Why music psychotherapy?
Music psychotherapy is based upon the capacity of music provided by a trained and qualified practitioner to support, integrate, and heal trauma, pain, psychological distress, and to develop and extend your existing capacities.
Instruments, voices, songs, sound meditation and music technology are used in music therapy to build a trusting relationship where issues can be explored with the support of the therapist, over a series of weekly sessions. By engaging in songwriting, lyric discussion, sound improvisation, and guided meditation exercises, you will develop tools for creative expression that will help you to increase your confidence, relationships or any other goal that is relevant in your life.
I believe the key to successful therapy is that client and therapist are able to connect with each other, and within music psychotherapy we can use both verbal and musical ways of connecting. Our relationship will be non-judgemental, genuine, honest and open, which is also made safe by confidentiality. You will be listened to and respected. I will aim to understand your world as you experience it, see things from your perspective and work with you at a pace that is comfortable and safe for you. Through this shared journey comes understanding and insight, which I believe is the first step towards change or acceptance.
Music psychotherapy is definitely not limited to musicians, and is accessible for those with no musical training or background. We will rather focus on boosting your innate musicality. This is, everyone’s unique way of receiving, reacting and engaging in sound and music, regardless of their musical training or skills. This is a relieving and inspiring process that can allow you to understand yourself and others, feeling more empowered and enjoy life more.
In the UK, it is an established Allied Health Profession and all music therapists are required to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Music psychotherapy can help you to:
– Be more flexible, creative and spontaneous in your response to life
– Understand your anxiety and take control of your life back
– Gain a sense of purpose, developing a better awareness of your feelings and actions
– Rediscover your enthusiasm for social situations instead of avoiding them
– Be more kind to yourself or accept what you cannot change
– Feel more comfortable and secure in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships
What does a music therapy session look like?
Every session is different and tailored to your needs and the issues you want to explore. Typically, we will start a session exploring the topic or issues that are in your mind at that moment in time, an ongoing concern or a recent dream. I will listen to you carefully, then will invite you to explore this further using those music therapy techniques that can better suit you.
This can include exploring a certain topic using free improvisation with easy to play instruments (or your own, familiar one); you do not need to have any previous musical experience, it is about being creative and free, and you will learn quickly how to express in a nonverbal way. We will discuss these improvisations, and will make sense of how these relate to your personal life and your relationships.
Singing is a powerful, highly relieving technique that we can use. I am very aware that many people feel too self-conscious about singing out loud or in front of others, but this is an unique, safe opportunity to overcome these limits, to find your own voice and to experience empowerment and self-assurement. In any case, we only use singing when it feels like an exciting challenge, and I will never pressure you to do it if you do not feel comfortable with it.
Another widely used technique is to use songwriting to create new pieces of music that help you express and make sense of a given chapter of your life. Again, you do not need to have previous skills, as this is my contribution: I can become the music arranger of your personal soundtrack!
In contrast with these rather ‘active’ techniques, I also offer you the opportunity to explore aspects of your life using more ‘receptive’ techniques. These require you to lay back or lay down in a state of meditation or mindfulness, and ‘receive’ carefully selected sounds and music, often performed live by me but also including edited music that is relevant in your life.
At the end of these sessions we reserve more time to talk, to understand and to integrate the most insightful parts of the creative process. With time, these techniques will become familiar to you, and you will engage naturally in creative challenges that are highly motivating. You can bring your own songs, playlists, instruments or artistic projects, and use them in your own personal way.
I work both face to face (within the Bristol and Bath area) and online (anywhere).
I offer face to face sessions in diverse spaces within the Bristol area, including therapy rooms, music studios and sometimes in your own home. This allows us to share live music, exciting instruments and high quality sound equipment to directly experience sounds and vibrations.
Online sessions benefit from online audiovisual technologies to feel supported by engaging in music production and songwriting exercises, use of virtual studios and apps to share live sounds and songs, as well as and music therapy techniques such as guided music meditation. You only need a device with a stable internet connection and a headset.
How can we get started?
You can start by contacting me to arrange a free 20 minutes phone or video chat to talk about the kind of help you are looking for and to explain how I work. We can then make an appointment for an initial meeting if you’d like to explore working with me.
At our initial meeting I will help you clarify what you want to deal with, and discuss ways of doing that. If I find I am not able to help I shall give you a recommendation for the kinds of therapy that are likely to suit you, and try to point you in an appropriate direction. If we both decide to continue working together we shall agree an initial number of sessions and review your progress as we go along.
If you decide to work with me I recommend at least 6 sessions. Each individual is different, and I have worked with people for anything between 6 sessions and for over a year. Some people get what they need quickly. For others it takes longer. Some take a break when feeling they are able to cope again and return when other life events happen; they may need extra support and time to process what is happening. Every person is different and I will strive to accommodate your needs.
If you are looking for a music therapy group for yourself or a specific collective, contact me to discuss how can we make it happen.