Enhancing cathartic experiences with music
Just one look at a person who has in his memory a difficult experience, actualized in the present, in order to determine the presence of this experience. Usually, a person tries to hide an emotion breaking out to realization, possibly interpreting it as negative.
But tensions arising in a person who suppresses his emotions help to destroy the “primary essence”, which increases the estrangement from most people and others (Lowen, 1975). According to Lowen, the “primary essence” is the pleasure of life, the source of which is freedom of movement and lack of tension in the body.
In the modern world of “distress” and stimulants, the acquired automatism of controlling bodily stresses does not allow one to have enough freedom of movement for the timely response of bodily stresses. In many cases of therapeutic practice, the most effective methods remain, which include elements of catharsis (from the Greek. Catharsis – purification).
According to Freud, the catharsic method is a preliminary stage of psychoanalysis. Freud associated catharsis with the fact that the client is reliving the traumatic events of childhood, and can react to those feelings that were suppressed. Initially, catharsis was associated with the designation of the nature of the impact of ancient tragedy on humans. The psychological meaning of the concept of “catharsis” is the emotional shock experienced by a person under the influence of a work of art on him and capable of causing him to be freed from insignificant feelings and thoughts and experience a state of inner purification.
An emotionally significant memory in itself can produce that amount of energy and the intensity of tension that 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 may be problematic. In such cases, the use of facilitating exposure elements is necessary and gives a pronounced positive effect.
Of the non-contact methods of facilitating catharsis, we single out as especially effective, specially selected music. In special cases, music can be specially written taking into account the circumstances and individual inclinations of the patient or group.
An example of the musical facilitation of catharsis is the so-called “Funeral March”. Played as sadly as possible, it enhances the experience of loss, “bringing” even those participants in the funeral procession who have not yet managed to plunge into the feeling of grief that has fallen 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 in itself is further enhanced by the use of stimulating music” (Groff, 1985).
The chemical reaction will proceed in a different way if the catalyst is added at a certain point. The universe will evolve differently if a handful of electrons is not enough in a critical situation (Kozlov, Maykov, 2004). We add from ourselves that an unpleasant, “heavy” emotion can be suppressed by the usual mechanisms, if the corresponding music does not sound and pick up this emotion in time.
By and large, music affects and saturates 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 properly direct the flow of emotions present in the music. It must be taken into account that this means that the situation of experiencing a certain emotion is already in development. Music should only pick up and enhance the intensity of a particular emotion or directed emotional flow.
A comparison may be the presence of sexual arousal, which can remain in the body for a long enough time, restrained by volitional effort, if immediate resolution is not possible. But for the 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 trends in the development of the emotionality of the situation. Emotion, like a wave can roll, and subside for a short while, but then starts to increase again, and at this moment it can be picked up and dispersed 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 a bifurcation point – 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 a type of linear sweep of information.