This section focuses on vocal misuse and abuse. However, it is recommended that these terms are not used with clients. The terms misuse and abuse may have derogatory connotations and may be interpreted as inferring that a client’s vocal behaviors are in some way willful/intentional. Consequently, to aid positive engagement with the concepts, it is recommended that the therapist talks about ‘lifestyle factors’ and ‘vocal behaviors’ that can detrimentally affect the voice. Some of the more important of these are set out in a checklist.
You may wish to draw clients’ attention to this list in the session but have them complete it as part of their homework practice: they may be disinclined to admit to certain behaviors to group members on the first meeting. As well as identifying detrimental ‘lifestyle factors’ and ‘vocal behaviors’, clients should be strongly encouraged to decide on actions they could take to reduce or eliminate these behaviors. You may wish to suggest that clients write down their goals and plans. Also, if they are unsure whether any of these factors are a feature of their vocal behavior they can be encouraged to keep a diary, recording the type of vocal behavior, when it happened and why. This should provide them with data on which to base their decisions about reducing, and ultimately eliminating, any damaging vocal behaviors.
Lifestyle and Vocal Behaviors Questionnaire
Complete the following checklist that explores lifestyle factors that may affect your voice, together with vocal behaviors that may adversely affect your voice.
If you identify anything that could potentially damage your voice, think of ways that you could reduce or eliminate these factors completely over the coming weeks…and start using them right away.
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