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August 2014
Psychology
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THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES OF MUSIC THERAPY


Music therapy is based on the following principles:

The principle of ISO

ISO means equal and characterises the musical sound identity of each individual. It is a dynamic element made up of the strength of all past and present perception. 

  1. UNIVERSAL ISO This is musical sound identity which characterises or identifies all human beings independently from their social, cultural, historical and psycho-physical context. Certain characteristics, like the heart beat and breathing in and out for example, make up the universal ISO, as well as the voice of one’s mother when born and during the first few days of life.
  2. GESTALT ISO This is a phenomenon concerning sound and internal movement which sums up our sound archetypes, our intra-uterine sound experiences and the sounds we heard at birth, during childhood and currently. It is a sound structure within a sound mosaic and which, fundamentally, is in perpetual motion.
  3. COMPLEMENTARY ISO This is a collection of small modifications which are made every day or in each music therapy session under the influence of environmental and dynamic circumstances.
  4. GROUP ISO This is closely related to the society in which a person grows up. Group ISO is fundamental for uniting a therapeutic group. It is a dynamic which pervades the group as a combination of all the members’ sound identities. Within it there is a collection of psycho-physiological factors of sound and movement which depends on the last Gestalt ISO feature mentioned above of each individual.

Sound as an intermediary object

An intermediary object is an instrument of communication which is able to act therapeutically on a patient within the relationship he/she has with the therapist, without creating states of intense alarm and with the following characteristics:

  • it is innocuous: the intermediary object does not harm the patient in itself;
  • it is flexible: it can be used, if desired, for any purpose;
  • it is a transmitter: it lets the patient communicate by replacing the bond with the therapist and maintaining distance;
  • it is adaptable: it adapts to the individual’s needs;
  • it can be assimilated to the patient him/herself: it lets the patient have an intimate relationship and identify with him/herself;
  • it is instrumental: it can be used as an extension of the individual;
  • identifiable: it can be recognised immediately. Sound can be considered as an intermediary object and the right choice of intermediary object depends on the music therapist’s skills when identifying the musical sound identity or Gestalt ISO of the patient. The intermediary object depends on the ranking of individual progress and therefore universal, Gestalt and complementary ISO, and cultural ISO in small doses. 

Sound as a complementary object

A complementary object is an instrument of communication which can supplement the dynamics of communication within a group by standardising them.

In group situations, it has been noted that leader patients tend to choose instruments which can easily become leading instruments; they are loud, easy to use, rhythmic and powerful. They often come from the percussion family. These instruments become guides for the other patients and the group concentrates itself on the leading instrument. The supplementary object is therefore a musical instrument which prevails in the group and absorbs the group dynamics and the bond between the patients and the therapist. The supplementary object depends on the group ISO, cultural ISO, complementary ISO and, in a small amount, the Gestalt ISO.



The main objective is to open CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION

Channels of communication means all processes by which one mind can be affected by another. Channels of communication can be intrapsychic, conscious extrapsychic or subconscious extrapsychic, and comprehension of all dynamic, psychic phenomena takes place in a non-verbal context.

In order to be able to open channels of communication, a patient’s MENTAL TIME must coincide with the therapist’s musical sound time, during which sound becomes an intermediary between one and the other (ISO). In the patient, energy comes from the Gestalt ISO (subconscious) and complementary ISO (preconscious) which, by becoming conscious, opens up channels of communication. Once established and opened, the channel of communication is fully involved in therapeutic processes, during which the dynamics of the patient’s mind and interrelations are re-elaborated.

The answers will, in themselves, have characteristics which are influenced by the therapist, since the person that the music therapist is cannot be ignored in any therapeutic process, since he/she becomes an integral part of the construction of therapy because of the reciprocity between the therapist and the patient. The pedagogic work (developing skills) and psychological work (reinforcing ‘me’, interpersonal relations and socialising) are intertwined and enhanced in this environment.

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