First studying at the New England Conservatory and California State University, Marilyn Sue Immoos, PhD, concluded her early education at Mozarteum University Salzburg in Austria, and embarked on her career as a concert singer in Vienna in 1974. Fascinated with the human voice and the effects of music on human emotion, she decided to involve herself in psychology and joined the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center as a part-time assistant psychologist and trainer and the Fischhof Institute of Managerial Psychology as a part-time managerial psychologist in 1979. This work overlapped with her time as a mezzo-soprano with the City Theater in Luzen, Switzerland, from 1981 to 1984.
In 1986, Dr. Immoos worked as a music therapist at the Psychiatric University Clinic in Basel, Switzerland, before becoming the founder and the director of the Center for Psychology of Voice in Zurich in 1988. She then returned to her studies and earned a Master of Arts from the University of Innsbruck in Austria in 1990 and a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from the University of Vienna in 1993. Since 1990, she has excelled as a freelance concert singer, and she has also served as a conductor and composer for community church choirs since 1993, spending time as a collaborator with the Children’s Church Choir in Zurich from 1994 to 1996.
In addition, Dr. Immoos has been a teacher with the Peoples’ Institutes of Higher Education in Switzerland since 1993 and a freelance vocal coach for the Zurich Opera since 1996. Recently, she has been working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as a senior psychologist specialist in the statewide mental health program. In this role, she has also developed a statewide psychology internship program, and has worked to integrate elements of classical singing and vocalization with various scientific theories as a form of music therapy.
Over the years, Dr. Immoos has done considerable work as a freelance researcher, particularly with AIDS and ADHD, and she co-authored “Reduced Bone Strength and Muscle Force in Women 27 Years After Anorexia Nervosa,” which was published in the International Journal of Endocrinology. She also provided freelance counseling for alcohol and drug addiction during her time in Switzerland. In order to keep abreast of new developments, she maintains affiliation with the Voice Foundation, the Federation of Swiss Psychologists, the California Board of Psychology, the California Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association.
A particular moment of pride for Dr. Immoos was the last big concert she gave outside of Zurich, which occurred when she was 50 years old. It was a charity gala concert to benefit the refugees coming into Switzerland at the time. Dr. Immoos had taken two refugees into her home, who had lost a much beloved library in their flight, so part of the gala was to help raise money in order to them to begin their collection again. In her psychotherapy work, she finds incredible gratification in working with children, and developing techniques to help stimulate their creativity while improving concentration, as well as all the breakthrough moments she has with patients. Looking toward the future, Dr. Immoos has her sights set on retiring and returning to Switzerland.