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Vol 21, No 1, Article 4: PDF

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Music Psychotherapy with Borderline Adolescents: Investigating the Stages of the Therapeutic Process

Abstract: I present an original theoretical contribution based on some personal research results Following prior controlled longitudinal studies of music psychotherapy with borderline adolescents suffering from emotional and conduct disorders (N=65), a qualitative exploration was undertaken with the aim of studying their therapeutic process in some depth.
A detailed investigation of the stages of the music therapeutic process, based on the phenomenological and structural approach, allows support for the hypothesis that music psychotherapy based on active music making, and also on writing stories under musical induction, could contribute to the restructuring of the underlying personality organisation: thanks to the mobilisation of the marks of ancient traumata, registered at the level of the body and the unconscious, and thanks to the imaginary and symbolic elaboration of archaic emotions and representations.
Four characteristic stages are illustrated with clinical examples. Their regular succession also demonstrates the binding capacity of music. The results of the study are interpreted in the light of recent international research regarding dissociation, complex post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. Suitable possibilities for tertiary prevention with borderline adolescents derive from this study.
Keywords: Adolescence, biographic traumata, borderline functioning, emotional memory, music psychotherapy, stories written under musical induction, therapeutic process  

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