Facing the Music: Further Thoughts on Integrating Music into Psychotherapy

G. Paul Blimling

Abstract


In this article, I respond to the insightful commentaries by Karen Riggs Skean (2019), by Richard Harrison (2019), and by Ben Adams (2019) on my hybrid case study of "James," a survivor of chronic relational trauma (Blimling, 2019). These commentaries have stimulated me to think further about the impact of music on my individual psychotherapy work, both with James and with subsequent clients, and specifically with regard to its impact on my approach to group psychotherapy work. In addition, these commentaries have raised particular issues that I respond to, including, (a) constructive criticism by Skean and Harrison regarding the potential further use of "metaprocessing" and the developments made in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) since I completed the Case of James; (b) Skean’s perceptive point explaining how an individual therapist can take a personal passion—like music or literary writing or bicultural identity—and use it to enhance his or her enlivened presence in therapy with a client; and (c) Adams’ thesis that music and psychotherapy both have their origins in the shamanistic practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, suggesting that the combination of psychotherapy and music is a kind of return to our very roots.

Keywords


music listening; music and psychotherapy; music and emotions; experiential therapy; trauma treatment; AEDP; metaprocessing; therapist presence; psychotherapy integration; case study; clinical case study

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14713/pcsp.v15i2.2055

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