About The Book

Here’s How to Teach Voice and Communication Skills to Transgender Women is a detailed guide to help speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide instruction for male-to-female (MtF) transgender women during their transition process. This program guides SLPs to safely modify a MtF transgender woman’s voice through behavioral modification therapy. SLPs can teach this population how to modify their voice through good vocal hygiene, vocal relaxation, breath support, pitch, resonance, breathiness, and verbal and nonverbal communication exercises.

This text presents the Voice and Communication Program for Transgender Women (VCMtF Program), which was developed to train graduate speech-language pathology students how to deliver voice and communication services. The purpose of this text is to share the VCMtF Program with other SLPs who will provide voice and communication services to transgender women. The VCMtF Program is unique because it is easy to use, manualized, and systematically targets voice, verbal communication, and nonverbal communication. Included in this text are resources for the clinician, an introduction to the VCMtF Program, methods and materials for assessment, and comprehensive program sessions.

The VCMtF Program is divided into eight sessions with step-by-step instructions for every exercise. Each session is organized using material lists, approximate times, teaching methods, check-ins, feedback, and homework. There are check boxes to mark off the completion of exercises in each area of the program and there is space for the SLP to make clinical observations. Exercises and targets are set up within a hierarchy so that the level of difficulty may be tailored to each client’s abilities and how far she has advanced in the VCMtF Program. Also included is a PluralPlus companion website with videos to support the exercises used in the program.

About The Authors

Abbie Olszewski, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Nevada, Reno who brings social issues into her work. With over 20 years of clinical experience, she translates her passion and skills to help underserved communities in the areas of language, literacy, and transgender. Throughout her career, Dr. Olszewski has focused on clinical skill development for future practitioners, which informs her work with students and clinical services in the community. In recent years, her research has supported the Transgender Voice and Communication Clinic at her university. She is an effective and engaging public speaker who believes basic communication is a civil right for all.

Selah Sullivan, MS, CCC-SLP, is a practicing speech-language pathologist whose master’s thesis, ”The Exploration of a Combination Therapy on Voice Feminization for Male-to-Female Transgender Individuals”, provided the framework and prototype for the Voice and Communication Program for Transgender Women (VCMTF Program) used today. Sullivan began researching transgender voice modification to prepare herself for the University of Nevada, Reno’s pilot Transgender Voice and Communication Clinic. She has presented posters on male-to-female voice modification at the Nevada Speech and Hearing Association (NSHA) Convention in 2014 and the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention in 2015. She continues to provide voice therapy and participate in voice modification research.

Adriano Cabral, BA, MFA, is the assistant professor of Acting in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a certified teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and has presented at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) annual conferences. His research focuses mainly on LGBTQ representation in the arts and training techniques for the LGBTQ-identified actor. As a voice teacher, Cabral focuses on helping his students physically and philosophically discover their authentic voice.

Table Of Contents


Part I. Introductory Materials

Chapter 1. Resources for the Clinician

  • Competencies for Working with Transgender Women
  • Terms and Definitions
  • Ally Training
  • Overview of Working with the Transgender Population
  • Improving Your Skill Set
  • Counseling Your Client
  • Building a Team
  • Resources to Build a Team

Chapter 2. Introduction to the Voice and Communication Program for Transgender Women

  • Theoretical Framework
  • Manualized Components of the VCMtF Program Sessions
  • Overview of the VCMtF Program
  • Meet and Greet
  • Description of Pre-Session Part 1, Pre-Session Part 2, and Mid-Program Check-In
  • Description of VCMtF Program Sessions
  • VCMtF Program Overall Schedule

Chapter 3. Assessment

  • Overview of Assessment
  • Case History
  • Collecting Data
  • Assessment Points
  • Assessment Considerations for Research
  • Satisfaction with VCMtF Program

Part II. Voice and Communication Program for Transgender Women Program Sessions

Chapter 4. Meet and Greet

  • Meet and Greet Preparation
  • Meet and Greet

Chapter 5. Pre-Session Part 1: Introduction to Vocal Dynamics

  • Pre-Session 1 Preparation
  • Pre-Session 1

Chapter 6. Pre-Session Part 2: Setting Your Client up for Success

  • Pre-Session Part 2 Preparation
  • Pre-Session Part 2

Chapter 7. VCMtF Program: Session 1

  • Session 1 Preparation
  • Session 1

Chapter 8. VCMtF Program: Session 2

  • Session 2 Preparation
  • Session 2

Chapter 9. VCMtF Program: Session 3

  • Session 3 Preparation
  • Session 3

Chapter 10. VCMtF Program: Session 4

  • Session 4 Preparation
  • Session 4

Chapter 11. VCMtF Program: Session 5

  • Session 5 Preparation
  • Session 5

Chapter 12. VCMtF Program: Session 6

  • Session 6 Preparation
  • Session 6

Chapter 13. Mid-Program Check-In: Reviewing Vocal Dynamics

  • Mid-Program Check-In Preparation
  • Mid-Program Check-In

Chapter 14. VCMtF Program: Session 7

  • Session 7 Preparation
  • Session 7

Chapter 15. VCMtF Program: Session 8

  • Session 8 Preparation
  • Session 8

Chapter 16. Program Session Materials

  • SM1: Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for Level of Commitment
  • SM2: Character Profile Worksheet
  • SM3: Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for Habitual Voice
  • SM4: Ideal Identity Profile Worksheet
  • SM5: Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for Ideal Voice
  • SM6: Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for Informed Level of Commitment
  • SM7: Vocal Hygiene Handout
  • SM8: Piano Graph Handout
  • SM9: Condensed Piano Graph Handout
  • SM10: “Lake Tahoe” Reading Handout
  • SM11: “At The Zoo” Reading Handout
  • SM12: “The Walrus and the Carpenter” Reading Handout
  • SM13: “Nonsense Alphabet” Reading Handout
  • SM14: “The Goops” Reading Handout
  • SM15: Charades Handout
  • SM16: Self-Reflection Scale Handout
  • SM17: “Sick” Reading Handout
  • SM18: Barrier Game Handout
  • SM19: Taboo Handout

Praise for the VCMtF Program


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