Playing in key: A psychotherapeutic investigation of the parallels between improvised music and the therapeutic process

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O’Crowley, James
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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In the moment of its creation, improvised music provides an insight to into the composers state of mind and being. While improvising with another, the composer brings what has already been learned and is afforded a space to test new melodies, tones and rhythm which may conflict or resonate with learned musical patterns. There is significant writing on the creative process of the artist and the therapeutic relationship, yet current research provides less insight into the relationship between the two. Using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, this research explores the experience of three musicians who specialise in improvised music. Three themes emerged from this analysis and were explored in relation to their parallels with the psychotherapeutic process.