According to a 2004 Rand Corporation report, depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity.
Music so strongly evokes emotional responses that it is being more frequently employed in the context of psychotherapy as a powerful healing modality. As a novice in this field I inquired at a recent conference on music therapy as to how this tool effects healing in clients with emotional disorders.
Conceptually, it is my understanding that the music therapist often employs musical improvisation to communicate with the unconscious aspects of the patient’s psyche. The therapist may set out to convey an empathic or supportive intention with the use of a musical language that communicates at an emotional rather than verbal level. The intention of the therapist may be completely informed by what she/he “thinks” the patient needs for his/her healing i.e. a unidirectional healing intention. Alternately, it may be more dynamically informed.
In the latter case, the therapist’s intention is informed dynamically through her/his empathic attunement to the patient’s emotional state as the musical dialogue unfolds. In such a case the emotional quality of the music may evolve as the therapist and patient interact through the musical medium.
Ideally in a genuine healing situation it is expected that the therapist will evoke in the patient an emotional state that brings with it greater internal harmony associated with such feelings as relaxation, peace, joyfulness, contentment, and a sense of light heartedness. This feeling of harmony, from an energy psychology paradigm, is associated with an ordered and sustaining bio-field of energy that supports both structure and function of the body at all levels.
Metaphorically, the therapist could be seen to be helping the patient “tune” him/her self to an optimal bio-energetic field of frequencies that then spontaneously effect healing. To say that the therapist is directly doing the healing would be difficult to justify as the therapist couldn’t possibly know how to direct the multitude of biochemical reactions necessary for healing to occur. She/he however may be facilitating the re-establishment of a healing bio-energetic field within and around the patient that itself orchestrates the biochemical re-organization.
If we extend the use of this metaphor, the therapist could be considered as a tuning device, similar to that required to tune a musical instrument. Hence we can speak of the therapist as the tuner for the patient’s bio-energy field.
It becomes obvious then that if a tuning device is itself out of tune the musical instrument to be tuned will be out of key, no matter how well the musician’s technique.
In the same way, if the music therapist who is helping to facilitate a realignment of the patient’s bio-energy field is “out of tune” this will not only limit the healing process but could also potentially be harmful for the patient. It becomes imperative then that the music therapist, apart from being a skilled musician, also undergoes an internal bio-energetic realignment or retuning.
What will the therapist use as a tuning device however? In order to answer this question we must reflect on what it means to be in tune. As we alluded to earlier, when the patient is in harmony he/she feels relaxed, peaceful, joyful, contented, and lighthearted. We also notice that in such a state, stress is reduced and physical and emotional resilience is enhanced. This is clearly a state in which healing is optimally supported and might therefore be accepted as a state of optimal tuning of the bio-energetic field.
Unfortunately, music alone cannot effect such an optimal state of tuning. If it could we wouldn’t need the presence of the music therapist in the therapeutic situation. Hence, in the same way the music therapist cannot rely on music alone for the realignment of their own bio-energetic field. We are therefore left with a slight conundrum. In order to address this it becomes necessary to ask: where does the internal source of harmony that is represented by the feeling state mentioned above, originate within an individual.
We note that his feeling state of harmony can be rapidly evoked when one actively appreciates something they like about themselves. Through the action of self appreciation one can spontaneously begin to feel joyful, relaxed, peaceful, contented and lighthearted, among other feelings. These feelings are also felt most intensely over the region of the person’s heart.
Since it is the person themselves that is actively doing the appreciating the feelings of appreciation are clearly emerging from that person’s Self. As the feelings of appreciation are most intensely felt over the heart region, then it follows that that person’s experience of themselves originates in the heart region. Ironically, most individuals however tend to “think” of themselves as originating in the mind or brain. In other words they think they are somewhere where they are not. Their heart, i.e. their Self, is left forgotten and abandoned.
The mind and the beliefs that flow through it become the organizing bio-energy field that then tries to sustain the body in its daily functioning. However, because the mind is not the Self it does not have the necessary information to adequately sustain the physical/emotional body. This is obvious because none of us is capable of consciously knowing how to orchestrate the multitude of biochemical processes in our bodies. In most cases we are not even aware of what they are.
As a result the individual does not feel in a state of harmony i.e. they feel stressed. It is only when the heart is re-instated as the center of that individual that harmony is re-established.
The re-instatement of the heart as the center of a person however is not easily accomplished. The reason for this is that there are many beliefs in the mind/brain that lead the individual to fear or mistrust the heart’s motives or capability in supporting the individual. Ironically such beliefs then keep the person in a state of disharmony.
The extent to which a music therapist, or any therapist for that matter, is ruled by such beliefs renders her/him unable to effect a true state of internal harmony and optimal tuning in the patient. Such beliefs are often deeply conditioned in the therapist, held at an unconscious level and effectively convey a disharmony in the music that they produce in the therapeutic situation.
By clearing these conditioned beliefs it is possible for the therapist to tune themselves to their own inner harmony thereby allowing them to improvise a form of “pure musical harmony” in the therapeutic setting that helps the patient optimally tune into their own internal harmony. The permanent clearing of such conditioning from one’s bio-energetic field has recently become possible through a new tool called the Mind Resonance Process™ developed within the last several years.
Nick Arrizza M.D. is an Energy Psychiatrist and Researcher who lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the developer of the Mind Resonance Process™ (MRP), Author of “Esteem for the Self: A Manual for Personal Transformation”
(Found at http://www.telecoaching4u.com/ebook.htm), and a Speaker. He has trained therapists and the public in the use of MRP. He holds international teleconferences on emotional, physical and spiritual healing.