In 1986 Yehuda Tagar founded Philophonetics as a form of sound work in drama and in 1991 he founded Philophonetics-Counselling, as a modality of counselling and psychotherapy and as a professional training.

Its theoretical and methodological roots are in Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy, Psychosophy and drama, as well as humanistic psychology and the expressive arts. In 2002 the name was changed to Psychophonetics.

Psychophonetics - A Psychosophical approach

Psychophonetics is a therapeutic and educational profession encouraging individuals to awaken and become more conscious in their own experience and in the world.

This approach offers an expertise in the dimension of experience, between body and soul and the practitioner's expertise is how to develop rapport and conditions for encouraging another person to become more conscious in their life experiences for healing, growth and transformation.

General characteristics

  • views the human being as having a body, soul and spirit
  • each person learns to see their life as an ongoing and unfolding process or journey that has an inherent wisdom, with lessons to learn
  • counselling process is both therapeutic and educational, in which each life experience or situation can teach us something
  • the client is viewed as competent with strengths and resources
  • empathic, encouraging, hopeful and non-judgmental approach by therapist
  • the client's experience of their issue is accepted and respected
  • the formation of a therapeutic alliance as an important collaborative relationship
  • therapy has a focus in the present and towards the future
  • therapy is usually short-term
  • multi-expression approach using a range of non-verbal and creative ways of expression

Model of human nature
  • The human being constitutes and is a member of at least four levels of existence:
1. Physical - mineral kingdom

2. Life forces - plant kingdom

3. Soul/psyche - animal kingdom

4. Self-aware consciousness - human kingdom
  • The human psyche can only be understood, approached and treated in a wholesome way when regarded as living between and throughout body and spirit.
  • The human soul, a term basically compatible with the term psyche, covers all the conscious activities of the human being - mainly perception, feeling, willing and thinking, and their various overlaps and combinations.
  • The human soul extends like a rainbow into the subconscious dimension where it is absorbed into the dynamics of the body, and also into the super-conscious dimension where it is permeated by the inherent dynamics of the spiritual dimension of reality. Elements of both these dimensions are working into the human soul which gradually, as it unfolds in time, grows to incorporate more and more of them into the sphere of its experience.
  • The human body incorporates at least three dimensions of existence:
1. Physical or mineral dimension

2. Life dynamics, formative-forces or etheric dimension

3. Sentient, perceptive, instinctive or astral dimension
  • The ‘I am’ or higher self is regarded in Anthroposophy as the core of one's personality, the central element in consciousness, cognition, biography and memory.
Reference: R. Steiner (1994). Theosophy: An introduction to the spiritual processes in human life and in the cosmos (C. E. Creeger, Trans.). New York: Anthroposophic Press.

The spiritual dimension of reality

The spiritual dimension of physical or manifested reality is recognised as the reality within the physical realm, as a dimension of meaning inherent within this reality. The spiritual dimension can be conceived by human perceptive and cognitive activities, because these are also spiritual in nature (Tagar).

Theory of knowledge

The fundamental commonality between the nature of the meaning inherent in manifested reality and the nature of the meaning experienced in the human psyche, enables thinking which is capable of grasping reality and naming knowledge (Tagar).

References: Steiner, R. (1988). The science of knowing: Outline of an epistemology implicit in the Goethean world view. Spring Valley, NY: Mercury Press Steiner, R. (1981). Truth and knowledge. Great Barrington, MA: Steiner Books.

Human development
  • A spiritual dimension in the sense defined before, underlies human biography, which is regarded as the manifested dimension of an inherent potential, imbued with purpose, intention and character. That fundamental potential precedes conception.
  • Human beings carry an inborn desire and capacity to unfold their spiritual potential and to enable other human beings, as well as the rest of creation, to do the same.
  • Human beings are fundamentally equipped for the journey of their life and education, healing and therapy can support in accessing what is needed.
  • Conditions of difficulties, sickness, complaints and crisis with which people usually ask for professional help are regarded as opportunities for taking a step in unfolding human potential.

Ethics of freedom in counselling
  • The meaning of a person’s experience is determined by that person.
  • Any conscious action by human beings is to be of service for the unfolding of one's potential, and when taken freely, with a choice, enables one to take responsibility for the consequences of own actions.

Role of the practitioner
  • It is based on teamwork with the client.
  • The meaning of the experience and choices of action are not to be determined by the practitioner's interpretation, belief, external reading (based on sources of information other than the client's conscious expression), or advice, but by a common picture and understanding which is evolved between the client and practitioner. The practitioner provides possibilities for the developmental and therapeutic process.
  • The purpose of the interaction is to learn together and allow for the development of the client's consciousness to embrace their experience and to take self-initiated actions regarding that experience.

