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 SRU Professor Edits New Book Detailing Case Studies in Psychodynamic Music Therapy 




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           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The personal – and moving – stories of 21 children, adolescents and adults from around the world who have undergone psychodynamic music therapy provide the basis of a new book edited by Dr Susan J. Hadley, assistant professor of music at Slippery Rock University.

          Hadley says her 448-page “Psychodynamic Music Therapy: Case Studies” grew out of personal and teaching convictions. She explains that by presenting real-life case studies, the work gives undergraduate students insight to the human psyche while showing them the relationship between music and human personality. “It will also serve to encourage students to continue their psychodynamic music therapy studies in graduate school,” she adds.

          The book is published by Barcelona Publishers, Gilsum, N.H.

          SRU’s music therapy program, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, is currently marking its 25th anniversary. The relatively new field trains therapists in using music for rehabilitating, maintaining and improving the lives of persons with physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. Hadley’s compilation allows experienced music therapists from nine countries to describe specific cases, including their findings. Diverse music therapy methods are featured, including improvisation, songs, music imaging and music listening.

          Among the case studies is one detailing a five-year-old boy’s life with an inoperable brain tumor. The study examines his disability and his innate ability to understand his illness and explain it to others through the use of music and musical instruments. Hadley says the term “music” is used in its broadest terms, noting that music therapy makes use of various musical sounds to imply and infer inner feelings. “The therapist helps patients use ‘music’ as a way of expression, and, in many cases, to resolve past conflicts,” she says.

          The publisher notes the work “captures the depth and far-reaching possibilities of music therapy while demonstrating the importance of training in advanced music therapy techniques.”

          Hadley, who earned her doctorate at Temple University, says her work has primarily dealt with the psychodynamic aspects of music therapy, and says her own experiences of music therapy “have given me a profound sense of the potential – and potency – of psychodynamic music therapy.” She says that working with other practitioners “heightened my excitement about the possibilities of the work we can do as music therapists and gave me a real sense of the power that music has in terms of reaching and expressing emotions.”

          A member of the SRU music faculty since 1997, Hadley teaches “Fundamental Skills in Music Therapy,” “Therapeutic Musical Strategies” and “Music Therapy Practicum” among other related classes.

          Some 30 students currently major in the program, which can lead to positions in hospitals, mental health clinics, day care centers, nursing homes, psychiatric institutions, schools, hospices and private practice.


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