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Bridging Music and Psychoanalytic Therapy

Keywords: music therapy , psychoanalytic therapy , listening , creativity , mourning , transference , countertransference

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The author draws upon theory, training and clinical experience in palliative care music therapy and verbal psychoanalytic therapy. Elements common to both music and psychoanalytic therapy are explored; the centrality of listening, the boundaries and fluidity of time, the importance of containment and expression of affect, the capacity to facilitate mourning, and the inherent creativity of each. Contributions from analytic music therapy are considered. Two case vignettes are presented; the first integrates psychoanalytic thinking into music therapy work with a dying woman; the second, from verbal psychotherapy practise, illustrates mourning being facilitated by the spontaneous use of a song., The question of training music therapists to do depth work using psychoanalytic concepts is raised, particularly in respect to the use of words and recognition of transference and countertransference phenomena. Finally, the author reflects on her experience of music therapy and psychotherapy work each enriching and deepening the other.


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