Written By Dr. Ron B. Minson
“In the time I have been an eye-witness to Dr. Minson’s trajectory in the field of psychoacoustics, the branch of psychology concerned with sound and its physiological effects, I have noted a few common themes that run through his professional life story: a willingness to go boldly into uncharted territory (rock climbing before it was popular, winter mountaineering, night skiing in remote locations, ice caving), an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an equally passionate desire to help people.
Not everyone gets the privilege of working with their spouse. Yet, we have made it work for thirty-five years. Was it because I said I would help him for ‘one year’ to realize the dream which has now manifested as Integrated Listening Systems? Well, that year passed by almost thirty years ago…
His passion and drive are also what led him to leave his career as a general practice physician to go into the field of psychiatry because in his practice he saw a deep correlation between suppressed emotional pain and the experience of childhood trauma as unconscious factors underlying the emergence of physical illnesses. He hoped to improve healing for physical illnesses by getting at what is often the root cause, namely, repressed emotional pain.
And, so it is to this day. When it is lights out, he can be found reading functional neuroanatomy and its relationship to iLs. Always the consummate learner, he began the study of classical piano at age 48. Little did he know that this study and his life long love of classical music would play such a critical role when it came to selecting the classical music of iLs.
Along with being an avid learner, he has a strong desire to share his knowledge. From the time he was Director of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Mercy Hospital and Chief of Psychiatry at Presbyterian Medical Center in Denver, he offered basic workshops where the door was open to any hospital employee. The lead trainer for iLs for many years, Dr. Minson now serves as Clinical Director, in charge of our clinical team, providing supervision to iLs Associates around the world.”
Integrated Listening Systems, Co-Founder & President
Following his medical training at UCLA Medical Center, he followed what now is clearly indicative of a lifelong passion to serve. He enrolled in the Peace Corp, serving as a physician in Costa Rica. After his two-year service, Dr. Minson returned to the states and soon became head of an innovative medical clinic called the Westside Neighborhood Health Center. In this position he oversaw physicians and health care providers serving the community in all aspects of general health. As he continually observed the correlation between general and mental health, Dr. Minson continued his studies, completing a three-year residency at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dept of Psychiatry. He is board certified in Psychiatry and Neurology.
Ron B. Minson, MD – Therapeutic background
I began my work in psychiatry working mostly with adults and teaching at the hospitals. I never felt I had an innate sense of working with children. However, life brought a different perspective. I have an adopted daughter who struggled with learning her entire life. It showed up early on with speech and articulation issues. Believe me, I learned my phonics backwards and forwards, as I accompanied her to many, many sessions! She did well until that pivotal time – second grade. It was there her teachers said she had a learning disability and was falling behind. We tried everything: special education, tutoring, even psychotherapy when she became more depressed at her low level of gains despite the support. She was unable to take medications due to her sensitivity, so she was condemned to the low moods despite my professional background and the skills of hand-picked professionals to work with her.
When my daughter dropped out of high school in utter despair, it was a low point for all of us. However, an astute friend of ours who was an occupational therapist, told us about a sound therapy that was mentioned at a music conference. Truthfully, nothing clicked. Yet, when my daughter hit a new low a few months later, this therapist came back and reminded me of her suggestion. I was desperate, so we started a program about which I knew nothing. You might imagine that, after years of several interventions, I was dumbfounded to see how well it worked in not only remediating her dyslexia, but also completely lifting her out of her severe depression. I was determined to find out how this worked.
I traveled to Europe to study with Dr. Tomatis. It was a privilege to be with him in the last few years of his professional career. It was just the beginning of my study, but provided a foundation that was phenomenal. My wife, Kate, and I opened a Tomatis center in Denver, Colorado, in the fall of 1990. It was in this environment, working with children and adults of all ages, that I understood my deep learning in the therapeutic use of sound could help so many overcome their challenges. I watched children with autism improve their language, communication, motor skills and behavior. I saw adults regain the enthusiasm for life they had lost years before.
With adults, I learned how powerful sound is in recovering from traumatic brain injury and stroke. I learned things that were totally absent from my medical training. I continued exploring sound in addition to Dr. Tomatis’ method.
From the very beginning, mixing a sound-based intervention with psychotherapy was a great fit. I found that the therapeutic use of music sped up recovery from developmental delays in children, and allowed adults to drop baggage and overcome limiting beliefs that were blocking their joy and ability to live a fulfilled life. Learning blocks melted away, mood elevated, and anxiety evaporated as their bodies relaxed, balance was restored and they landed safely in their bodies. Early trauma and even childhood abuse and neglect from years before, though not forgotten, no longer ruled their lives.
Gradually, many of my early dreams have come true. I remember one of the first teenagers completing her program in my early days doing this work. She was a struggling student and told me on her first appointment that she wanted to become a teacher, but she couldn’t because she wasn’t smart enough. One of the most vivid memories I have is her coming in to see me with a big, beaming smile on her face. I asked what was up. She smiled and said, “I’m smart now.” I said, “Well, I’ve always known that; what makes you believe it?” Her response was, “I got all As on my report card. I can be a teacher now.” I’ve seen this repeated many times over, with children failing the grade level to going to the head of the class. This is what I live for.
I never wanted this therapy to remain only in the clinic. I wanted it to be in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers. The portable Focus System, a true multisensory system including movement, balance, coordination and proprioception, has made this a reality. Now that there is a home-based system, all therapists and educators have access to uninterrupted therapy for their clients. This also meets the needs of those who live too far from a clinic to get regular services.
So, as I near the close of 2018, I am overflowing with gratitude. Would you believe that we now have 10,000 therapists, clinicians and educators trained by our iLs trainers? I am grateful to all the clinicians and educators who trusted me, learned from my experience and have challenged me to continue learning and growing. With all the new, previously unseen genetic and developmental conditions emerging, I sometimes have to say, “I don’t know if iLs can help, but I’ll do my best to ask the right questions.” And when I say that, I will do just that. This is where my curiosity and passion merge again.
Of most importance, I am grateful to the founders of iLs and the entire team for continuing to relieve suffering in the lives of so many. This has been at the heart of my professional career since the beginning.
About Dr. Ron B. Minson
Dr. Minson has dedicated his professional life to the practice of sound therapy in clinical practice with children and adults who have complex neurological disorders. He now devotes his time supervising tough cases that cause many to scratch their heads, guiding clinical training, and writing and educating about his vast experience in this field.