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October 2021

Finding a Balance between Psychological Thinking and Musical Awareness in Music Therapy Theory - A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Journal/Book: British Journal of Music Therapy. 1999; 13: 5-20.

Abstract: There is a growing body of literature which suggests that it it possible to provide safe therapeutic encounters without reference to non-music dervied theory (Lee 1996), and that music therapy theory should preferably spring from an understanding of creative musical processes alone (Ansdell 1995). The writer sets down a number of critical objections to this 'absolutist' position (outlined by Pavlicevic 1996) and proposes that music therapy theory needs to derive as much from psychological thinking as it does from musical awareness and , indeed, from an understanding of the connections between the two. Psychoanalysis offers just one psychological perspective on which to draw. There are many equally useful perspectives, such as developmental theory which the writer first introduced to the music therapy literature (1979) as a result of her early research (1978). This paper focuses on basic psychoanalyic concepts in an attempt to identify how awareness of musical experience alone cannot provide the music therapist with the means to ensure safe, effective therapuetic practice. The practical application of these concepts is then illustrated with extracts from two case studies.


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