Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Music and therapy

When my piano teacher gives me a new tune to play she always has me playing the right hand first, getting familiar with the melody before introducing the left hand.  Her expression is, "learn it separately THEN together!"  My daughter Emily was teaching me a tune on the m'bira recently, and she said, "I'm only going to show you the left hand, you have to know that piece before I show you what the right hand plays!"  So another, "separately THEN together" situation.  The music only sounds right, and feels good once you get both hands playing the whole piece as was the intention when the music was created by the composer.
As a result, when I start playing a new piece I can feel quite frustrated and struggle with imagining how it will ultimately sound when I'm finally able to put it all together.
I can definitely draw a parallel in relation to learning a new piece of music and meeting someone for the first time. Initially, the person is slightly guarded and only willing to share a small part of themselves.  That one piece is usually a long way from the whole story.  Patience is required by me to ensure I get a complete understanding of what brings someone to see me in my role as a therapist. A new client will often start by telling me individual, separate stories and experiences they have had, and in time I can put a fuller picture together enabling me to give them the support they need.  
There would be no point, in fact it would probably be quite detrimental to our relationship, if I said to them on their first session, "I need to hear everything NOW so I can get on with teaching you how to get well!"  Just as I can't play my right and left hand together on the piano when I'm first presented with a new piece of music..bit by bit, step by step as my confidence grows in my playing I can enjoy the tune and really be absorbed in the tone and feeling of the piece, a client will only fully embrace sharing and learning in a therapeutic setting when they are ready.
Before a client comes to see me they have been separate and often isolated, hiding all their fears and worries from the outside world.  Together, with support, guidance and commitment from both client and therapist, a healthy, enjoyable life is attainable.
The music is already composed and hoping to be played as beautifully as was intended by the composer.  
I am ready to support the client as soon as they feel able to share all that needs to be shared.  
"Patience is the companion of wisdom." - Saint Augustine
"All great achievements require time." - Maya Angelou

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