Jungian Music Psychotherapy: When Psyche Sings, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Jungian Music Psychotherapy

When Psyche Sings, 1st Edition

By Joel Kroeker


208 pages

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Paperback: 9781138625662
pub: 2019-06-14
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Music is everywhere in our lives and every analyst is witness to musical symbols arising from their patients’ psyches. However, there is a common resistance to working directly with musical content. Combining a wide range of clinical vignettes with analytic theory, Kroeker takes an in-depth look at the psychoanalytic process through the lens of musical expression and puts forward an approach to working with musical symbols within analysis, Archetypal Music Psychotherapy (AMP).

Kroeker argues that we have lost our connection to the simple, vital immediacy that musical expression offers. By distilling music into its basic archetypal elements, he illustrates how to rediscover our place in this confrontation with deep psyche and highlights the role of the enigmatic, musical psyche for guiding us through our life. Innovative and interdisciplinary, Kroeker’s model for working analytically with musical symbols enables readers to harness the impact of meaningful sound, allowing them to view these experiences through the clarifying lens of depth psychology and the wider work of contemporary psychoanalytic theory.

Jungian Music Psychotherapy is a groundbreaking introduction to the ideas of Archetypal Music Psychotherapy that interweaves theory with clinical examples. It is essential reading for Jungian analysts, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, music therapists, academics and students of Jungian and post-Jungian studies, music studies, consciousness studies, and those interested in the creative arts.


"Joel Kroeker’s Jungian Music Psychotherapy significantly helps round out the rich array of tools Jung left therapists everywhere. By reminding us that all ‘ideas’ we have of the psyche are metaphors for energy systems, he brings us back to the elemental rhythms, harmonies, and discordances which hum beneath the surface of things. Just as Pater asserted that "all art aspires to the [wordless] condition of music," so Kroeker recalls us to re-sonate with the energies which drive our lives, and furthers the assignment of therapy to recover a relationship to those elemental soundings which resonate in our blood, our souls, and our imaginations." - James Hollis, PhD, Jungian analyst and author, Washington, D.C

"Joel Kroeker’s book is a valuable contribution to both music psychotherapy and Jungian psychology. It is the first book to unite the two fields and bring a depth psychology approach to the growing field of music and vocal psychotherapy. Singing can give us access to the invisible world: the world of imagery, memory and association by giving a voice to aspects of the self normally not heard from. In Jung’s words: ‘Music reaches the deep archetypal material that we can only sometimes reach in our analytic work with patients.’ Music allows the image and the feelings associated with the complex to be channeled into a concrete form so that the ego can then relate to a previously unknown aspect of the unconscious and begin to integrate it into one’s self-image thus assisting in the individuation process." - Dr. Diane Austin, Professor of Music Therapy NYU, Director of the Music Psychotherapy Center, music and vocal psychotherapist and author, New York City, USA

"Joel Kroeker writes passionately of the centrality of music in the life of the soul - and brilliantly! all in the key of Jung. To stir and to cure and to help the soul endure, there is nothing like music. This book is a most welcome addition to the library on the theory and practice of contemporary Jungian psychoanalysis." - Murray Stein, PhD, author of Soul: Treatment and Recovery

"Joel Kroeker’s book is an incisive roadmap to Jungian archetypal music psychotherapy. An inspiring book that beautifully takes you to the journey of symbolic listening, intrapsychic soundscape, and the endless stream of sound-based metaphors - another avenue to understand music therapy processes. An indispensable and lucid guide to Jungian theory, providing coverage of an approach and number of techniques not commonly taught in most music therapy trainings or textbooks. I recommend this book as a core text to every music psychotherapist. If there is only one book you buy on Jungian music therapy, this is the one." - Dr. Heidi Ahonen, Professor of Music Therapy. Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

"Like psyche, this book sings; as such it is an instantiation of creativity. There are echoes of the Spirit that groans for redemption without words. As I read the book, a flood of memories were evoked where the word-less Spirit was transformative and creative: a woman nurtured to health by listening to Dvorak’s Stabat Mater anda therapist who began the day of writing and therapy by listening to Brahms. Kroeker’s book exemplifies the wisdom of Chinese sage, Lao Tze, who believed that the true Tao (Way) is unspoken. Thanks Joel for helping me hear the music of the spheres in the stories of my clients."

