Emotional Processes in Music Therapy

  • Emotional Processes in Music Therapy
  • Author: Pellitteri, John
  • ISBN: 9781891278518
  • E-ISBN: 9781937440022

Emotions are an essential aspect of human nature and play a central role in interpersonal relationships, personal well-being, and therapeutic change. Music is intimately linked to emotions and both have served adaptive functions throughout human evolution. Music therapy is an ideal clinical modality due to its inherent power to activate and transform a client’s emotional state within the context of the therapeutic encounter. Emotional Processes in Music Therapy presents the scientific and artistic dimensions of emotions and explores ways that music therapists can become more “emotion-focused’ in their work. The book outlines the four major psycho physiological components of emotions (cognitive, social, behavioral & physiological) along a temporal sequence of emotional processes. There is an examination of how these processes are similar in both the structure of musical elements and the construction of emotions. There is a blend of empirical research in emotion theory within a framework of aesthetics that considers the multiple dimensions of the client. This “Scientist-Artist” perspective allows the music therapist to work creatively within the psychological space of the therapeutic relationship and also hold a sophisticated empirically-based perspective of the psycho physiological processes that underscore clinical work.

Part 1 presents frameworks in which to view the integration of emotions, music, and the therapeutic process. There is a description of the architecture of emotions and an examination of the evolutionary and anthropological roots of music and emotions. Part 2 provides the psycho physiological foundations of music and emotions, considers how they operate in personality development, and draws implications for clinical practice. Part 3 present strategies for integrating an emotion focus in clinical music therapy. There is an exploration into the isomorphism of music and emotions and the use of aesthetic language and synesthesia to represent the sublime essence of affective experiences. The use of music therapy techniques to develop emotional intelligence is presented as well as an examination of major music therapy approaches (Creative Music Therapy; Analytically-Oriented Music Therapy, Guided Imagery & Music) from an emotional perspective. The last part of the book considers the professional identity of the music therapist and how knowledge of emotions research can be useful in communicating from a scientist-artist approach.




1. Emotion, Music, and the Therapeutic Process

2. The Architecture of Emotions

3. Evolutionary and Anthropological Perpsectives on Emotion and Music


4. Psychophysiological Foundations of Emotions

5. Psychophsyiological Foundations of Music

6. Emotions and Music in Personality Development


7. An Emotional Process Focus in Clinical Music Therapy

8. The Isomorphism of Music and Emotion

9. Emotional Intelligence and Music Therapy

10. An Emotional Lens on Music Therapy Methods


11. Emotional Awareness and the Professional Music Therapist