Voice Therapy inspired by Estill Voice Training®

By Laura Martín Bielsa & Alizia Romero

(Originally published en español here)

estill voice therapy Speech Therapy comprises a professional area so wide it’s almost impossible to concentrate on all of its extensions. Each patient presents a specific case with particular characteristics. They can have speech, language, and swallowing difficulties… and speech therapy has to be able to attend those necessities, whichever those are.

Systematically, a clear protocol is followed when a new patient is received. The speech therapist evaluates the voice and consults an otolaryngologist or phoniatrist report to know about their history, and whether there is an injury or not.

When planning what will be done, there is a need for analyzing and understanding the patient’s voice quality. On many occasions, the answer is not found in the pathology, from a morphological point of view. How can the speech therapist inquire about the journey that has taken the patient towards the speech pathologist? How can they analyze incorrect actions of the voice system he uses, which has led them to this situation?

What makes Estill Voice Training useful for speech therapists?

Estill Voice Training® can help by allowing us to listen to the voice beyond the audible product. EVT teaches us to monitor and identify phonatory structures, in an analytic and specific manner. That’s the magical part of this system; it makes possible to locate incorrect and specific behaviors we must “undo” and “inhibit,” so the vocal process becomes healthy and is used in a safe and efficient manner.

Laura Martin Bielsa EstillAs certified Estill Trainers, we know a significant amount of time is required to assimilate to this Model in is totality. But we also know that, when you attend your first Level One, you acquire a new perspective which changes your way of perceiving how the voice is produced and the possibilities it brings. This changes the way you work, because the Model is always present.

Feel, Hear, See… That’s how we work at EVT, but we know the first word is the hardest for our students or patients because this is unexplored territory for many people. Without Estill, the speech therapist doesn’t have many resources allowing their patient to explore the sensorimotor portion of speech therapy. Estill encourages the patient to FEEL so they can be cognizant of their vocal patterns.

We want them to FEEL their voice, its tensions, and to locate, identify, and quantify them. And we empower them, to discover a new way which is not linked to negative and unpleasant sensations in their voices. Through figures and concepts, we “separate” each structure we enable them to speak and sing healthier.

Vocal Health and Estill Voice Training

One of the fundamental principles of Estill Voice Training is based on preserving vocal health, something that cannot be more related to speech therapy. It also implies that patients with vocal injuries derived from dysfunctional vocal behaviors are not the only ones to benefit from working with EVT. People with pathologies that don´t come from the incorrect use of the voice, such as vocal fold paralysis, also benefit from EVT..

Alizia Romero EstillIn the case of unilateral paralysis in abduction, we can use EVT Figures to facilitate biomechanical compensations of vocal tract structures that can improve the glottal closure and the vocal quality without damaging the vocal folds. Thanks to the Estill Voice Model, we can demonstrate how to make healthy compensations in a conscious and controlled manner.

But also crucial to the Estill Model, is to feel, hear, and see for yourself, first. This is a change of a fundamental paradigm. We are not a model the patient mimics anymore; we put ourselves in their vocal point of view. We can reproduce their vocal patterns, controlling what they are doing in each moment. It brings a holistic awareness of the voice while also taking into account the influence of the body, emotional state, etc. Through the understanding of the vocal mechanics by both the Speech Language Pathologist and the patient, the Estill Model allows everyone to achieve their individual vocal goals.

About the Authors

Laura Martín Bielsa is a Speech Pathologist, Vocal Technique and Rehabilitation Voice Pathologies Especialist. Headmaster of the Vocal Therapy Master in CEU Cardenal Herrera University and Estill Master Trainer Candidate.


Alizia Romero has a BA Music Education and a MA in Vocal Therapy. Vocal Coach & Fixer. Estill Master Trainer.


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