Friday, April 27, 2012

Music Therapy Show with Janice Lindstrom

I feel as if I've finally arrived in the land of music therapy. I've had an interview with the lovely and thoughtful Janice Lindstrom, the woman and music therapist behind the Music Therapy Show!

We talked about relationally-based music therapy, using a process (versus product-oriented) approach, countertransference, using music to listen to and reflect on what our clients present to us in sessions, and all kinds of nifty stuff.

If you'd like to give it a listen (and share your thoughts on these subjects) (that are near and dear to my heart), here it is!

Listen to internet radio with Janice Lindstrom on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last chance lost...

I noticed this song- "Last Chance Lost"-  running through my mind over and over again as we struggled to come to some kind of....okay-ness, an okay space today in our session. My client has some very strong feelings toward me, and although he knows "we don't have that kind of relationship" it's hard for him to hear it. Over and over.  

Yes, and it's hard for me to keep having to say it, because I feel cruel. I mean, I realize I'm not being cruel. I'm being truthful (and a therapist), and I know it would be more cruel to lie to him and pretend I don't see how much he wishes this weren't "just music therapy" and it was a better version of his life. 

And I'd be lying to you if I didn't say the rescue fantasies on my end can be intense. If I weren't so used to this happening it would be freaking me out. But this is something I go through, and it's more so with some people than with others. 

But here he was, this man who doesn't use speech, working so hard to be heard- using his voice even (which is rare)- and there I was...rejecting him again. 

When I step away from the session for a while and think about it, I have an idea of how to proceed and what we need to look at: Where are the feelings for me coming from? What might they be helping him to avoid feeling? What relationship(s) might he be trying to create or re-create in our sessions? And so forth. 

But...right there in the session...I feel like such a jerk. 

It's not that I'm afraid he'll be angry with me- although it would mean the beginning of the long period of anger. 

There always seem to be stages in the music therapy process- at least with the folks I work with individually. Initially there's a long period of "I don't trust you." That's usually followed by "okay, maybe you're not so creepy," which eventually works its way into "must we leave now?" Then we get into the "I like you/I can't let you know how much I like you" period which gradually becomes "I love you and you should never leave me!"  

I think my client and I are in that latter period right now. And I'm in the complicated "be firm but kind and figure out a way to reject without being rejecting/remember you're trying to help him realize how he's relating to people that's not really working for him/come on, Roia, you can do this" part of the work. 

And I know. The big anger is coming. Okay, so maybe I'm a little afraid. It's hard to give up being loved. Not that the anger indicates an absence of love. It's just easier, I'm sure you'll agree, when your client is in the "you totally rock" phase versus the "you rejected me and you are horrible and cruel" phase. 

Anyway. We struggled. He was sad. I was sad on his behalf. 

It was hard for him to return his instrument at the end of the session, and he insisted on carrying it back with him to his cottage- where he finally gave it back to me after a brief, gentle tug to make sure I understood he wasn't happy about relinquishing me or the instrument. 

The only part of the song I remembered as we worked through this session was "last chance lost". When I read the lyrics I was fascinated (for the hundredth time) by how our minds create musical connections with people, with moments and experiences. 

Last Chance Lost

by Joni Mitchell

Last chance lost
In the tyranny of a long good-bye
Last chance lost
We talk of us with deadly earnest eyes
Last chance lost
We talk of love in terms of sacrifice and compromise
Last chance
Last chance lost

Last chance lost
The hero cannot make the change
Last chance lost
The shrew will not be tamed
Last chance lost
They bicker on the rifle range
Blame takes aim
Last chance
Last chance lost

© 1994; Crazy Crow Music