One Who Listens Speaks: An Interview With Dr. Alfred Tomatis


Volume/Issue :
Volume 4
Issue 1
(09 - 1989)

Author(s) :

Michaud, Marie-Andrée.

Abstract :

There is absolutely nothing so inviting for any speaker as a good listener. The wise clinician knows this; so does the good radio interviewer. Really making room for what another will say is a dynamic, active affair. This is at the core of Alfred Tomatis' work over the years. Thousands know him as a uniquely sympathetic listener who, when he speaks, goes right to the point-often the deepest and most intimate point-of their lives. "I like to practice counseling just as I once did surgery," he says. In this case the good doctor himself found his listener in Marie-Andrée Michaud, an interviewer with the French-language network of RadioCanada. In their conversation, broadcast in November, 1986, she encouraged Dr. Tomatis to expand on subjects ranging from details of his own birth to the most abstract of philosophical speculations. He accepted the invitation eagerly. The result, excerpts from which we've reproduced here, is a tantalizing introduction to Dr. Tomatis' life and work. It happens to be as well, in both style and substance, an uncanny foretaste of his autobiography, A Life of Listening, which will soon be published in English. ON HIS EARLY LIFE I was two and a half months premature, an adventure which came in useful later on. First of all, the experience gave me a tenacious desire to live, and secondly, it led me into a fascination with intrauterine life. That life for me had of course been lacking, and I always wanted to try to find out what happens in it. So now it's been 35 years that I've occupied myself with this study