Rev. James M. Johnson
May 19, 1989
As I consider Dr. Cooper’s work, I see it as a ministry, providing help, hope and wholeness for people who have reached the point of giving up on ever communicating normally again. Dr. Cooper’s therapy is simple but effective as he teaches us to use our voices the way God intended them to be. And as Dr. Cooper’s techniques work wonders, there is a feeling of re-birth, not just for the voice but for the whole person.
When you’ve come to believe that you have lost something forever…and then receive it back again, it is like a miracle. I can’t describe the joy! And it has brought a new vitality to my ministry. It has been a source of inspiration for my people as they see hope for themselves in dealing with problems that once seemed hopeless. Through Dr. Cooper’s therapy, he restores to those of us who had spastic dysphonia or other serious voice disorders the ability to experience again the very gift God has given us that makes us human: the gift of communication.
Rev. James M. Johnson,
Pastor, Jefferson Prairie Lutheran Church
Update: Remains Cured 15 years.
How Reverend James Johnson found a cure for Spasmodic Dysphonia.
I am pastor James M. Johnson from Poplar Grove, IL. I would like to share with you my experience dealing with a very severe voice disorder. I’ve been a pastor in the evangelical Lutheran church for the last 16 years. And over the course of those 16 years, half of them, 8 years, I struggled with a voice disorder known as spastic dysphonia.
In hopes of trying to find a cure I tried every option available to me. I did speech therapy at local clinics and hospitals. I traveled to Madison, WI, to seek help at the clinic at the University there. In March of 1986, I traveled to Mayo Clinic in hopes that this renowned clinic would be able to offer me hope and help for such a serious problem. In fact they did help by diagnosing my disorder. For after 8 years no one had yet given a name to this voice problem of mine. At Mayo Clinic in March 1996, I was told that my condition was known as spastic dysphonia and that might particular case was rated severe. Mayo Clinic offered surgery to sever one of the nerves leading to the vocal cords whereby I might have some relief in the struggle of talking and maybe even recover some degree of a voice. After having put up with the problem for 8 years I was in no hurry to try the surgery knowing that it would be a very definite resolve. And so I chose to go back to my parish at Poplar Grove, IL.
And it so happened within a matter of a week or two, one of my parishioners handed me a book. It was a book that was about to change my life. In fact it was entitled Change Your Voice, Change Your Life, written by Dr. Morton Cooper of Los Angeles, CA. I read the book with great interest. In the book Dr. Cooper stated that he had worked with patients with spastic dysphonia and that he had great results. I decided to contact Dr. Cooper. Within days he phoned me at my home to listen to my voice and to say that he thought that if I could give him some of my time he was sure I would be able to recover my voice. I decided that I had tried everything else, that this was my last hope. And so in June of 1986, I journeyed to Los Angeles. There I worked in therapy for four weeks working eight to ten hours a day, six days a week, under the guidance of Dr. Morton Cooper. He taught me some simple techniques by which to reverse the breathing and by which to lower the voice and to focus in the mask. Everything he taught me was so simple and so elementary, and yet took much effort on my part in order to break all of the bad habits that I had developed and to relearn to use my voice correctly as God intended it to be used.
I am very grateful for Dr. Cooper for his techniques and for his encouragement that allowed me to recover my voice. Those in my church and those who have known me all of my life feel that my voice has never been better. That in fact it’s better now than prior to my experience with spastic dysphonia. I am willing and hoping that by sharing my experience, others who have reached that point of hopelessness and despair that I myself once knew, will know there is hope, that there are options in dealing with this serious voice disorder, that Direct Voice Therapy can indeed recover the voice for some who are experiencing spastic dysphonia.