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Personal Process and Sound - the perfect combination

I have just returned from a weekend with my Therapeutic Sound in the Community students and what a wonderful time we had!

Sound used in a therapeutic context can encourage individuals to process 'stuff' but what does this mean and why does it happen?  During the weekend the word 'process' came up which has prompted this article for discussion...

What does it mean to process?  Here are some definitions

1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result: the process of digestion; the process of obtaining a driver's license.

2. Progress; passage: the process of time; events now in process.

3. To gain an understanding or acceptance of; come to terms with: processed the traumatic event in therapy.

So a process is something that takes place over time and allows us to move from one state to another.  In my book, 'Sounding the Mind of God' I mention Harry the Hermit Crab who needs a new shell.  On an energetic level this is what is happening - we are raising our consciousness when we process and are growing.

When we are exposed to therapeutic sound there are many things happening on many different levels.  On the physiological/neurological levels if the sound is relaxing it is likely that 5 minutes or more will entrain the system.  Therefore the brainwave frequencies will run a predominently lower frequency (alpha or theta), the heart rate, blood pressure and respiration will drop.  The chemical processes will alter, and cortisol levels are likely to fall.  The sodium/potassium levels in the system would also balance themselves which is necessary for good health.  Neurochemicals such as dopamine (associated with pleasure responses) could be released, giving the receiver an uplifting and 'feelgood feeling'. 

There is so much going on..

On a physical level the sound will be resonating with similar frequencies in the body which may or may not produce an effect.  Some people feel the sound working at the site of an old injury, or in  a part of the body where attention is needed, others receive a much needed 'sonic massage' and are relieved of tension and pain.

On the emotional level some people experience joy, anger, sadness and other emotions as the sound resonates through the system.

On a mental level people may feel relaxed and as a result memories and/or visual images may come to mind.  These may or may not be accompanied by an emotional charge/response.  Beliefs and unhelpful thoughts may surface as the individual reflects on the memory/belief.

On a subtle (energetic) level one may feel the sound expanding the energy system.  Chakras that are having difficulty processing the prana/chi in the system may let you know they are there by feeling restricted or getting warm or cold.  People sometimes feel a buzzing through the body like an electrical charge which is as a result of an increase in circulation due to the decrease in muscle tension as well as the energy in the system receiving a much needed boost.

All of the above is part of your process and how you make sense of this is the transformative part. 

Certain techniques and instruments move the energy through the body in different ways.  Over the years I have noticed that although each personal process is different, there is also a general rule of thumb where different instruments are concerned.  These can be used to a greater or lesser degree to encourage certain processes.  The drum, for example, is very good for dense imbalances and manifestations on the physical level.  When used for brainwave entrainment, such as in a shamanic journey, the continuous rhythm is beneficial for helping people achieve an altered state therefore shifting consciousness.

The sonic signature of the crystal bowls allows the energy system to relax and expand, and when used following other more harmonically complex instruments, can allow the system to achieve a greater sense of relaxation.
As these resonances are experienced we do our best to make sense of what is happening.  This is a really important part of the process because we know that sound+intention creates the healing effect (Goldman).  Quantum physics has shown us that when we consciously direct our intention we are able to influence energy.  This allows our system on all levels to be shown another potential way of being and results in a shift of consciousness which can leave you feeling a little ungrounded (in my book I talk about holding patterns in more depth if you want further information on this).

Your process can also result in de-toxing and feeling tender (physically and emotionally) for a few days following a treatment/workshop.  This is ultimately a good thing - you may like to talk to a sound professional for some support if the effects are worrying you or if you need assistance with the reflection process. 

It is at this point that you can choose to grow into a new way of being or snap back to the old state (even if you choose the latter it will never be exactly the same because an intervention has been made -  you are in the driving seat of your process so this part is up to you.  If you need help and support with this process, then once again, speak to your sound professional for guidance.

In my workshops and courses I always work from this standpoint.  Feeling the resonance, being aware of the resistance in the system and on what level it is manifesting, reflecting on what this means without hooking into a story (or if you do, being aware of this), taking responsibility for your process and using certain techniques to release and transmute the imbalance.

I hope this has been useful - I could go on and on!  For further reading please see 'Sounding the Mind of God' and/or my other articles, or contact me with your thoughts/feelings  

If you would like to work in this way for personal use then please join me on a workshop - see the diary or my website

If you would like to work with these methods as a therapist or practitioner then please contact me or see the diary for the next professional course.

Enjoy the wonderful world of processing through sound!

Lyz Cooper

Sounding the Mind of God, O Books

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