How Transgender Voice Therapy Can Help Your Transition Process
What is Transgender Voice Therapy?
People who are transitioning from male to female or female to male often wish to pursue modification of their voice to match their sense of identity. Transgender voice therapy can have a positive impact on confidence when speaking in both work and social environments. The impact on overall well being can also be quite empowering.
Transgender voice therapy aims to work with the person to evaluate their pitch, volume, rate of speech, intonation patterns, breath support, body language, and facial expressions to determine what modifications should be made to match their voice to their sense of self. The aim of the treatment is to use a holistic, client-centered approach to make modifications to the voice as natural and easy as possible.
How Transgender Voice Therapy Works
An SLP will assess the person to get a better understanding of the goals they wish to achieve by coming to voice therapy. Acoustic and non-acoustic vocal measures are taken to analyze baseline voice quality. Case history information is helpful in shaping the transgender voice therapy process – information about hormone replacement therapy, gender re-assignment surgeries, and amount of change desired in the voice (e.g. modify it and make it more feminine/masculine or completely feminize/masculinize it?). Hormone replacement and gender reassignment surgeries can all impact the progression of voice therapy. Voice therapy with transgender individuals should definitely be conducted with a holistic viewpoint and approach. Client perception, outcomes, and long-term goals are very important to the overall outcome of therapy.
Transgender Voice Therapy and the Transition Process
One of the main ways that people express themselves is through their voice and communication style. When the voice does not match who the person is on the inside, it can be very disheartening. Transgender voice therapy aims to help individuals match their voice to their identity in an authentic and meaningful way. Alterations may be made to pitch, intonation, breath support, facial expressions, body language, volume, resonance, etc. For example, women’s voices tend to be higher pitched, breathier and more colourful in intonation than men’s voices. Transgender voice therapy aims to increase individuals comfort levels with their voices, so they can easily be perceived as female/male by those in society. This of course is based on research regarding how people perceive gender from voice. Transgender voice therapy should be very individualized and needs to include the individual in the modification process in order to stay true to their needs and values.
Transgender voice therapy is a great tool to add to the transgender process and an important step in the whole transition process. Contact us today to find out more on how we can help with this process!
Linda Saarenvirta is a speech-language pathologist who has been practicing for over 20 years in the healthcare field. She has worked with a variety of communication disorders and clients of all ages. She is extremely passionate about voice therapy and enjoys helping clients achieve their vocal needs. Her client centered approach to therapy ensures all clients maximize their potential and achieve their goals.