Participants' Experiences -2
Other types of effects
Of a wide variety of effects claimed by participants, the following give any additional sense of the breadth and depth, eg in relation to:
increased capacity (“I can cope with my hearing loss”),
increased self-valuing activity (“I’ve started to nurture myself!”),
increased creativity of many kinds, (“my creative block’s been blown away!”),
inspiration at a job interview (she got the job!),
problem-solving (“I can’t believe I’ve just solved a problem I’d almost given up on – it happened in the middle of a session!”),
weight loss (“I no longer feel the anxiety that led me to eat inappropriately”);
In instances such as these, including the cessation of smoking (see below), it would appear that the experience of connectedness, makes possible an improved level of functioning.
From a participant’s diary entry: “The last half hour has just been a most unbelievable experience. I’m looking after my 14 month old grandson. He’s having a bad day, teething, crotchety and to cap it all he trapped his fingers in the cupboard door. We snuggled down into the chair and rocked. [A song that she’d been having great difficulty with emotionally] surfaced from deep within. I couldn’t believe it, but began to sing quietly to him. He settled to sleep in the warmth and comfort while I sang and cried. Does each tear help to empty that great well of sorrow? My initial reaction is to question and try to analyse what happened – but instead I have just accepted the experience and feel the calm relief ripple though my whole being”.
During a primary school residency, a staff member commented, “all the children seemed to have some sense of inner peace”
“ I got the first full night’s sleep for ages. I dreamed I was singing.” (residential participant after first – evening – session)
“I am finding breathing easier (a life-long problem), and being fully present and ‘getting out of the way’. While I knew before I could affect my feelings through singing, I am now able to do it more.” (Huddersfield course participant)
“I feel so lucky I found the group. It’s been brilliant. It’s been absolutely right for me … The benefit has been unbelievable. I’ve been given a goldmine! It’s been a lifeline. It still is [after end of course]
“I’ve been surprised by my capacity to learn and grow from my experiences both within the group and in everyday life”
“I’ve learnt skills here that I’ve never learnt anywhere else that I can use in my life”
“This experience has altered my perception of music/song. I now often choose to listen to music, not just listening to it but can hear it, see it and feel it deep within. The most astounding discovery is its healing capacity. It has opened my heart and mind to allow song to seep osmotically in and work its magical qualities.
“I can’t imagine life without [GV]. It’s a challenge, an inspiration, a way through to the ‘real’, ‘deep’, ‘true’ part of me, and a source of connection to others …”
“GV is particularly helpful before sleeping”
“I gained in many ways. (After three years), I’ve regained… connection. It was like breathing in fresh, clean air. I would like to express my utmost gratitude…it was of paramount importance to opening doors for the rest of my life.”
“I definitely feel much better about myself as a whole. I’m sure it’s connected with the course – there’s nothing else I’ve been doing that could have had this effect.”
“There were plenty of tears before the course and during homework for the first two weeks, I came through that and felt much better for it. Now I am more energised, empowered and joyful. I feel more confident in general.”
“A new dimension!” (Therapist)
“I have found that those in most need [ including the bereaved and the dying] have found amazing peace and acceptance through listening and absorbing the tape. Thank you”. Nurse/therapist
‘In the first part of the session, I found the answer to a problem that I’d virtually abandoned trying to solve … Thank you! I felt so high about it, I didn’t really pay attention to the rest of the workshop’ participant in United Religions Initiative event
Smoking and drinking
“I’ve tried before and it hasn’t worked … I really feel that [GV] helped me succeed. [Using GV] during cravings meant I actually enjoyed having them and beating them!” Over six weeks after the end of the course she was still happily free of smoking.
Someone who had previously smoked 40 a day claimed that GV led to effortless cessation. She explained, “When I got home after the residential, I didn’t need to turn on the TV; I didn’t need to turn on the radio; and I didn’t need a fag. I just felt all filled up!” Three years later she was still not smoking. She had had no input since, and no conscious aim to give up. The residential was the only GV event attended.
“I could feel Giving Voice helping to heal me inside. I respect myself more (and) the course has given me a good reason to want to stop smoking.”
“Since the course I have felt more ‘peaceful’, and although there are negative thoughts they are not as often. Peace is coming slowly, along with accepting myself…I still have a drink (I drank through boredom), but a lot later in the evening.”
“Now I try to find other ways of alleviating stress rather than drinking or smoking.”