Frequently asked questions

Listening sessions at the Tomatis Institute
How long does the average Tomatis program last?

The length of a Tomatis program varies according to the difficulty of the problem to be addressed. That said, the listening program with the Electronic Ear should be of limited duration, if at all possible, the goal of the program always being to enable the individual to progress as quickly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance. For example, the number of program blocks in a Tomatis Centre rarely exceeds three or four, the first block consisting of two hours per day for 15 days and the following two or three consisting of two hours per day for 8 days. Each block is followed by a period of integration during which the individual does not do any listening training. Thus, generally, there is a space of three to four weeks between the first and second block, a space of two to three months between the second and third, and six months between the third and, if necessary, a fourth block.
Why are the listening sessions done in an intensive manner?

In order for the brainís mode of perception to change, it must receive information repeated frequently at a sustained rhythm during a restricted time period. This exercise, like any other, whether mental or physical in nature, brings about a true de-conditioning that allows the body to discover that it can operate differently, and that, henceforth, a choice is possible. Even though this rule of intensive listening sessions is valid for everyone, the effects may be somewhat different according to the nature of the problem to be adressed, the age of the individual, his or her motivation, the time available to him or her, etcÖ The norm is to do two hours of daily listening during an initial block of 15 days. Afterwards, the listening sessions --limited in any case because the Tomatis Method discourages a state of dependency-- rarely continue for more than 8 days and are spaced over several weeks.

Why have pauses?

Just as the brain needs intensive and repeated stimulation in order for change to take place, it also needs periods of non-stimulation in order to structure and integrate the change. This principle holds true for all kinds of training, integration taking place during a phase of apparent passivity after the effort has terminated. It is, in fact, a phase of assimilation. Stimulation represents a disturbance of our organism; we must thus allow it resting time during which assimilation can take place. That is why the normal procedure consists of an initial block of 15 days of daily two-hour periods of auditory stimulation with the Electronic Ear, followed by other 8-day blocks, generally limited in number given that the goal of the Tomatis Method is always to lead the individual as rapidly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance. The first two blocks of the program are spread over three to four weeks, then two to three months go by between the second and the third blocks, then six months between the third and, if needed, fourth block.

Why use the music of Mozart?

After numerous trials with other types of music, we have found that the results obtained by using Mozartís music are amazing, no matter where in the world it is evaluated. In fact, we note that this music is not only very well accepted on every continent but that it also allows listeners to reestablish their own inner equilibrium. In order to understand this effect upon the sense of human balance, we must recall that music is characterized by rhythm, which touches the body; by harmony, which reaches the emotions; and by melody, which calls upon the intellect. According to the classical ideal, these three parameters should be in balance, which is rarely the case, one or the other often being dominant, and, for this reason, producing a rather unusual musical discourse. In the case of Mozart, it seems that this balance was achieved, which may explain the universal character of his music.

Why use the motherís voice?

The use of the motherís voice, filtered in the high frequencies, permits us at the same time to relieve the ear of its function of sound discrimination, to recharge the nervous system by stimulating the zones that have the most ciliae, or receptive hair cells, and to reawaken the individualís acoustic memory of the prenatal period. This memory, whether it carries a positive or negative affective charge, was transmitted by the mother depending upon her psychological state during pregnancy, and was a very reassuring factor simply because it was constantly present. One can observe that, most of the time, the utilization of the filtered motherís voice produces an effect that both soothes and liberates.

Why is the motherís presence indispensable for young children?

The Tomatis Method enables an individual to relive progressively the different stages of his or her development with respect to listening and language, both of which are very heavily involved in the process of communication. This development is initiated well before birth and derives both from physiological aptitudes which mature during the intrauterine experience and from an unconscious desire to enter, or not to enter, into communication. This desire to communicate is influenced by external factors, the most important of which is the quality of the relationship that is established progressively between mother and child during pregnancy. Whatever the quality of this relationship, the motherís voice, perceived by the child during the nine months of pregnancy, represents a constant presence and therefore engenders a special, and reassuringly stable, link between mother and the unborn child. It is for this reason that the motherís recorded voice, modified in a laboratory so that it is similar to the voice perceived auditorily in utero, is often used at the beginning of a program to rekindle the desire to communicate. In most cases, listening to the motherís voice is a positive experience for the child and accelerates progress, provided that the mother accompanies the child every step of the way. In fact, listening sessions with the Electronic Ear will bring about changes in the childís behavior, notably a more or less pronounced phase of regression, which must be not only consciously accepted by the mother but also experienced by her. It is for this reason that, within the framework of the Tomatis Method, the accompaniment of the child by the mother is considered indispensable, provided that it occurs under good conditions. During the childís listening program, the mother will also have listening sessions with the Electronic Ear. These will not only help her to relax but will also help her and the child accept the behavioral changes brought about by the listening program.

Can the Tomatis Method be combined with other therapies?

Yes, and in certain cases such as the following, this may prove to be advisable: it may be that an individual is already in therapy and his/her therapist, cognizant of the Tomatis Method, is aware of the positive effect that listening sessions with the Electronic Ear can produce; it may be that a Tomatis consultant decides that there is no conflict with the client receiving support from another therapy and advises the client to wait until the effects of the listening sessions have been assimilated before beginning the other therapy; finally, it may happen that the Tomatis consultant spots a problem that should obviously be addressed by a different therapy, in which case, from the time that the problem is identified, he will advise the client to consult another therapist, whether the problem is spotted during the course of a listening program or before any training with the Electronic Ear has taken place. In fact, in such cases, the Tomatis Method acts as a technique that facilitates the effectiveness of other therapies. This being the case, there is neither incompatibility nor competition with other therapies but rather support by effectively accelerating their progress. Numerous professionals are aware of this and choose to work either in conjunction with Tomatis specialists or to take the training necessary to be able to apply the method themselves and, thus, to increase the effectiveness of their own professional tools.

Are the gains made during a Tomatis program lasting?

Yes, progress made during a Tomatis program lasts. This is because the gains made are not due to a conditioning but rather to a restoration of balance. Indeed, even though the reasons for seeking help from the Tomatis Method are many and varied, all are related to a malfunction and thus to a more or less severe state of neurophysiological disequilibrium. Ear training with the Electronic Ear will, therefore, tend to lead the individual back toward a state of equilibrium, which, because it is a normal state, requires much less effort than a more or less severe state of disfunction. We can state, then, that, in the great majority of cases, not only are gains made by the individual during the program maintained but also that progress may continue once the developmental process has been restored to its normal state.

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