Personality-oriented musical psycho-correction
"Personality-oriented musical psycho-correction" belongs to one of the psychological “wings” of music therapy, and is based on multilevel musical activity of a human – a participant of a specific "musical training". A person is immersed in an unusual “musical world”, perceiving him/herself, his/her surroundings and his/her own body as sources and conductors of music. A participant goes through different kinds of exercises and procedures: work with musical images, sings, dances and performs music. All this forms in a person many significant abilities: opens a dormant creativity, develops skills of one’s self-control, generates confidence, as well as solves a lot of physical and psychological problems that prevents communication, personality’s development and self-expression.
"Personality-oriented musical psycho-correction" is aimed at solving the complex psychological tasks that can be grouped in several related items:
1) Normalization of well-being and optimization skills of self-regulation,
2) Flexibility of one’s mind and world perception,
3) Revitalization of creativity,
4) Raising self-esteem, building self-reliance,
5) Optimization of personal and social contacts,
6) Solving problems of personal and professional identity, image, motivational problems.
A central element of the method is a multilevel musical activity of a client. On the basis of the method there are vigorous forms of interaction among participants (paired and group musical exercises, games), as well as the active “interaction” between a human and music (singing, playing musical instruments, etc.).
The technique was gradually developed through counseling and rehabilitative activities with clients. Initially particular exercises were formed, which, subsequently, were joined together in cycles. In 1993, the technique acquired the features of a cohesive complex. The first, who experienced the impact of the method, were children (pupils in Auxiliary Boarding School № 2, city of Astrakhan) and adults (teachers and educators of the same school). Later cycles of musical psycho-correction classes were offered to students of the Astrakhan Conservatory of music in the form of a two-day group “training-seminar” course. The positive evaluation of the results obtained from the participants of groups, was the occasion for a further, much wider application of the method.
Since 1996, Moscow group, everybody could take part in a training course, regardless of age and profession. Since that time, experimental studies have been taking place, culminating in the thesis "Method of personality-oriented correcting professional development by means of music (on the material of psychologists, teachers, performers-musicians)." The thesis was completed at the “Psychology of work, engineering psychology” Chair, Department of psychology, Moscow State University, under the guidance of Professor A. B. Leonova and was proved in December, 2002. Further the method was enriched with new techniques and forms of work. In 2004-2005 the method was tested again in the framework of the Grant "The personality-oriented correction of the professional development of musicians", supported by the Russian humanitarian scientific Fund, in cooperation with the Government of the Astrakhan region (project No. 04-06-31002).
The first international presentation of the method took place in 1997, in Siena (Italy). Further the method has been repeatedly presented at local and international conferences and seminars. In 2014 a book was published - a reflection of my scientific and practical researches for the last 20 years. (Olga Luchinina. Personality-oriented music psycho-correction. LAMBERT Academic Publishing: Deutschland Saarbrucken 2014. -174 p.). In theoretical and experimental sections of the book the scientific substantiation of personality-oriented music therapy direction is given, as well as the results of using the techniques in the form of “Musical training for personal and creative self-realization”. The practical part of the book contains a description of the specific activities and forms of work.
Elements of the methodology, as well as all the complex as a whole, began to be used by the colleagues – psychologists, educators and musicians, when working with clients, students, as well as for their own self-improvement. For this I’ve been undertaking training and seminars in Astrakhan, Moscow, Samara, St. Petersburg, Akhtubinsk, Penza, Stavropol, etc., for many years. As Associate Professor (Docent) at Astrakhan State Conservatory of music, I teach the course in music psychology. In this course I pay attention to music therapy and music psychotherapy techniques that may be helpful to students.
The Program of Courses in the Direction of “Personality-oriented Musical Psycho-correction”
Section 1. Music and the possibilities of its use applied
Theme 1.1. Historical and contemporary understanding of applied functions of music
A brief history of music therapy from ancient times to the present day is being considered. The examples of optimizing effects of music and musical activity aimed at the human body and psychics are given. The overview of using music in labor processes, medical, psychological and pedagogical practices is offered.
Theme 1.2. The concept of music therapy. The problem of terminology
The variety and inexactness of terminological systems, describing various forms of using music and musical activities for therapeutic purposes are discussed. "Music", "music therapy", "musical medicine", "healing music", "functional music”, “industrial music”, “therapeutic music" - these notions often “intermingle” with one another or are used as synonyms. Thus, the terminological problem regarding music therapy is not far-fetched here. Solving the problem can’t only separate us from untested approaches and those taken at random in the area of using the directional impact of music, but also can help to identify the decent place of methods, professionally done and scientifically tested.
