Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12/22/09 Quote- a patient defines music therapy

Florence Tyson is one of the foremothers of music therapy. And, happily, I've been at this long enough to remember her presence at  conferences back when I was a baby music therapist (she died in 2001).

Her book, Psychiatric Music Therapy: Origins and Development, (1981) has a quote from a patient at the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (which has since closed). I put it up over my desk at work, because I think it captures the essence of music therapy so beautifully. Evidently, Florence Tyson felt the same way, because she included it in her book (pp. 71-72).
In music therapy, the music therapist, by the very nature of musical accompaniment, makes a profound psychological statement to the patient. He says: 'With this musical experience I will journey with you from the beginning of the piece (your struggle) to the end (transformation). I will go with you through anxiety, rhythm difficulties, fantasies, whether you finish or not. I will listen to you speak, even musically.' The good therapist becomes aware of this statement and when warranted becomes a guide, brother, sister, the good friend. There is the basic reality of patient and therapist coming together, one human to another. 
With accompaniment assured, the patient can explore strengths and weaknesses, realize his or her own potentials, and define problems. A patient even may become, in a monumental step toward maturity, responsible for his or her course. This reality also may occur in a highly structured session as long as the structure is always realized by the patient to be directed toward his growth, stability and self-discipline -- as long as the demand aims at the patient's eventual responsibility and individuation.

I think that pretty much captures it, don't you?


S said...

Wow... It is such a blessing to find someone else who does music therapy and displays such a love for BOTH the music and the people with whom she works! My partner is a music therapist at a residency facility for severe and profound people (forgive my ignorance of correct terms). She's just starting out, trying to get ideas. I'm listening to your music right now, Roia, and I love it. I'll be visiting your site more often! -Jessica

Lozzie Cap said...

Ahh, excellent. I am always fascinated by people's attempts - and I assert that they are just attempts - to define the qualities of music when it is used in an intentionally therapeutic way. This is beautifully put.

Roia said...

It's particularly exquisite in that it was written by a person who experienced music therapy first-hand as a patient. Yet again an opportunity to learn from those we are invited to support, eh?