Supportive Eclectic Music Therapy for Grief and Loss: A Practical Handbook for Professionals

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9781581060270: Supportive Eclectic Music Therapy for Grief and Loss: A Practical Handbook for Professionals
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Grief is not only experienced in response to death and dying, but is our normal response to any kind of loss or trauma, such as congenital or acquired disability, loss of employment, physical and mental illness, and relationship breakdown. A practical handbook for helping clients and their families cope with loss. Includes a helpful epilogue on the aftermath of terrorism.

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About the Author:

Ruth Bright is a Consultant Music Therapist who specializes in grief counseling and was Founding President of the Australian Music Therapy Association. She is a long-standing member (and immediate Past-President) of the Board of Directors of the Gerontology Foundation of Australia, a national charity which provides funds for research into aspects of aging.


Personally, as a music therapist who works with war and terror victims, Dr. Bright's books and presentations in international conferences enriched my knowledge and touched me emotionally. In its 12 chapters the book encompasses a broad range of patients' population, explanations /definitions and clarification of relevant terminology. It embraces an attitude of openness toward a variety of approaches and procedures, planned interventions, contains rich references and more. Before getting to the content of the chapters, I would like to convey Bright's words concerning the terminology of the title: Supportive - the author is talking about "...the supportive nature of all music therapy, which provides comfort, resilience"... and also "when it is inappropriate to take the client too deep into issues of transference, ego strength and weakness" (p.ix-x) than rather brighten the quality of the present life. Eclectic - "in which the therapist strives to meet the needs of the individual client in a brief series of interventions by drawing on professional knowledge of a wide range of schools... approaches and methods" (p. ix). Grief - is "a response to any significance loss" (p. vi) not necessarily to death and dying, without judgment of amount and which might express sadness, anger, humiliation, depression, disbelief, relief of tension etc. Terminal illness - is broadly explained as all the conditions for which there is no remedy and the patient and relatives see him as being at the end of life (p. 75). Each chapter includes goals and learning objectives, definitions and explanations of relevant terminology, practical issues, approaches, models, therapeutic philosophy, techniques, clinical examples and vignettes. In her book, Dr. Bright is touching on both practical issues and theoretical-philosophical aspects. Though it claims to be a practical handbook, I found that there is a fair balance between practice and theory, efficient and interesting both to the beginner music therapist and to the experienced one. Among the theoretical points there are also core questions which occupy many music therapists though sometimes tend to be neglected: Is there universality of meaning in music? What are the influences of the socioeconomic background of the patient and the therapist on their listening and interpretation of music? Different theoretical and practical questions concerning improvised music as the main expressive language in music --Chava Sekeles, Ph.D., OTR, RMT/Israel

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