- Al Dueck, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Cultural Psychologies, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pasadena, CA, USA

"We can be grateful for this book, which fills a chattering void in the Jungian literature with authentic soundings of the depths of individuals’ musical experiences. To the way he listens to his patients’ listening, the author brings the same kind of surprising sensitivity that enabled Jung to convey the importance of recalling what we actually see when we imagine. Taking us through the changes and chords of moments that have managed to score the reveries of people he has attended to, Joel Kroeker demonstrates that what people spontaneously hear from the music in and around them can amplify the successes and the pitfalls of their psychological growth processes every bit as reliably as their autonomous visualizations." - John Beebe, author of Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type: The Reservoir of Consciousness

"This outstanding book is an excellent addition to the discourse on music and analytic psychology. As a Jungian psychotherapist Joel explores the connections between music and its potential to act as a psychic space. By intertwining clinical case vignettes within the book Joel invites the reader into a fascinating narrative, elucidating the unique qualities of music and its potential to act as a symbolic therapeutic force. This book is articulate, well considered, and should be read by all psychotherapists and those who wish to understand the connections between music and the psyche." - Colin Andrew Lee, PhD, Professor of Music Therapy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

"Kroeker has a deep grounding and understanding of Jung, psychoanalysis, music theory and practice but he goes beyond all of these into our relationship with sound itself. I listened to every piece he mentioned in the book and how much that enriched the reading experience! Paradoxically Jungian Music Psychotherapy opens up areas that words alone cannot reach, pointing directly at the Nature of Mind where listening and perception become creative acts in and of themselves. Enjoy!" - John Allan, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Jungian analyst, author of Inscapes of the Child’s World: Jungian Counselling in Schools and Clinics

"Kroeker articulately levels his argument squarely at the primordial nature of music itself, as a kind of first language. He illustrates the essential point that this musical field as a location can take us beyond our current one-sided logos orientation to a more balanced and relational symbiotic musical ecosystem and even to the transpersonal level. Or as Kroeker puts it, the right music at the right time within the appropriate relationship can put us back in accord with nature. The implications of Kroeker’s main thesis here could be substantial on the collective level since he seems to imply that music is a liminal temenos for this necessary shift from the old order of logos-oriented dominion into a more liberated eros-oriented attitude." - Jerome S. Bernstein, Jungian analyst and author of Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma

Table of Contents

Dedication; Foreword by Mark Winborn; Introduction; Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: The Red Album: Jung’s relationship with music; Chapter 2: The Musical Cure: Cultural amplifications of musical healing throughout history; Chapter 3: Music as Orienting Force: The place of music within analytical psychology; Chapter 4: A Lexicon without a Language: How musical thinking transcends the confines of grammar; Chapter 5: A Conspicuous Silence: The absence of music in analytical psychology; Chapter 6: What is Music?: Music = Time + Sound; Chapter 7: Working Analytically with Musical Symbols: A natural next step from Jung’s original vision; Chapter 8: Archetypal Music Psychotherapy: Analysis through musical processes; Chapter 9: The Musical Field: Processing the symbiotic auditory ecosystem; Chapter 10: Bilocation and the Composer’s Vantage Point: Some hints on setting the frame from the world of the sound poet; Chapter 11: The Scope of a Music-Oriented Approach: On beauty, ethics and the role of creativity; Chapter 12: Musical Approaches to Analytic Technique: Navigating the dual role of musician and analyst; Chapter 13: Amplifying Musical Symbols: Example #1: Tonal centre as the musical archetype of Home; Chapter 14: In Conclusion…: Musical reverie as a profound investigation of oneself; References; Index

About the Author

Joel Kroeker is a Swiss-trained Jungian psychoanalyst and a music-centred psychotherapist based in Victoria, Canada. Kroeker is also an award-winning international recording artist. www.joelkroeker.com

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Jungian