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Music Therapy Conversations

Nov 13, 2019

After completing a degree in music, specialising in composition, electronic music and piano performance, David trained firstly as a Music Therapist and subsequently as a Psychotherapist. He worked in Mental Health Services in Cambridge as a Music Therapist and as a Clinical Team Lead for an Arts Therapies Service from 1985 to 2016.

During the 90s David trained at the British Association of Psychotherapists and gained membership of the British Psychoanalytic Council in 2000. He joined The British Psychoanalytic Association in 2011 and subsequently became a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association and The European Psychoanalytic Federation.

In his clinical work he tended to specialise in treating people with significant and chronic conditions that had not responded to previous treatments. His long experience in mainstream mental health contributed importantly to his work in private Psychoanalysis.

He also works as a Community Musician running a community project, running a Community Music Project - The Recovered Mkii. He also works as a church organist and jobbing musician with various Jazz and covers bands.

This conversation had its genesis in a recent Facebook discussion on the role of psychoanalytic theory in music therapy. We discuss theories of Freud, Winnicott and Bion. Along the way, an important distinction is drawn between Winnicott’s theory of holding and Bion’s container contained, and David makes an interesting link between Bion’s beta and alpha elements and musical expression.

John, D. (1992). Towards music psychotherapy. Journal of British Music Therapy6(1), 10-12.

John, D. (2014). Getting better: Some thoughts on the growth of the therapist. In Supervision of Music Therapy (pp. 95-112). Routledge.


The link to the 'Music As Therapy' donations page is here.