We offer the "music therapy" as a root concept, which includes several independent sections and directions. In our opinion, now it’s no longer enough to denote private approaches and methods just as the "simple" music therapy: the name should reflect their essence and orientation. In addition, the word "therapy" (or "psychotherapy") with respect to the most forms of applied music impact must be included, with great reservations, or replaced by more accurate and relevant term - "correction" ("psycho-correction").
Theme 1.3. Use of music in medical and psychological practice: traditions and developments
4 basic forms of contemporary «music therapy » are considered here:
- Music as a treatment of somatic diseases and correction of physiological state of an organism.
- Music therapy in psychiatry and psycho-neurology.
- “Functional music” (using optimizing music programs at work, in sports, in pedagogy).
- Music in practical psychology and pre-clinical psychotherapy ("musical therapy" “musical psycho-correction”).
Each of the above forms of music therapy has its own peculiarities, advantages and limitations, therefore any private technique, which appears in the framework of one or another form, must have its clear scope, must address a specific set of tasks, without pretending to comprehensiveness and universality.
During the lectures copyright reviews of Russian and foreign approaches and methodologies are given, relating to each of the forms of music therapy, - their focus and effectiveness is being discussed.
Special attention is paid to the triad of "music-therapist-patient (client)”. The difference between medical and psychological types of thinking is discussed in order to get aware of how the types of thinking affect the effectiveness of the music therapy techniques. The differences are not rooted in the results of the work. The consulting psychologist often notes different cases of possible correcting somatic diseases with his/her clients, and the physician can notice the improvement of the psychological status of the patient and even his/her personal growth. The main difference is contained in the so-called "medical" and "psychological" types of thinking which, to a certain extent, are opposed. Medicine operates the concept of "patient" (literally "suffering", "tolerating"), which is the passive side of the therapeutic process, in contrast to the active side - "physician". The traditional type of interpersonal relationship between a person-physician and a person-patient: "leadership" and "subordination". Therefore the patient, who begins to participate actively in his/her own treatment, indeed, ceases to be a "patient" in the literal sense of the word.
Practical psychology, by contrast, refers to notions of “consultant” and “client” (in a group work it’s a "group participant"). This is a different type of relationship. A psychologist cannot and should not solve a problem "for the client” and “instead of the client”. The client is active, he/she is aware of conditions and causes of the difficulties and seeks his/her own ways to overcome the difficulties with the help of an equal, but more qualified person (consultant). Therefore, client’s activity (internal and external) is the most important factor in determining the process and results of the work. The task of a psychologist, first and foremost, is to organize this activity productively.
This distinction is also typical in music therapy. Relevant to the activity of the client (patient), perhaps, to a greater extent separates the different directions of music therapy rather, than focuses on a particular result. When referring to music therapy, we must also understand and evaluate clearly whether we work with a "patient" or a "client". From here there follow the possibilities, limitations and direction of a concrete method to avoid disputes and disagreements. What makes a person when he/she perceives music? How is he/she listening to it? What experiences do occur? What happens to his/her thinking, memory, imagination...? Does he/she synchronize the rhythms of breathing or body motions with rhythms of the music? What tasks does he/she put before him/her and solve, performing an exercise?
Perhaps the reason for the inconsistency of the results, obtained in the vein of "medical" direction of music therapy, is rooted in ignoring the intense activity of the patient. By definition, it is believed, that the music "directly influences" on the patient. But often the music does not "influence" a human; instead, that a human interacts with the music, as well as with a therapist. Working in line with the "psychological" approach, we take a client as an active and independent participant of the psycho-correction process.
Section 2. Methods of personality-oriented music psychotherapy
Theme 2.1. The target of the method
The method is aimed at solving the complex psychological tasks that can be grouped in 5 related items:
- Normalization of well-being and optimization skills of self-regulation
- Difficulties in decision-making, lack of reliance on oneself, low self-esteem
- Complexity in personal or social contacts
- Problems in personal and professional expression, problems of professional image making
- Problems of motivation for activity (for example, feeling of "meaningless" or "irrelevance" of one’s own activities, especially, professional ones).
The most important task of the correctional process is to include personal and, first of all, creative capacities of an active client in a work. Thus, a central element of the method is versatile musical activities of the client. Basing on personality-centered and procedurally-oriented model of practical psychology, we try to pay a lot of attention to active forms of interaction among the participants (paired and group musical exercises, games), as well as active "interaction" between a human and music (singing, playing musical instruments, etc.). And for an initial setting for each of these forms of work we try to state some personally meaningful task, demanding the decision during correction process.
