current scheduled offerings.
For Providers – Support
Providers must be trained in Therapeutic Listening and have a login to access our Support pages.