De logopedische Coördinatietherapie van Elfriede Öcker

2009 June 29
by admin

Demmink-Geertman, E.G. & G.T. Wassenaar-Postema (1983). De logopedische Coördinatietherapie van Elfriede Öcker. Logopedie en Foniatrie, nr 12, p. 476-480.
(Article in Dutch)

The coordination therapy by Elfriede Öcker
The coordination therapy (CTh) was developed by Elfriede Öcker as a holistic approach for the treatment of voice disorders. Öcker was the director of an institute for speech and language therapy in Linz (Austria), and has worked together with Professor Coblenzer, who was teaching at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Vienna. Therefore, a lot of Coblenzer’s ideas were assimilated in the CTh. In fact, Öcker developed an approach, which may be used to implement the exercises of Coblenzer after creating a solid basis. Of course, treatment can only be started after organic disease has been ruled out by medical diagnosis. If necessary, assistance from other disciplines must be evoked.

Speaking as a way to express oneself needs the dedication of mind and body. In the CTh the therapist first observes the whole body in rest, as well as while moving and speaking, in order to detect all aspects inhibiting an optimal phonation. The purpose of this first step is creating a solid basis for respiration and phonation practises. In Coker’s opinion, every design in nature has a purpose. Therefore, bodily functions can only accomplish their special tasks in an efficient way, if allowed to proceed in their own way, thus interacting optimally with all the other bodily functions and systems; so, we have to study the way nature is functioning. In case of disorders, we must try to go back to natural functioning by eliminating all forcing mechanisms. Our purpose must not be changing the natural design, but understanding, and going back to it. Secondly, the therapist pays attention to psychosocial aspects playing a role in speaking. It is generally accepted that voice disorders are partly psychogenic, resulting from psychosocial stress. For instance, speaking in a higher voice in alarming or exciting situations requires several forcing mechanisms such as tensing the throat muscles and breathing in a fast shallow pattern. This is known as verbal emotional expression. If a patient has a lot of problems, tensed throat muscles in combination with respiratory dysfunction can become chronic, and cause implications, not only for his voice but also for his well-being.

The CTh has the potential of providing help to all non-organic problems with phonation, articulation and respiration, and, after medical intervention, also to organic problems in this scope. Although originally developed particularly for voice disorders, the CTh can, due to its very basic and holistic approach, contribute to the treatment of many other disorders. In this respect, we can think of disorders such as stuttering, hyperventilation, dysphagia, globus sensation, facialis parese, TMD, dysarthry or aphasia. It is a comprehensive therapy, and the therapist has to select from its possibilities, thus adjusting to the problems of each individual patient. Application of the therapy gives good results and relapses are rare.

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