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Grasing, D. (2020). Kroeker, Joel. Jungian Music Psychotherapy: When Psyche Sings. London & New York: Routledge. 2019. Pp. xiv + 187. Hbk. $140. Pbk. $40.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(4):740-742.

(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(4):740-742

Book Reviews

Kroeker, Joel. Jungian Music Psychotherapy: When Psyche Sings. London & New York: Routledge. 2019. Pp. xiv + 187. Hbk. $140. Pbk. $40.95.

Review by:
Donald Grasing

Joel Kroeker does a good deal of heavy lifting in this remarkable new book. While drawing on decades of experience doing music therapy, he adopts a style that recalls Jung's own pan-disciplinary approach, weaving together clinical vignettes, psychological research, analytic writing, neuropsychology and more to establish the place of music in the realm of psyche. Kroeker understands psyche as fundamentally musical and an analytic session as a stream of potently charged energy, a sort of musical tapestry. His descriptions of clinical process reflect the joy he finds in his work and he has a penchant for metaphor that is well-suited to the task of integrating analytic, scientific and musical realms.

Much more than simply a book for music therapists, Jungian Music Psychotherapy calls our attention to a vast lacuna in the analytic literature: the musical dimension of human communication. Kroeker integrates his observations with theoretical contributions from analytical psychology, psychoanalysis, object relations and beyond. Even if one never intends to pick up an instrument, Jungian Music Psychotherapy offers valuable insights into psychological healing and communication.

The book's early chapters address the topic of music in Jung's writings, the use of music in the healing arts generally, as well as music as a means of communication distinct from spoken language. A short chapter on the relative absence of music in analytical psychology sets up the more immersive aspects of the book that follow.

‘What is music?’ asks Kroeker, in a chapter that touches on research in neuropsychology and reminds us that some great musicians (Beethoven, Evelyn Glennie) have been deaf. Kroeker finds in music an implicit challenge to the scientific-materialistic assumption that mental imagery represents only the external world. Rather, music is a multi-sensorial experience that can evoke affect, sensation, memory and more, and simultaneously in both listener and performer. Kroeker insists that music can provide a connection between the realm of the psychoid and that of meaning and association - ‘musicking as dreaming’, to use his phrase (p. 60).

[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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