Focused Listening

Why I Can Help People to Treat Mental Illness (Depression, Autism, Schizophrenia etc)

By Laurna Tallman

In 1997, three family members had been ill for eight years with a mysterious illness. Our daughter was bedridden and appeared to be dying. My husband and I could barely work. We were exhausted. Our muscles were wasting. We were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), an incurable condition with poor options for treatment. One of our sons was dyslexic. By his mid-teens he was addicted to alcohol, cannabis, and hallucinogens. As a professional in educational publishing and research I “knew” that ADD is chronic and incurable. Teachers use “supportive” strategies without expecting to cure the ADD symptoms. Psychiatric drugging of dyslexic children is common. Nevertheless, in February, Daniel was cured of his dyslexic syndrome symptoms [i] within 10 days of treatment with the Tomatis Method at The Listening Centre in Toronto, Canada, while I was cured of my CFS within four days. This method sometimes cured autism![ii] These “incurable” diseases were curable after all—with music! Why did the world not know about this miraculous treatment? Perhaps because the psychologists at the clinic did not know how or why the Tomatis Method succeeded in some cases but in other cases did not.

Our healings did not last. Within a week, Daniel became schizophrenic. I remained well much longer but, a couple of years later, I lost my healing after catching a cold. My intense, life-long interest in human behaviour had entered a room where one of the walls had exploded, revealing an unfamiliar landscape.

I remembered reading a book about schizophrenia where the patient might have caught a cold before developing severe mental illness.[iii] Then, I had experiences that created the same sudden healing of my CFS symptoms as I had experienced with the Tomatis Method. My first recovery happened when I laughed at a TV ad. Have you heard of a branch of yoga centered on laughter?[iv] You surely have heard of journalist Norman Cousins’ successful experiment that healed his illness with laughter.

Our doctor and I reduced Daniel’s medication to a tiny amount, which did not erase his symptoms and allowed me to study them. I noticed—and tested—the changes in his ability to think logically and focus on a task. I discovered a constant pattern, clocking changes in his cognitive function at two-minute intervals.

After another relapse, my CFS symptoms vanished suddenly when a smoke alarm shrieked for a few minutes. I gradually learned that singing and listening to violin music with ordinary headphones had the same healing effect.

It never occurred to me until 2006, when Daniel picked up my headphones and immediately showed changes in his schizophrenia symptoms, that his severe illness could be related, to CFS symptoms or to his original dyslexia. His face became animated. He smiled for the first time in a year. He swayed in time with the music. He noticed a pencil on the table and wrote his name on a piece of paper. (I had not known if he would ever write again.) He began to draw a picture. He agreed to listen to music every day, the way he had at The Listening Centre in ’97. Recalling something I had read 10 years before, I blocked his left earpiece so he was listening only with his right ear. By focusing music only on his right ear, I could draw certain conclusions from anatomy and neurology about how music was changing his ear and re-organizing his brain. My neurological paradigm of right-ear driven left-brain dominance in the integrative processes of the two halves of the brain does not deny the effects of environment and social factors on behaviour, but shows that those are secondary influences on the basic neurology organized by the right ear.

After I had published my book Listening for the Light I learned that Tomatis’s former collaborator, Dr. Guy Bérard, had written a short book on his discoveries, which included important information about depression. Depression is usually a left-ear problem, although it happens rarely in the right ear and occasionally in both ears. He identified the main audiogram profiles for depression, “peaks” of relatively hyper-acute hearing at specific frequencies: for mild, depression at 1 and 8 kHz; for moderate depression at 1.5 and 8 kHz; and for suicidal depression at 2 and 8 kHz. Thus, it is a simple matter of getting an audiogram to know which ear to treat or if both ears need to be strengthened.

Mental and physical conditions caused by ear malfunction will return if the ear comes under further assault or if the ear has not been strengthened sufficiently, which is why Daniel and I were initially healed but the healing did not last. That is why substance addictions and psychiatric drugs that harm the tiny muscles in the middle ear perpetuate schizophrenia and all the other mental conditions that are ear-related: bipolar I, bipolar II, OCD, dyslexic syndrome (ADD, ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression—to mention only the most common. We are having success supporting the ear with Focused Listening during t he withdrawal of antidepressants and other drugs so that the person emerges from the withdrawal process with functional ears and with the underlying condition healed.

You can learn more about the technique of Focused Listening and what it can do for mental illness and other conditions at my website: Please note that I am not a doctor or medically trained. The material in this blog post should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your doctor when undertaking a practice that may affect your health.


[i] Tomatis’s colleague, Guy Bérard, cured 1,850 dyslexic syndrome patients of their chief symptom, i.e., not being able to learn to read, with his adaptation of the Tomatis Method:

Dr. Guy Bérard, from his French clinic, reported the following results in 2003:

  • 1,850 dyslexic cases treated:
  • 1,410 positive results, i.e., 76.2%
  • 440 notable partial improvement in one or more points, i.e., 23.8%

There has been no total failure; treatment has always produced one or more points of positive [correction].”

Spot, Centro Terapéutico y de Investigación at: <>. (Accessed 15 November 2010, my editing of the Google translation). From the book Re-educating Hearing by Dr. Guy Bérard.

[ii] “Mom says “miracle” treatment healed her daughter’s autism,” Toronto Star, 1 Feb. 1991, B1. See also Norman Doidge, The Brain’s Way of Healing:  (New York: Viking, 2015), Ch. 8. For autism healings using Guy Berard’s version of the Tomatis Method, Guy Bérard, Hearing Equals Behaviour (New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1993), x, 53–9, 80, 97, 129–39. See also books written or edited by Annabel Stehli, The Sound of a Miracle: A Child’s Triumph over Autism (New York: Doubleday, 1991); Stehli, ed., Sound of Falling Snow: Stories of Recovery from Autism and Related Conditions (New York: Beaufort Books with the Georgiana Institute, 2004); Stehli, ed., Dancing in the Rain: Stories of Exceptional Progress by Parents of Children with Special Needs (New York: Beaufort Books with the Georgiana Institute, 1995). See also Sharon Ruben, Awakening Ashley: Mozart Knocks Autism on Its Ear (Bloomington, Ind.: iUniverse, 2004).

[iii] Hannah Green (Joanne Greenberg), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1964).





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