Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Disord Commun. 1995;30(4):467-74.

Psychological processes in psychogenic voice disorder.

Author information

Acute Psychology Services, Royal London Hospital, UK.


Using Freud's hysterical conversion model as a basis for reviewing the psychological features in psychogenic voice disorder, this paper describes research findings which show that individuals with this condition are not usually suffering from severe psychopathology but tend to be women who are experiencing high levels of stress (commonly associated with interpersonal relationship conflicts, low self-esteem, the burden of responsibility and feelings of powerlessness), and have above-average musculoskeletal tension as well as difficulties in voicing their feelings or views. The review indicates that the psychoanalytic interpretation of psychogenic voice loss continues to have relevance. However, it is suggested that in most cases Freud's hysterical conversion model should be reformulated, reducing the core focus to unconscious conflicts, repression, denial and secondary gains, in order to emphasise the psychosocial causes and maintenance of intrapsychic conflict and physical dysfunction. It is also suggested that a reformulated psychoanalytic interpretation of psychogenic voice loss has a lot in common with a cognitive-behavioural conceptual model. A psychoanalytic approach may be valuable when focused on early trauma and repressed experiences or feelings, whereas cognitive-behavioural treatment strategies, such as stress management and assertiveness training, appear to be particularly relevant in this condition. The paper concludes by briefly considering some areas of future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center