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Erel-Brodsky, H. (2016). I'm All Ears—Thoughts on Psychoanalysis: The Musical Reverie. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(4):578-601.

(2016). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 52(4):578-601

I'm All Ears—Thoughts on Psychoanalysis: The Musical Reverie

Hilit Erel-Brodsky, Ph.D.

In this article I describe one dimension of the reverie phenomenon, which I term the “musical reverie,” whereby the therapist experiences a kind of daydreaming that includes songs with both lyrics and tunes. In early development, the reverie function permits a transformation of the baby's unprocessed and unmetabolized materials within the mother's psyche, so that once they are returned to the infant, it will be possible to contain them in a manner that neither overwhelms nor fragments the child. Likewise, this may operate in psychoanalytic treatment. This article suggests that the auditory dimension, where lyrics and tunes exist successfully, captures both the symbolic and the presymbolic, and bridges the two. I further suggest that the music serves the analyst in early, hopeless, and fragmented moments as a companion to reignite the psychic movement that has halted in both the patient's and the analyst's mind. The therapist's ability to process beta elements—the unmetabolized (unprocessed affective experience)—into alpha elements (thoughts that can be thought by the thinker) will enable the renewed movement and rehabilitation of the mind, even in barren, dead areas.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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