Theme 2.2. Use of musical material
Psycho-correcting process takes place in the "world of music", which interacts with the "life world" of a client. Diving into the "world of music" in our system has different aspects or facets. The main ones are the following:
1. Music played during a work process by the clients. This includes vocal, rhythmic, instrumental improvisation (mostly the piano), as well as a specially organized performance of known music compositions. Musical creativity of clients, on the one hand, is a means of self-expression and, on the other hand, is a means of communication with other clients in group work. These improvisations, created by people, who are not always familiar with the musical notes and, in the traditional sense, cannot play, turn outr to be a good therapeutic remedy.
2. Music, sounding from the outside towards the client. Traditional background "influencing" music, sounding from the outside towards the client, is also used in the therapeutic process. Depending on the specific form of work this can be audio recording or music therapist’s playing. Music material can be writings, which belong to different ages, styles and genres - from archaic Monody to avant-garde and post avant-garde music of the 20th -21st centuries written in academic and non-academic manners.
3. Body as "a musical instrument". The third facet of "music world" is the feeling of a human body as a "musical instrument" - work with breathing rhythms, pulsations within the body, the timbre of voice, etc.
4. Symbolic "musical metaphor”. It means a description of the space, the atmosphere, the participants and the therapeutic process in musical terms. What style (genre, piece, music instrument) suits this person (group)? What musical composition could voice the process just ended?
Theme 2.3. The content of the basic exercises and forms of work
This section of the course is devoted to the detailed "Bank of techniques», which contains 4 main blocks of exercises and procedures:
The first block is based on the variants of traditional forms of work, including technology, based on the passive perception of music. Music acts as a background for the therapeutic procedures - not requiring a special attentive listening, reflection, awareness of the contents of music material. Here music catalyses emotional processes, and the client's attention is directed to other internal or external factors, for example, his/her own thoughts, feelings, contents of a conversation, etc.
The second block contains techniques and exercises based on an active client’s work with the images and contents of music. Therapeutic effects are achieved through the active perception of emotional contents of a musical piece: a client can be aware of it, verbalize in an oral or written form, draw, move to music, dance, play various music "scenes".
The third block includes techniques and exercises based on self-expression through music. On the one hand, it can be vocal, rhythmic, instrumental improvisations (performing individually, together with the leader, in pairs, in the whole group). On the other hand, it is performing of some known compositions, specially organized. For instrumental improvisations the main and necessary instrument is the piano, though it may be accompanied by many other musical instruments, including "children’s" ones. Improvisational exercises are organized in such a way that no prior musical training and no musical education for a client is required.
The fourth block includes a number of "body-oriented" techniques related to hearing the music "inside" the self. During the work, the physical body (breath, pulsation inside the body, voice, corporal tensions) becomes a source of rhythms, sounds and melodies. Depending on the tasks, exercises are performed while sitting, standing, lying or in motion. This block is devoted to the corporal projections of psychological problems.
Theme 2.4. General scheme music psychotherapy
The method not being directive and strictly structured, the proposed system of music psychotherapy is based on the constant expanding of “set of techniques” which elements are grouped into subsystems depending on the specific problem of a client or a group. General scheme of the process depends on the clients’ requests, on the number of group participants, as well as on estimated time of work.
Theme 2.5. Forms of individual and group techniques
A specific procedure of individual consultation is being discussed, as well as a group "Musical training for personal and creative self-realization"
Theme 2.6. Using the method dealing with some professional problems of clients
The formation and development of a professional is a complex multilateral process. In the process of learning and work a person can have troubles, which have not only professional, but also general psychological reasons. Thus, in the modern “Psychology of work” it’s proved that it is a holistic person that runs the job, not only an abstract “amount of media skills”. Therefore, the human problems very often become a source of professional deformations and failure.
"Method of personality-oriented music psycho-correction» is an efficient tool to overcome the complex psychological difficulties impeding a person in the implementation of his professional tasks. Individual – but especially group – participants specifically note the positive developments in the labor activity, highlighting the value and relevance of results.
This method caused the greatest interest among the professionals, whose personality qualities are the main "means of work”. These are professions, which are related by the task of influencing other people through personal and creative self-realization in the processes of intensive communication. The main requirements in these kinds of professions include:
- The need for constant contact with people (direct communication, "stage" communication),
- The need for personal self-expression (the role of the professional image, artistry, ability to be the leader, facilitator, to be a "model" for others to follow)
- Orientation to the "laws of creativity and art” in practical activity, without predictability and stereotype templates
- Ability to be constantly in a good physical shape, have the tolerance and developed skills of self-regulation.
Section 3. Criteria for selection of musical material
Theme 3.1. The "Statement" and "Suggestion" functions. Solving the problem of predictability and unpredictability of the listener’s reaction.
