Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's a (musical) process

As I thought further about Video Journal #1 I did some writing about it and this is the song that emerged from that bit of processing. 

I think I said everything else I needed to say on the actual video. 

I do, however, want to reiterate the fact that using music to process my sessions has been incredibly useful in terms of trying to understand what may be going on for the folks I see for music therapy. Since they aren't able to use speech (and even if they were, none of us are always completely aware of why we feel out of sorts, and that's what we have our therapists for), I try to use the countertransference material so that I have better questions to ask.

Here, as promised, are the lyrics (with my further hypotheses thrown in for good measure in between things). (Apparently I didn't say everything I had to say on the video.) (Oy.) Sorry if it gets a bit difficult to read:

Blowin' In the Wind 
(Thank you, Bob Dylan!)

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
     (So much in just the first line alone! Many of the initial countertransference songs with this particular person were songs sung by girls- not just women, girls. And I have had the sense, off and on, that trying to develop an identity as a man has been an issue for him. Living in an institution, not using speech to communicate, and being seen as a disabled person first doesn't exactly  enhance one's sense of self much either.)
Yes, 'n', how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly before they're forever banned? 
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.
     (This may or may not be stretching it a bit, but I wonder if he feels as if he's "blowin' in the wind" without a real sense of direction/meaning/purpose in his life.) 

How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky? 
     (Maybe this means something and maybe not, but his days are spent in a room that doesn't have any windows at eye level, and the windows that are there are, ironically, very high up and next to the very high ceiling.)
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
     (There's that whole sense of futility there and feeling unacknowledged and frustrated.)
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take 'til he knows that too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free?
     (I'm sure this line speaks- loudly- for itself, but it certainly connects to the feeling of being bound and stuck.)
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head pretending he just doesn't see?
     (I don't know about any of you, but this line always makes me sad, and it is particularly poignant in this context.)
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.
     (Oh, I just realized that one of the struggles I've had in this man's sessions is this sense of "I don't know" and perpetual uncertainty. The answer, indeed, seems elusive!)

The answer is blowin' in the wind. 
One last thought: I'm always amazed at how clearly my clients are able to convey to me when I am (finally) on the right track. There is such a sense of discomfort within me until I'm finally able to process (or at least start to make sense of) the feelings that come up as a result of projective identification. Once the processed material is shared with my client, and the response seems to be, "yes, you're understanding me," I experience a literal internal shift, and the discomfort eases almost immediately. 

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