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December 2022

Musical associations in psychotherapy

Journal/Book: American Journal of Psychotherapy. 1974; 28: 288-291.

Abstract: Discusses the significance of musical associations in the context of psychoanalytic therapy: (a) They can have an emotional meaning to the patient, and like any other kind of association, may lead to signficant material. (b) Under certain circumstances they may confirm an interpretation and thus reinforce a newly gained insight. (c) They may serve as a form of communication when the patient cannot express himself verbally. (d) They may represent both the expression of a feeling and resistance against the examination of the feeling. Excerpts from the clinical records of 3 patients are used to illustrate these hypotheses. ABSTRACT 2: Describes the 5-yr psychoanalysis of a 20-yr-old male professional musician. The factors which determined the choice of his instrument are discussed, as well as the function served by both music and the instrument itself. As his oedipal conflict unfolded in the analysis and the dynamics of inhibited exhibitionistic desires were being worked through, the musician's talented playing was severely, though transiently, affected, yet for the first time he was able to compose his own music. It is suggested that the change from playing the music of others to creating original music can be understood in terms of "transitional" phenomena.

Note: musical associations; significance in psychoanalytic therapy 5 yr psychoanalysis; musical playing ability & ability to compose music; 20 yr old male professional musician

Keyword(s): Psychoanalysis ; music ; psychotherapeutic processes

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