How to cure schizophrenia

Pay special attention to today’s important post. Laurna Tallman has given me permission to reprint her original blog post (see below) in its entirety.

I discovered Laurna Tallman’s astonishing research during this past summer when I was lining up further Tomatis therapy for Chris and beginning therapy for me. I read her blog post and was impressed, but didn’t return to it until Chris and I had finished forty hours of standard Tomatis therapy spread over two sessions, one in September and the second one in November. The Tomatis director was very encouraging about Chris’s growing listening comprehension. On my part, I felt after only a few hours of the therapy that my vision has somehow expanded to take in things in my environment that I hadn’t seen before. For example, how come I hadn’t noticed how wide these streets are? Along with this came a burst in me of newfound enthusiasm for living. But, I was none-the-wiser about why this therapy might be well suited for schizophrenia, let alone “cure” schizophrenia. Doctor Alfred Tomatis didn’t have much to say about schizophrenia in his published work. You have to really dig deep to find out about alternative healing for schizophrenia buthey, that’s why I write my blog.

I re-read Laurna’s post a few weeks ago, did a bit of internet snooping around on her other postings, and my first reaction was: How can she be so absolutely convinced that just about all mental illness begins in the ear? (She tends to use italics a lot for emphasis.) My second reaction was: If someone is that convinced then I’d better listen. I’m so glad I did. Her research has put forth a coherent explanation of many of Chris’s puzzling symptoms, allowing me a eureka moment. I suddenly had a plausible, elegantly tied-together explanation for what was going on with him. Finally, I had found someone who’s certain about the causes of a condition that has everyone else throwing up their hands and saying “we don’t really know”.

I’m a believer in Laurna Tallman’s work and increasingly confident that Chris will shed all traces of the symptoms of schizophrenia that have plagued him for years. Using her academic background and herself and her family as the subject of her research, through her “focused listening” technique she has gone beyond the work of Tomatis and Bérard to help people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia become more left-brain dominant (i.e., rational, logical, energized, integrated, and organized). It’s all about strengthening a tiny muscle of the middle ear.

Laura Tallman’s post from the schizophrenia tab of

Check out more information at the CBT tab of


The idea that medical science really did not know any more than I did about what caused schizophrenia was a long, long dawn.

Daniel had been in a provincial psychiatric hospital and then had been moved back to the admitting general hospital. At last, the elderly psychiatrist I had been trying for weeks to contact for information about Daniel’s mental condition telephoned me. “I am Dr. R. You can pick Daniel up today,” she said.

“What is Daniel’s diagnosis?” I asked.

“Acute schizophrenia,” she answered.

“And what is his prognosis?” I ventured.

“Once a schizophrenic, always a schizophrenic,” she replied and hung up the phone.

It occurred to me that no doctor in her right mind would break that kind of news to a parent that way. But I already had reasons for distrusting the kind of “help” Daniel was getting from his psychiatrists.

I made the hour’s drive to the hospital, picked up our oddly subdued son, and asked him as we started home if he would be able to wait in the car for a few minutes while I stopped at the library. In terror as to what sort of things might go wrong if I left him unattended, I ran into the building, found the small section on health, and gathered psychiatric texts, stories by or about schizophrenics, and books about dyslexia into my carryall. My formal education on the state of the art of psychiatric knowledge about schizophrenia had begun.

The texts I read implied that differing forms of mental illness were like different kinds of skin diseases: different, but all happening in the same place — the brain. The more I learned about neurologists’ and psychiatrists’ probing of the brain for the cause of schizophrenia, the more I fell into the trap of thinking the brain became sick in a dozen different ways to produce various mental illnesses. Occasionally, I would encounter a doctor who mentioned similarities between one mental illness or another. In fact, manic depression and schizophrenia have many similar symptoms. Autism used to be called “infantile schizophrenia.” Asperger’s is like schizophrenia in some ways, too. But no one had a theory of how or why these conditions were related.

During several of Daniel’s episodes of schizophrenia I had noticed his ability to focus on conversation wavered and returned. I measured that fluctuation. The intervals were 2 minutes of clarity followed by 2 minutes of confusion to make a 4-minute cycle. The cycle persisted all day, every day. I measured that cycle twice again, years apart, during separate schizophrenic episodes and the results were identical. I knew that some physiological process was driving the changes in his brain. But what?  Between his severe episodes we struggled to help him to defeat his addictions. Sometimes he seemed to improve a little, then, he became acutely schizophrenic time and time again. One victory was titrating his medication to the lowest possible dosage for tolerable behaviour: 0.0625 mg. of risperidone, a minuscule amount. Continue reading “How to cure schizophrenia”

Dr. Tomatis asks the right questions

Something I have not been able to comprehend throughout this whole journey, is what little interest Chris’s doctors have shown in the circumstances surrounding his birth and his time in utero. Chris’s doctors have treated his condition as if it mysteriously appeared in his late teens. I realize now that the gestation period is highly important and provides the first clues to the condition called schizophrenia.

