The Heart of the Matter : Music and Art in Family Therapy book cover
1st Edition

The Heart of the Matter
Music and Art in Family Therapy

ISBN 9781782204930
Published June 7, 2018 by Routledge
150 Pages

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Book Description

The Heart of the Matter invites therapists from all disciplines to consider the use of music and art in their work with families. It introduces systemic music and art ideas, giving clinical examples from practice, and a rationale for using each technique. Conversations with therapists who have explored and incorporated the techniques into their work are shared, and include both personal and professional responses to incorporating new methods in practice. Through a back drop of exploration into what creativity is, the history of the arts in therapy, and consideration of what happens when we use words, the case for music and art to be part of practice with families is presented. This book is more than a handbook of techniques; it explores who we are as therapists, our challenges and our resourcefulness, as we operate in multiple systems to bring about positive change.

Table of Contents

Foreword; Introduction; 1. Beginnings – A Musical Journey with Alice Brown; 2. Foundations – Culture and Creativity; 3. Professional Contexts – Music and Art Therapy; 4. A Shared Humanity – Music, Words and the Mind; 5. Trying Something New – Thoughts from the Starting Line; 6. Introduction to Systemic Music and Art Techniques; 7. Systemic Music techniques; 8. Systemic Art techniques; 9. Testing the Waters – Applying New Methods; 10. New Horizons – Implications for Practice; Conclusion; Appendix – Recipe for play

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Hilary Palmer is a Consultant Family & Systemic Psychotherapist and qualified music therapist, working for the NHS and in private practice in Surrey. Formerly a clinical lead in Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services in Berkshire, Hilary has worked across age ranges and began her career in the field of learning disability.

Hilary completed her doctorate at the Tavistock, London, in 2014, researching the use of music and art for families receiving a service from CAMHS. The doctorate was a culmination of a career long interest in developing ideas and techniques which incorporate music and art into talking therapies.


"This is a ground breaking book, one that I highly recommend to all therapists." --Peter Fraenkel, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at The City College of the City University of New York.

"Nonverbal and emotional events are acquiring a growing status in family therapy, and it is due time to introduce the powerful dimensions of music and art to the field. This new emphasis should add a great deal to family and systemic practice as it embraces both clients’ and therapists’ creativity. This is what Hilary Palmer has achieved in her outstanding book. Its true richness, even more than its vast array of specific techniques, can be found in its premises: the author demonstrates a different way of thinking and practising therapy, one that allows for a truly artistic (musical) attitude toward therapeutic work, and a new, less intellectual and more engaging way of staying with clients." --Paolo Bertrando, MD, Phd., is Professor of Psychiatry at the Psychology Degree Course of the E-Campus Telematic University of Novedrate (Co).

"This accessible and informative book by Dr Hilary Palmer encourages psychotherapists and counsellors to branch out beyond the spoken word and immerse themselves in musical or arts-based activities with people in therapy. Dr Palmer’s many years of practice research show how music and art provide rich, serious and playful opportunities for communicating. The use of art and music in relational oriented psychotherapy and counselling makes for a more user-friendly experience that takes into account the culture of those coming to therapy and opens up possibilities for other voices to be heard, for experiences to be expressed and new meanings to emerge within families. The book is a great development for the systemic community, setting out new practical and theoretical ideas for the relationally attuned counsellor and psychotherapist." --Gail Simon, D.Prof., is Systemic Therapist & Principal Lecturer in Systemic Practice, University of Bedfordshire