Strengthening cathartic experiences with music
One glance at a person who has in his memory a painful experience, actualized in the present, is enough to determine the presence of this experience. Usually, a person tries to hide an emotion that is struggling towards realization, perhaps interpreting it as negative.
But the tensions that arise in a person who suppresses his emotions, help to destroy the “primary essence”, which increases the alienation peculiar to most people from themselves and others (Lowen, 1975). According to Lowen, the “primary essence” is the pleasure of life, the source of which is the freedom of movement and the absence of tension in the body.
In the modern world of “distress” and stimulants, the acquired automatism of the control of bodily stresses does not allow for sufficient freedom of movement for the timely response of bodily stresses. In many cases of therapeutic practice, the methods that include elements of catharsis (from the Greek. Catharsis – purification) remain the most effective.
According to Freud, the cathartic method is the preliminary stage of psychoanalysis. Freud associated catharsis with the fact that the client relives the traumatic events of childhood, and can respond to those feelings that were suppressed. Initially, catharsis was associated with the designation of the nature of the impact of ancient tragedy on man. The psychological meaning of the concept of “catharsis” is in emotional shock, experienced by a person under the influence of works of art on him and can lead to the fact that he is freed from insignificant experiences and thoughts and experiences a state of inner cleansing.
In itself, an emotionally meaningful memory can give that amount of energy and that intensity of tension, which is sometimes enough to “burn” the energy of a negative memory. But in cases of particularly deep “packing” of negative emotions, the release of the energy of the experience itself can be problematic. In such cases, the use of facilitating elements of the impact is necessary and giving a pronounced positive effect.
From non-contact methods of facilitating catharsis, we single out as particularly effective, specially selected music. In special cases, the music can be specially written taking into account the circumstances and individual inclinations of the patient or group.
An example of musical facilitation of catharsis is the so-called “Funeral March”. Played as sadly as possible, it reinforces the experience of loss, “bringing” even those participants in the funeral procession who had not yet had time to plunge into the feeling of grief that fell on them. That is, music can move the situation in the direction that is necessary in the circumstances at the moment. In holotropic therapy, which S. Groff uses in his work, “the powerful effect of hyperventilation itself is further enhanced by the use of stimulating music” (Groff, 1985).
A chemical reaction will proceed along a different path, if at a certain moment a catalyst is added. The Universe will evolve differently if in a critical situation there are not enough handfuls of electrons (Kozlov, Maykov, 2004). Let us add from ourselves that an unpleasant, “heavy” emotion can be suppressed by familiar mechanisms, if the corresponding music does not sound in time and pick up this emotion.
By and large, music influences and sates precisely the emotional plan of a person. That is, in practice, it can be argued that music is an emotion, a stream of emotions. To enhance cathartic experiences that lead to the purification of a person’s emotional plan from negative states that have arisen for certain reasons, it is necessary to correctly direct the flow of emotions that are present in music. It is necessary to take into account what is meant by the fact that the situation of experiencing a certain emotion is already in development. Music should only pick up and increase the intensity of a particular emotion or directional emotional flow.
Comparison can be the presence of sexual arousal, which can remain in the body for a long enough time, restrained by volitional effort, with the impossibility of immediate resolution. But for realization and release from the tension caused by the desire for sexual pleasure, it is enough to catch the tendency expressed by bodily manifestations and bring the tension to the limit, followed by catharsis and muscle relaxation.
In the case of music, it is also necessary to capture the trends in the development of the emotional situation. Emotion, like a wave can roll, and subside for a while, but then it will begin to grow again, and at that moment it can be picked up and accelerated for a steeper and longer burst. A feature of living systems is that they develop in jumps, when a relatively uniform, more or less predictable movement reaches the point of bifurcation – the choice of a further trajectory. And the way in which the system will develop depends both on itself and on the flows of energy and information surrounding it (Kozlov, Maykov, 2004).
Music is one type of linear sweep of information.