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Harmony of the spheres: musical elements of couple communication

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Music is the language of the emotions and musical elements of speech are the way in which emotional states are expressed. This article amplifies the multi-modal musical spectrum of psychotherapy with couples, families, and individuals. Musical qualities of communication underlie myriad forms of unconscious and conscious communication in the therapeutic setting, whether concerning the analytic couple of individual therapy, the various dyads and triads of couple therapy, or the multiple intersecting groupings involved in family therapy.
When couples engage in states of intersubjective intimacy, their dialogue features a melodious form of speech featuring improvised reciprocal imitation, theme, and variation. When a couple have been triggered into an interlocking traumatic scene, harmony is replaced with cacophony. Awareness of the acoustic features of different emotional states such as depression, anger, and anxiety, as well as specific features of the activation of an interlocking traumatic scene, helps alert therapists that such a shift has taken place. In turn, this will help tune appropriate therapeutic responses.
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Keywords: INTERLOCKING TRAUMATIC SCENE; MUSICALITY; PRIMARY INTERSUBJECTIVITY; PSYCHOACOUSTICS; TRAUMATIC MEMORY SYSTEM; UNCONSCIOUS TRAUMATIC MEMORY SYSTEM; VOCAL ATTUNEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Couple and Family Psychoanalysis aim is to promote the theory and practice of working with couple and family relationships from a psychoanalytic perspective. It seeks to provide a forum for disseminating current ideas and research and for developing clinical practice.
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