Music therapy in context – book recommendation

Here’s a great book I’ve been reading recently, particularly the last three chapters about Winnicott, psychodynamic meaning and why people choose to become a therapist.

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Mercedes Pavlicevic writes with clarity and passion, bringing the subject to life with fresh thinking and real-life examples. Here’s a couple of excerpts to whet your appetite…

In music therapy, it is the ’emotional’ creativity – or the individual’s capacity for autonomy – rather than ‘artistic’ creativity, that is being tapped in improvisation, despite the artistic or aesthetic medium being used. (p153)

This comes during a chapter about playing, art and emotion, and shows that music therapy is beyond simply playing music: it can reach an emotional level, connecting with people in ways that speech or other modes do not.

Perhaps, within this passionate discourse, rather than seeing music therapy as ‘alleviating symptoms’, we need to think in terms of intensifying them: invoking and evoking our passions, our rages and excitement, our madness; we need to think in terms of animating our total being, of quickening our spirit. (p182)

Here’s a hint of the passion behind the pen, the knowledge that music is powerful stuff, coming from experience of work with people who have changed during music therapy – leading the author to state that music therapists “need to feel confident in the legitimacy of music as itself; of music as therapy; in the legitimacy of an intuition that is deliberate…”

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