I finally found in Dr. Tomatis a doctor who understands the link, which is really quite amusing because he’s been dead since 2001.

When I filled out the client information form at the Tomatis Center I was given a platform to tell all in response to questions such as:

How long was your pregnancy?
Was there anything unusual about it?
Did you have any worries at the time?
Did you and your partner get along at this time?
How long had you been together at the time?
How many pregnancies have you had?
How long was your labor?
Was there anything unusual about your child’s development?

The Tomatis questionnaire is directed at detecting trauma to the fetus. Trauma can be a subtle as everyday maternal worry and anxiety or it can be something as seemingly innocuous as listening to Black Sabbath or other heavy metal music, listening all day to the constant whirring of propellers or jackhammers or sleeping with the television on. Loud noises are traumatizing to the fetus.

The questionnaire is no place to be coy. I wrote entire pages and then some. I finally got to tell someone about my forty-four week pregnancy, the fact that Chris barely moved in utero, the twenty-four hour labor, my husband’s and my arguments during our first year and a half of marriage, the financial insecurity, Chris seeing space aliens in the park at the age of ten, and so on. Filling out the questionnaire only confirmed the sinking feeling in my heart that the fetal ear hears all and knows all, and some ears are more sensitive than others.

Sound therapy – the Tomatis Method

“Mozart,” I thought, and with the word conjured up the most beloved and the most exalted picture that my inner life contained.

In May this year, immediately after his three month stay in hospital, Chris began the Tomatis Method, an auditory training method developed by a Frenchman, Dr. Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001), who theorized that voice and behavior problems are hearing problems. According to him, the voice only reproduces what the ear can hear.

The human ear, which resembles in shape a fetus, begins to develop a few days after conception and is fully formed by the fourth month of pregnancy. The ear doesn’t sleep. It is the only one of our sensory organs that is alert twenty-four hours a day. Tomatis theorized that the problems of autism, schizophrenia and other disorders stem from the fetus not fully hearing the mother’s voice. If a child is not integrated properly into the early environment, he or she will begin to listen more to certain frequencies than to others, will lose the desire to communicate and will turn inward by listening to her/himself. If you change the way the ear hears, he reasoned, language and behavior change, too.

Each of us has a unique auditory curve, which responds to certain sound frequencies and not to others. To achieve optimal hearing (and therefore understanding) Tomatis invented the electronic ear, a device that filters out certain sound frequencies using the music of Mozart and Gregorian chants. Why Mozart? According to Tomatis, among other things, the music of Mozart encompasses childhood auditory frequencies of 120 beats per minute. The electronic ear filters the music of Mozart to represent the sound environment before birth.
Hesse, Hermann, Steppenwolf, Bantam Books, 1974, pg. 233

Reading between the lines for help

I must say I am beginning to get weary of reading between the lines when it comes to finding helpful therapies for schizophrenia. What I mean by this is that there are many potentially useful therapies out there for autism, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, depression, etc. Rarely does the word “schizophrenia” appear in the list of conditions treated. So, once again, I gotta make the link myself. It’s not like these problems are really all that different, so why does schizophrenia perpetually fail to make the list?

Schizophrenia deserves better. I am pleased that there is now serious focus on autism , but let’s also keep in mind that schizophrenia is more prevalent in the population, and has serious social and economic consequences. In many ways, schizophrenia and autism are not that different, so why this disparity of focus? Is it because schizophrenia happens to adults or is it because schizophrenia is still thought of as untreatable, or both? If you really pay attention, the child who goes on to develop schizophrenia as an adult shares at least some of the traits in one or more of these other conditions.

Chris is currently doing the Tomatis Method. He goes to the center at 9 a.m. to avoid the crush of children at the end of the school day. Tomatis is a method of auditory training incorporating the music of Mozart and Gregorian chants. I had to read between the lines to see if it could be useful for schizophrenia. Apparently, it can be. I understand that the one and only article written by Dr. Alfred Tomatis on his method’s applicability to schizophrenia is in French and has not been translated for a wider audience. I will write more about the Tomatis Method later when I get a better feel for any observed benefits.