Basic principles

I. 1nner equipment - Human beings are potentially equipped for the journey of their lives

2. Inner guidance - Guardianship and inner guidance are inherent to the human soul

3. Self-knowledge - The client is the one who knows the meaning of their experience

4. Teamwork - Each session is based on the teamwork of two equally important partners

5. The ‘I am’ - The client's ‘I am’ is given every possible opportunity to enter the process, to guide, make choices, and to know

6. Higher accountability - To include a higher dimension beyond particular beliefs, cultural biases etc – to include a ‘universally human’ aspect

7. A path of personal and spiritual development - Difficulties are viewed as opportunities presented by life for us to learn and understand the wisdom of what these situations have to teach us, to meet our karma. The seven conditions put by Steiner are a guide for this path of development

Reference: R. Steiner (1994). How to know the higher worlds: A modern path of initiation (Chpt.5). New York: Anthroposophical Press.

  • The literacy of experience – the body as a way of knowing. There are four modes of knowing which are non-verbal, pre-reflective and conscious, with the potential for understanding experience without distorting it.
1. Sensing bodily sensation

2. Gesturing and movement to express experience

3. Visualising internal dynamics, and

4. Sounding specific dynamics and experiences
  • It is a methodology of tracing the various aspects of experience and intentional deeds of the conscious self.
  • Experience awareness - Every experience has a specific relationship to the self or ‘I am’ and this relationship can be classified into five activities of experience awareness:
1. I am sensing an external event in my constitution (external to the ‘I am’)

2. I am reacting to the experience if it triggered in me as an instinctive response to a perceived or real threat

3. I am feeling the inner resonance that encounter stimulated in me

4. I am visualizing the movement of the experience, or

5. I am speaking/expressing/sounding the experience, reproducing it in action
  • The use of sounds can be used to represent an experience and can then be used as a metaphor for other experiences. This process enables the tracing, observing and naming of the meaning of one’s experience.
  • It starts from the premise that experience is a real event taking place within the human psyche and body, leaving traces, imprints and impressions that are stored in resonating patterns of sensory dynamics. These imprints of experience can be accessed through sensing, gesturing, visualising and sounding. The correlation between the imprints of sound experiences and the imprints of human experiences in the body enables the method of sound-naming.
  • This modality forms a bridge between approaches which operate primarily through the verbal dimension and those which operate primarily through expression, body awareness and the experiential dimension.

Counselling process
  • Sessions combine the cognitive, experiential and behavioural aspects into one process
  • There is a verbal/conversational component and an experiential/non-verbal and expressive component in each session. Creative artistic methods may also be used as a way of gesturing the experience.
  • Experience is placed within the context of cognition to ensure a fully conscious integration of newly accessed experiential content, which guarantees the ability of each person to be in charge of the direction their process.

Conversation phase
  • A person-centred, humanistic type counselling process with a transpersonal dimension
  • The conversation continues until a common picture is formed between the counsellor and client
  • The client is invited to form a wish in their own language which then acts as a guide or goal for the action phase
  • The client is viewed as the expert of their own experience

Action phase
  • Action starts within an exploration of the lived-experience of the conditions explored in the conversational phase and expressed in the wish.
  • A common starting point is to choose a moment in life in which the issue central to the client's experience is recalled in the present as a lived experience and practical focus to be explored further.
  • From that moment on, the nonverbal modes of communication (action phase processes) are used creatively and are adapted to the particular client's situation, in that particular time and place.
  • The non-verbal skills learnt in the sessions can be practiced and experimented with by the client in their daily life, and used for between sessions and after therapy is completed.
  • The skills learnt can be used by clients in everyday life situations.

General areas / types of issues

1) Exploration/Orientation – exploring inner experience, knowing what is going on (a thinking activity)

2) Encounter/Empowerment – facing fears and being in charge of one’s inner life, being expressive in own life and circumstances (taking action)

3) Resourcefulness - accessing, providing and connecting with resources (being connected with feeling).

In addition to these three major groupings, there are other groupings of clients’ presenting issues and of their stated wishes, which guide the direction and strategic planning for the action phase processes.

These include:
  • overcoming reactions
  • owning projections
  • crossing thresholds – eg. facing one’s shadow
  • psychosomatics - egs. headaches, pain
  • enlivening/sound healing
  • specific topics, with processes for:
        • decision making
        • vocational counselling
        • self parenting
        • heart protection
        • recovery from chronic fatigue
        • grief and loss
        • addiction
        • sexual abuse and other types of abuse
        • panic attacks
        • overcoming fear of public speaking
        • stress management
        • relationship issues
        • overcoming artistic blocks
        • team-building
        • and others

The practical tools of Psychophonetics become a way of self-care whereby experience becomes self-knowledge and life's challenges become opportunities for personal growth, empowerment, healing, expression and transformation.

What we call reality is the meaning we give to our experience and this is a potential source of Freedom.