Feminist Perspectives in Music Therapy


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Feminist Perspectives in Music Therapy
edited by Susan Hadley
500 Pages 

Long overdue, this book is the first to explore feminist perspectives in music therapy. 

The introduction provides an overview of feminism in terms of history and major approaches of feminism and an overview of feminism and music therapy.

The chapters in Part One have sociological threads that tie them together: the first applies ideas of sociology to the field of music therapy and proposes four principles for a feminist music therapy; the second explores the potential of community music therapy, practiced within a feminist worldview, to free itself from the oppressive potential of therapy, society, and the self, by working with people within the context of their gendered social, cultural, and political environments; the third describes ways in which an ecological worldview can inform all of our actions as ethical human beings; the fourth describes how the ancient Goddess tradition can inform practices of music psychotherapy in general and BMGIM in particular; the fifth describes the centrality of the concept of Han in the lives of Korean women because of their oppressive life circumstances and explores the suitability of music as a form of expression in therapy for Korean women; and the sixth explores the possibilities of feminist music therapy in Taiwan by examining the role of music in healing in the indigenous, Chinese, and western culture traditions that make up Taiwanese culture as a whole.

The chapters in Part Two examine clinical work from a feminist perspective.  The clinical work explored includes music therapy with a West Indian woman who was recovering from a cerebrovascular accident; teenage girls who have been physically and sexually abused; women who have been emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abused; Israeli women who have suffered trauma in their lives; and women suffering from chronic pain.

The chapters in Part Three critically reflect on significant aspects of music therapy: music therapy discourse in terms of use of 'mother' concepts in music therapy literature and how these contribute to the conversation of traditional expectations of gender roles; song selection and the ways in which both the overt and covert messages in songs can contribute to the ways clients view themselves and/or their attitudes about and behaviors toward women; the branding of separate approaches to music therapy as a result of the competitiveness that grew out of the rise of capitalism; and, issues of representation of women in music, in healthcare, and in music therapy.

Finally, the chapters in Part Four focus on specific areas of training in music therapy from a feminist perspective including pedagogy, supervision, assessment, research, and ethics.


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