The Tomatis Method takes its name from its founder, Doctor Alfred TOMATIS, born on the 1st of January 1920 in Nice and deceased on the 25th of December 2001 in Carcassonne, a famous French doctor, an ENT specialist at the Paris Faculty of Medicine and a specialist of hearing and language difficulties. He was the son of a famous singer, Humbert TOMATIS, a lyric bass at the Paris Opera, allowing him from an early age to become familiar with the world of music and opera. This double training, first that of his family background then his medical training, was to play a considerable role in the Alfred TOMATIS's professional orientation, who, very quickly, developed a passion for the relationship between the ear and the voice.
To properly understand Alfred TOMATIS's method, it should be known that he was above all an excellent clinician whose major concern was the care of his patients, whether in hospital or at his own practice where the hard of hearing and singers in difficulty, often friends of his father initially, came to consult him. His extraordinary intuition and his thousands of clinical observations, related to his research on work-related deafness carried out for the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Air and the Marine, allowed him to establish the relationship existing between hearing and phonation, and by extension between listening and communication.
This irreplaceable clinical approach enabled him, over the years, on the one hand to perfect an apparatus named by the press of the time as the "Electronic ear", capable of re-educating the voice by educating the ear, and on the other hand, at the same time make explicative hypotheses of his clinical observations, which came to constitute the "Tomatis effect".
These hypotheses were summarised in three laws which formed the subject of papers given at the Paris Faculties of Medicine and Science in 1957 and 1960; these laws can be expressed as follows:
- The voice contains only what the ear hears.
- If the hearing is modified, the voice is immediately and unconsciously modified.
- It is possible to durably transform phonation when auditive stimulation is maintained over a certain time.
The Electronic ear, for its part, was officially presented during the World Fair in Brussels in 1958, and earned its inventor the Gold Medal for Scientific Research, then, in 1962, the "Grande Medaille de Vermeil" of the city of Paris.
For the following two decades, through successive touches, and never drifting away from clinical observation in which he excelled, Alfred TOMATIS built up what today has come to be known as the Tomatis Method, a true discipline founded on a certain number of presuppositions concerning the way in which the human subject develops, processes information, communicates with him or herself and others, and, finally, learns.
This discipline, of which certain aspects are brought together under the term Audio-Psycho-Phonology, is situated at the crossroads of human sciences, and, as its founder ardently desired, remains, more than ever, in constant development. Its extreme richness stems from the fact that it neither replaces nor competes with any established science, but quite the contrary enables to optimise the positive aspects of the other disciplines dedicated to the assistance and the evolution of human nature, whatever their form: it is for this reason that the users of the Tomatis Method, which have been more and more numerous throughout the world since the end of the 1970s, are always professionals recognised in their speciality.
Finally, Alfred TOMATIS, who, outside of his career as a clinician and a conference speaker, also had the opportunity to teach for many years at the School of Anthropology and the School of Psychologist Practitioners in Paris, as well as at Universities in the English-speaking world, left us numerous books, articles and interviews, of which certain are translated into different languages, allowing us to better understand the basis of the Tomatis Method.