“Listening With the Third Ear” Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • This qualitative investigation sought parallels between empathy as experienced in musical performance relationships and empathy as described in therapeutic encounters. Nine professional musicians were invited to offer their reflections on the ways in which relational connections influenced their overall performance experience. Three themes emerged as illustrative of parallels between empathic connections in musical performance and those in therapy: striking a chord, likened to forming an empathic connection; staying in tune, likened to the working relationship; and making music, likened to therapeutic process. Participants emphasized the importance of felt-level mutuality and highlighted its complexity. This study confirms the centrality of the relational bond in forging effective communication and purposeful interaction. Examination of nontherapeutic relational models offers a promising and innovative direction for future study with potential for yielding perhaps deeper understanding of therapeutic constructs. Exploration of empathy in nonclinical relationships may also enhance the accessibility of this ephemeral construct for students and researchers dedicated to capturing its impact in therapeutic process.

publication date

  • July 2012