At a first glance, to select music is very easy; it’s enough to understand its emotional contents, and we can predict effects in human being: quiet music should "calm down", merry-"amuse" and so on. But in reality the effect may be diametrically opposite of the one expected. According to our observations and surveys, most people experiencing life's troubles do not accept cheerful "light" music: it causes only anger and irritation.
Experience shows that it is not always simple to find the right music, relying only on intuition: it is necessary to specifically test the alleged musical piece on the basis of the functions named "Statement" and "Suggestion".
In the process of musical psycho-correction, a person listening to music, interact with musical material in two ways: on the one hand, it is an active and conscious work with musical images, on the other hand it is the passive perception of audio stream.
In the first case, the music for the client acts as a source and carrier of information. A person perceives this information as a musical message and during the work “states”, notes it in a form of images or metaphors. In such forms of work understanding happens and, as a result, the "Statement" of the musical contents.
In the second case, the client does not perceive music as a source of information. Passive perception of a background musical flow involves a person into different conditions; a human seems to be "immersed" in a sounding composition, without worrying about its image contents. Here the music directly effects a person and realize the function named "Suggestion".
Theme 3.2. Psycho-correctional value of various musical genres
During the courses it is supposed to discuss the possibility of using various music genres during music psychotherapy and psycho-correction.
Theme 3.3. The special role of contemporary classical (academic) music
Contemporary classical music as stimulus material is examined, as well as the specific character of a psycho-correctional work, building on the modern music material.
Modern classical music takes one of the most important places in the personality-oriented musical psycho-correction, so in this section of the course we are considering some features of using music, which are based on avant-garde composer techniques - 12-tone tonality, seriality, aleatory, dodecaphony, as well as different options for their synthesis and modifications. Images emerging when the perception of contemporary music occurs, are unique and single for each person. That is why the works of avant-garde and post-avant-garde currents become perfect stimulus material, based on which the client, according to the principle of free associations, attributes the sounding music images of his/her own thoughts and experiences, which were emerged under the influence of the composition.
Indeed, modern "avant-garde" music has much in common with the projective diagnostic techniques, when auditory or visual stimulus proposed to a person exclude a possibility of unambiguous interpretation. Thus any thoughts on it reflect psychological features which are characteristic for a person him/herself.
Section 4. The capabilities and limitations of the “Personality-oriented music psycho-correction method”
Theme 4.1. The experimental studying of the effectiveness of techniques in the form of “Musical training for personality and creative self-realization"
In this section of the course it is supposed to discuss the procedure and conditions of experimental study of “Personality-oriented music psycho-correction method”: subjects, parameters, and methods for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the training, as well as the order of carrying out research and the processing the obtained results.
Theme 4.2. General characteristics of the training’s effectiveness
This section is dedicated to the discussion on the dynamics of the diagnostic indicators obtained before and after the training, that becomes a convincing evidence of the effectiveness of the techniques.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of the techniques has been carried out according to the parameters associated with the solutions of personal and professional problems. 5 basic parameters were examined in accordance to the most typical problems of the psycho-correctional classes participants ("well-being", "confidence", "communication", "self-expression", "motivation").
Theme 4.3. The duration of the positive results and their dynamics in time
Sustainability of the results of work is an important indicator of the effectiveness of personality-centered training. The personality changes in the client, which occur during a group work, must be "adapted" to the peculiarities of everyday life for everyone. It often happens that the experience during the training turns out to be so intense that life changes occur automatically. But usually the integration of results is a complex and hard process that requires significant voltage of all internal forces of a client (group participant). The integration process is a serious problem for both the client and the psychologist. Beyond training, a participant again falls into the usual way of life, and the experience is often being replaced by old stereotypes of communication, behavior, relations.
In this section it is supposed to examine the sustainability of positive changes: forms and methods of psychological accompaniment of a participant at the end of the main group work.
Theme 4.4. Factors and conditions of the effectiveness of the methods
For any psycho-correctional methods one can identify a number of "external" factors and conditions that promote or hinder the successful course of the optimization process. In group work, the following details are important:
1. The size of the group.
2. Sex and age composition of the group.
3. The degree of "training activity" and a “participant’s involvement” in the work of the group.
During the lectures it’s supposed to discuss the most significant factors and conditions for the functioning of the methods of personality-oriented music psychotherapy and psycho-correction.
Theme 4.5. The reserves of personality-oriented music psychotherapy and psycho-correction
Together with the participants of the classes, the ways and directions of the development of personality-oriented music psychotherapy and psycho-correction are being discussed (expanding the range of procedures and exercises, the use of modern technologies, including remote modes of work, etc.)
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