Episode 52: Voice as a Mirror for Inner States

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson with guest Laura Stavinoha

Release date: February 12, 2024

In episode 52, Chris and Emma talked with Laura Stavinoha, who offers singers and speakers coaching and counseling about the voice and personal development through her company, Use Your Voice. Laura is the author of the book Voice: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment and editor-in-chief of the Dutch Positive Disintegration website. She will join us in Denver this summer to present her work at the 2024 Dabrowski Congress.

The human voice is a tool for communication, and a reflection of our inner state. Laura discusses how the voice can provide insights into our emotions, stress levels, and personal development. She says our voice is connected to the nervous system and can be influenced by our emotions. When we experience feelings such as nervousness, excitement, or anger, our voice can undergo changes. This connection between emotions and the voice is well-known, as many of us have experienced our voices trembling or becoming shaky when we are anxious or stressed.

We talk about the role of overexcitabilities in the voice. Overexcitabilities are heightened sensitivities and intensities that can manifest in different ways, including in the voice. For instance, individuals with psychomotor overexcitability may have rapid speech patterns or a tendency to talk compulsively. Individuals with imaginational overexcitability may experience rapid shifts in thoughts and ideas during conversation.

Laura describes how the voice can be a symptom of the conflicts and tensions that arise as we strive for personal growth and self-actualization. These conflicts can manifest in our voice—e.g., feeling constricted or unable to express ourselves authentically. Dynamisms are inner forces that can manifest as inner conflicts and tensions that arise during the process of positive disintegration. These conflicts can be reflected in the voice, through hesitations, inconsistencies, or changes in tone.

Laura explains that the autonomic nervous system influences the voice in the same way it influences other bodily functions like heart rate and breathing. Regulating the nervous system through practices like meditation or yoga can have a positive impact on the voice. The human voice can provide valuable insights into our inner state. It can reflect our emotions, stress levels, and personal development. By paying attention to our voice and working on its development, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and enhance our communication with others.


00:03:34 How Laura discovered the theory

00:07:34 Laura’s path to authenticity

00:14:23 The importance of purpose

00:17:00 Reflection on developing one’s voice

00:18:39 Do you like the sound of your own voice?

00:22:33: Chris’s voice issues

00:27:11 Tension and the voice

00:28:28 When Laura’s voice failed her

00:30:28 OEs and the autonomic nervous system

00:34:26 How OEs manifest over time

00:37:12 Jamie’s case and ADHD

00:39:45 Overexcitability and neurodivergence

00:42:00 TPD as a liberating theory

00:43:54 Coexistence of unilevel and multilevel dynamisms

00:47:03 Voice as an indicator of well-being

00:51:09 Going beneath the surface

00:55:05 Doing the developmental work

00:56:51 TPD and polyvagal theory

Overall, working on the voice goes beyond simply improving vocal techniques. It involves understanding the connection between the voice and the nervous system, addressing underlying emotional and psychological factors, and developing a holistic approach to voice development.

Bio: Laura Stavinoha is a musician, performer, writer, producer and coach, with the voice at center. She has a master’s degree in musicology and is trained as a classical singer. She has worked as a project manager and business manager in the music industry, while at the same time pursuing a versatile career as a classical singer, singer-songwriter and live looping artist. Through her company use your voice she now offers singers and speakers coaching and counselling about the voice and personal development. Laura is editor-in-chief of the official Dutch website about positive disintegration and affiliated as author with Third Factor magazine. In 2022 she published her book VOICE: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment.

Resources from this episode

Use Your Voice (Laura’s website)

The book Voice: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment by Laura Stavinoha (Amazon)

Voice Problems as Signs of Positive Disintegration (Laura’s 2022 Congress presentation on YouTube)

Positieve Desintegratie (in Dutch)

2024 Dabrowski Congress page. Registration opens later this week!