The Journal for Audiology and
Accessing the unconscious
through Reverse Speech therapy
By Marc Iskowitz
Article First Page
A 'hidden language' that provides a window
into the depths of a patient's consciousness may
help clinicians diagnose and treat a variety of
disorders, according to Karen Boone, OMD, PhD.
Dr. Boone, a certified Reverse Speech™
master analyst who is vice president of Reverse
Speech Enterprises, Inc., in Bonsall, CA, and has
a private practice, called Reverse Speech therapy
an alternative modality that can be used as an
adjunct to other modes of therapy for a variety
of problems, such as stuttering, insomnia and
depression. She received her certification in
Reverse Speech through the Reverse Speech
Enterprises training program.
Company founder David John Oates, certified in
hypnotherapy and neurolinguistic programming,
discovered the phenomenon and developed the
technology over a period of 15 years. He and Dr.
Boone, who is also a licensed acupuncturist,
believe that Reverse Speech emanates from the
right brain, although scientific proof of this
has not yet been validated.
"Our brains create the sounds of our
speech to communicate two messages at the same
time-one forward (overt) from the conscious mind
and one in reverse (covert) from the unconscious
mind," Dr. Boone said. Speech "reversals"
reveal what a person is thinking or feeling at
the time of speaking and are complementary with
the forward dialogue.
The Reverse Speech dialect expresses itself
through thousands of unconscious metaphors that
can be heard when typical speech is tape-recorded
and played in reverse. Reversals appear in
concise metaphor approximately 80 percent of the
time, she said. The metaphors represent pictorial
descriptions of the unconscious workings of the
Dr. Boone and Oates attached meaning to these
speech language patterns. The metaphors depict
the core causes and symptoms of behavior, they
claim. Discussions, hypnosis and visualizations
are used to change these pictures and alter
dysfunctional behavior patterns.
The practitioners often work together in
treating patients. She conducts acupuncture
diagnosis and treatment, and he analyzes the
client's Reverse Speech. The addition of herbs
and massage enhance the therapy by helping to
move stagnant energy.
In an initial 30-minute Reverse Speech
session, they ask clients such questions as
"What is going on in your life?" and
"How long have you felt that way?"
The identification of metaphors is
accomplished subjectively by listening to the
speech on a Reversing Machine™, a cassette
player that has been modified to play both
forward and backward at variable speeds. To
isolate the metaphors Oates compiled a Reverse
Speech Metaphor Dictionary, which is added to
"Many times we don't know what the
metaphors mean until we hear them used again and
again in the same way," Dr. Boone stated.
The purpose of Reverse Speech therapy is to
analyze the metaphors and shift dysfunctional
patterns. Understanding metaphors and how they
interrelate explains the source of many problems,
Identifying the means to heal the problem
metaphors and ascertaining that they have healed
may require three or four 15-minute tapings. Once
the metaphors are identified, the clinicians work
with the patient to "heal" the
dysfunctional ones and reinforce those that are
healthy, which is called Metaphor Restructuring™.
A complete round of treatment typically consists
of 10 or 12 sessions over a period of several
For example, the reversal "My wolf is
sick" contains the metaphor for the
motivator or protector of the psyche. According
to Dr. Boone, the wolf is a prime structural
metaphor first described by Carl Jung. Clients
who subconsciously utter this metaphor lack
Similarly, she said, the reversal "My
wolf has fallen in the lake" means the
client?s motivation and ambition in life are
drowning in a sea of emotion. Through unconscious
restructuring, patients can "heal" this
metaphor by identifying with the sick wolf and
then being guided through metaphoric imagery
suggested in their own reversals. As the metaphor
or unconscious script changes, so will their
An example of a positive reversals is "My
goddess shines her light," meaning "I
have hope for the future, and it looks very
A reversal containing the phrase "I will"
or "I shall" constitutes a future tense
reversal, which will come to fruition unless
something is done to change the programming, Dr.
She and Oates use trance work with patients to
restructure dysfunctional metaphors and change
the scenario. Initially, in an awake state the
practitioners ask their clients what they need to
heal their goddess or wolf; then they conduct a
trance following the instructions revealed in the
"Clients might say, 'I have no idea what
I need in order to heal,'" Dr. Boone said,
"but the reversal will generally be there."
She and Oates have used Reverse Speech
therapy, in combination with other modalities, to
successfully treat stuttering, insomnia, asthma
and depression, which is one of the most common
problems. Clients who initially seek treatment
for psychological issues also have reported
relief from certain kinds of pain, including
fibromyalgia, arthritis and recurring headaches.
Reverse Speech also can describe the state of
physical and emotional health, according to Dr.
"Reversals are not governed by the exact
words spoken but by the sounds of speech,"
she said. The same sentence spoken by two people
probably will yield different reversals because
subtle variations in speech alter the reversed
sounds. Nuances of speech such as sighs and
laughter also can reveal reversals.
When played in reverse, normal human speech
contains messages that crop up at an average of
every five to 15 seconds, Dr. Boone noted.
Spotting reversals requires training the ears to
hear a variety of tones. Novices may not always
find reversals on their own, but they are "quite
clear once located. If another person cannot
substantiate a reversal, it's probably imagined."
Forward and backward modes of speech combine
to communicate the total psyche of a person, she
said. In children backward speech develops about
six to 12 months before forward speech.
She has recordings of single-word reversals
such as "hello," "hungry" and
"Mommy" in children as young as 4
months. Their reversals have an ethereal tone to
them, said Dr. Boone. "It's like a chorus of
many voices speaking the same words."
As people age, their personalities tend to
fragment, she said. Their messages rarely are
united in a single sentence like children's;
rather, they are expressed through a multitude of
sentences occurring at multiple levels.
Individuals can self-administer a simple form
of Reverse Speech therapy, said Boone. "It's
a phenomenal self-help tool." However,
"you typically will not hear your deepest
reversals on yourself. If the problem is
something you have taken years to repress, the
ears are not eager to hear it. Generally you hear
the most superficial reversals initially,
accessing deeper levels in time."
There are probably 10,000 Reversing Machines
in existence, Dr. Boone estimated. Although more
people are studying and utilizing the therapy,
"the field is still in its infancy. It's too
early to state as scientific law, but the
validity of Reverse Speech does seem to be borne
out by experience."
Founder and Developer of Reverse Speech
PO Box 678, Noarlunga Centre, SA 5168.
phone: 08 83824372 - international: 61 8
Speech TM is a trademark owned
by David John Oates.
All contents of the web site is Copyright
© 2001 by David John Oates