Somatic Psychology - October 2015 - Santa Fe

Authentic Voice: Embodying Our Throat Center

By  Dr. Corine Frankland

 

The throat serves as the vibrational center for self-expression, creativity and will power. At this center, we harness energy to express our inner most thoughts and feelings to the outer world. Whether we are engaging in verbal expression, such as friendly conversation, or participating in non-verbal expression such as dancing, each self-expression provides the outer world—our friends, employers, partners—a glimpse into our inner state of being. Each time we express ourselves with truth and integrity, and are met with openness and acceptance, our throat center is strengthened. When balanced, our voice is resonant, we express with a good sense of timing and rhythm, and our communication is clear. 

 

Yet, each of us, no matter how skilled a communicator, find ourselves in situations where we struggle to clearly communicate our perspectives and needs. Expression requires judgment and balance. There are times when expressing our true thoughts and emotions may be hurtful to others. When we are exhausted or overwhelmed, it may be difficult to formulate a coherent thought or engage in active listening. When we are in a state of fear, we may fight back, freeze, or flee the conversation to protect ourselves. 

 

Communication challenges are further compounded when we are immersed in dysfunction. Parents who have unhealed trauma or are chemically dependent, for instance, ingrain in their children the mantra, "don't talk, don't trust and don't feel." Environments marked by authoritarianism and close-mindedness, such as some schools or churches, may discourage or shame children for asking questions or engaging in creative expression. As these children develop into adults, they play out their early conditioning in their relationships and encounters with other people. When children are taught to stay silent or are shamed for self-expression, they may fear speaking in public or may acquiesce, to avoid conflict. Similarly, when children are not heard or appropriately mirrored by an adult, they may talk excessively, or in an overbearing manner, in an attempt to be validated and “seen” by those around them. 

 

A blocked or closed throat center often manifests as physical problems. For those who have been taught to swallow their feelings and words, energy will often stagnate in the throat, creating conditions such as tightness in the jaw, teeth grinding, and chronic ear and throat infections. Without healthy outlets to express one’s emotions, many turn to drugs, alcohol, or excessive eating to temporarily anesthetize feelings one considers too painful, frightening or overwhelming to express.

 

A healthy and balanced throat center involves becoming comfortable with our own ideas and opinions.  When we feel overwhelmed by our emotions, we can go inward and explore our feelings through journaling or other art forms that encourage self-expression. As we begin to bring form to our emotions, we can seek the assistance of a therapist or trusted friend who is able to hold space, actively listen, and help us check out our fears. Through validation and mirroring, it becomes safer to trust our own ideas and opinions. Through accessing our authentic voice, our bodies and creative lives begin to spark with excitement and potential. Delving more deeply into our own authenticity, we realize the power that resides within honest self-expression. Eventually, we become more relaxed with expressing our opinions, even if they are at odds with those who are important in our life. We are able to hold our own center and integrity when people disagree with us, and are able to self-correct when we slip into unhealthy communication patterns.  

 

As we begin the journey into exercising a more authentic voice, it is vital to be compassionate with ourselves, and appreciate our small successes while understanding that the journey is about progress, not perfection.  When we do healing work to support our throat center, we free ourselves to embody and live more vibrant and authentic lives.

Corine Frankland, Ph.D., is the department chair of liberal arts at Santa Fe University of Art and Design where she teaches courses in women’s psychology, archetypal psychology, and Kundalini yoga.  She is also a somatic polarity practitioner, specializing in anxiety reduction, grief and depression, and women's reproductive health and wellness.

 

You can find her on Facebook at 

Vibrational Healing Santa Fe or visit her website at www.myvibrationalhealing.org

 

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