June 2008 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
Barada –AD/ SD 7.5 years – four botulinum toxin injections, DVR one month improving voice 45% in 2002, acupressure massage
I attended the clinic because I had a strong intuition that Connie “got it” with SD. Here is a woman who not only had SD and came out on the other side (her voice is lovely), but was obviously dedicated to helping others with this dysfunction find their voices. In person, Connie was as genuine, open and capable as I had thought she would be. She used her huge repertoire of researched therapy tools coupled with her deep spirituality and beautiful female intuition, added to her life experience as a therapist with SD to work with each of us in the way we needed. It was not a one pattern fits all kind of therapy. Each of us worked closely with her and Mike to find his/her own programme. It was professional, safe, inspiring and genuine every step of the way. As for the breath work – there were emotional moments. Learning to breathe and practicing a lot of breathing stirs up a lot. Mike is a brilliant scientist and a patient, genuine practitioner. This is a rehabilitation process. It is not a “Five days and you are cured” program. Rehabilitation takes however long it takes, but it works and will work and has worked for many people. My “programme” of practice is completely different than it was before and my perception of myself and my SD are different as well. The experience was holistic, healing, practical and inspirational. Several friends hearing me on the phone after my return have exclaimed how much more clear, even and less broken my voice sounded. Thank you again and again for this booster shot of hope your own life’s journey and expertise has provided. It has come as a gift of confidence ensuring me that my voice will continue to be more open, free and more beautiful every single day.
Ellen – AD/SD 22 years; traditional voice and stuttering therapy, botulinum toxin injections regularly 2001 – 2004; resumed 2006 – July 2007, chiropractic, acupuncture
While I do not feel I made a huge improvement speaking during the five day clinic, I feel confident that I have the tools to improve my voice. My breathing significantly improved and a lot of tightness has gone so I can breathe deeper with ease. I learned a lot about myself and my voice during this clinic. The way to recover from SD is not by working very hard, but by letting go of the tension and playfully exercising the voice. The sessions with Mike were great, and my voice came back during many of the exercises, making it easier to speak. Connie also gave me good advice and the confidence to regain my voice. The best thing about this clinic is that it really addresses each person’s specific situations and needs. It is not a standardized approach, but a search for what helps each person to recover his/her voice.
Sharon – Mixed SD symptoms 20 years, formal diagnosis 2007 – one botulinum toxin injection; traditional voice therapy
My voice and breathing both improved significantly at the clinic. I would like to tell those with SD that if you have tried everything and still have problems, don’t give up or lose hope. There is help available and it works. You may not get it right away, but eventually you will find the help you need. You will finally get it and know what it is like to speak freely and not have to worry about it. God Bless! This cross is not as heavy as you think!
(On the second day of the clinic, Sharon’s husband did not recognize her on the phone. She had wonderful comments from other friends and family members she spoke to throughout the week and a DVD to prove to herself that her true voice was there inside her)
Tarryn – AD/ SD 7 years – traditional voice therapy, DVR one month in 2006 with 50% improvement
I experienced significant improvement in my voice and breathing at the clinic. SD is something that needs to be shared. Only by attending such a clinic do you have the opportunity to meet people with a similar condition to yours. This makes the clinic a safe place to speak and be free to be yourself, which allows for better progress. Connie is able to tailor advice and suggestions for improvement to the individual and this is crucial as SD is a process and people are typically at different stages. Mike is able to assist with getting in touch with your breathing and finding your voice. If your breathing is stuck/restricted you are not going to beat SD. SD is beatable. Connie is a living testament to this and an inspiration. Keep up the amazing work!
(Several weeks following the clinic, Tarryn reported this in an email: “I have been really pleased with the results so far – I have maintained, which for me is great, and I have been through a lot of tests – my voice has held out – not perfect all the time but GOOD ENOUGH! The feedback is positive.”)
Rod – AB/SD 1.5 years – short trial of voice therapy, three botulinum toxin injections
The change in my voice during my time at the clinic was more of an internal change. I absolutely know my voice is better. I have deeper, more relaxed breathing and have learned to use my breath to “calm” my voice down. Prior to the clinic, I had taken a medical leave from teaching and had effectively “given up” on speaking. A typical day might include speaking 30 words (no exaggeration) with absolutely no phone, drive up windows, etc. After spending five days with Connie and Mike, my confidence and willingness to speak has soared. While my voice is nowhere near 100%, it is now to a level where I am willing to use it and actually look forward to trying it out with family and friends. I am not ready for phone calls to strangers, but I feel I am close! Most important of all, I leave the clinic with a broad array of tools and strategies to continue building my voice, a wonderful group of new friends and absolute belief that my full voice is on the way back. Thank you Connie and Mike; you are truly gifts from God to all of us!
Olga – AD/SD 7 years –voice therapy, chiropractic, herbal supplements
I felt that my voice improved 80% at the clinic. I developed more confidence in myself and a connection with my inner, powerful spirit. The clinic gave me the opportunity to allow myself to connect with others, my breath, my voice and my inner self. I have gained so much more confidence in myself as a whole. I now view SD as a gift, not as something negative. I have a journey ahead of me to enjoy every second of. From the deepest part of my heart, I thank Connie and Mike and all of my new friends that I made for sharing this “awesome” experience. I am POWERFUL!