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Rite of passage and music therapy: A literature study of the theoretical perspectives on therapeutic change

 Jelena Golubovic 

Biografi:Jelena Golubovic har mastergrad i musikkterapi fra Norges Musikkhøgskole. Jelena har vært ansatt som kulturarbeider og musikkterapeut ved Aleris Omsorg siden 2015, og jobber mest med eldre mennesker med demens på sykehjem.

INTRODUCTION: This master thesis examines the concept of a “rite of passage” (RoP) as the potential model for understanding of the therapeutic change in music therapy.

METHODOLOGY: This thesis employs a detailed analysis of the extant literature that invokes three different theories connected to “RoP”: those of C.G. Jung, V. Turner and E. Dissanayake. The thesis argues for the “RoP” as the potential model of understanding by emphasizing complementary theoretical perspectives from the body of literature.

RESULTS: While the transformative nature of therapeutic change in music therapy is uniformly accepted across the literature, various perspectives as to the location and mechanism of change have emerged in the field:

DISCUSSION: Parts of the literature stress the connection between music’s inherent power, human’s inborn musicality, musical qualities and the ambiguous nature of the transformation process. Others address the qualities of a specific transitional field that emerges in the music therapeutic interaction. The literature also considers the process leading to therapeutic change as a healing process facilitated by the music therapist in a healer role.

CONCLUSIONs: The concept of “RoP” is relevant for understanding the psychological, evolutionary and cultural dimensions and mechanisms of the therapeutic change in music therapy.

The results of this study highlight the “RoP” as highly relevant for further research on the phenomenon of the therapeutic change in music therapy.

KEYWORDS: rite of passage, transformation, liminality.

Amir, D. (1993). Moments of Insight in the Music Therapy Experience. Music Therapy, 12(1), 85-100.

Jung, C. G. (1968). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (2.utgave). London: Routledge

Dissanayake, E. (2006). Ritual and Ritualization: Musical Means of Conveying and Shaping Emotion in Humans and Other Animals. I: S. Brown & U. Voglsten (Red.), Music and manipulation: on the social uses and social control of music (s. 31-56). Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books.

Kenny, C. B. (1989). The Field of play: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Music therapy. Atascadero, California: Ridgeview Publishing Company.