June 3rd, 2014 by Dr. Nina Asher

What is it to find one’s voice?

I like to think of finding one’s voice as a progression involving


Most of us talk quite easily. We find connection in conversing, sharing opinions, tossing ideas around. Often we talk to hear ourselves talking, as we release the anxiety we feel when we are quiet. We also talk to sort out ideas, express feelings, and tell our stories.

In the work of therapy, people begin a conversation with a trusted other in which they can know themselves. This begins with talking, sharing ideas and feelings, and describing one’s experience. Gradually, talking becomes speaking as the words take form and texture. Chatter dissipates, morphing into the speech of deep conversation as the truth of experience emerges. Finding voice is a relational process.

So what is speaking from within? Some people call this wise speech. That is, speaking with the intention of non-harming, and yet, having the words come from an authentic place inside which I call voice. From talking to speaking and being heard, one begins to know the sound of one’s voice. Voice evolves from a quiet presence with oneself. It is an outgrowth of speaking and being heard.

If listening is a big part of the work I do, then speaking is the other side of the equation. People come into my office to share their stories – to find their voice – to be heard and known deeply, so as to release themselves from the confines of old stories as new ones are written. Giving voice to oneself requires a listener – a companion of sorts – in the process of growing and out-growing.