I remember The Congress in Hamburg very well. I was on the Scientific Committee so I was invited to a formal dinner that seems like it was held in a castle, but I think it was some kind of beautiful, government building. I was introduced to many well known international music therapists there. Many of us knew each other by name but had never met in person before. I became good friends with several of the people I met that night.
I remember presenting on Jungian Influenced Music Psychotherapy and for some reason, getting lots of questions and feedback from Italian music therapists. It was a large room, I was on a stage, and the room was packed. I was somewhat nervous beforehand but the audience was friendly and the presentation was very well received. It was truly exciting.
My other memories are more colorful. A large group of us went on a bike trip through the countryside led by German music therapy students. I think they were disappointed that we only made about a third of the trip before we got tired and started dropping like flies. Another day, me and two of my friends, visited the Museum of Torture; I think that was the name. It wasn’t far from the hotel and we couldn’t resist. It was actually fascinating but not on the congress list of places to visit!
One night a group of us went out to dinner and ended up leisurely wandering around the city. My friend and I somehow got separated from the others and went looking for them. We somehow wound up in the “red light” district which was off limits for women. The ladies who worked there were not pleased to see us. The next thing I knew I was soaking wet. They had thrown buckets of water on us from their balconies.
Of course, I also attended many interesting presentations and had lively discussions with colleagues. Once again, I realized how much I love European and International Congresses, the quality and diversity of the work, the opportunity to meet and make new friends from around the world and the stimulus to open myself to new concepts and ideas under the influence of the colors, tastes and atmosphere of an unfamiliar country.
Sponsored by World Health Organization, the 8th World Congress of Music Therapy happened in Hamburg, Germany, between July 14 and 20, 1996, with the participation of members from 32 countries and the presentation of 294 papers, among which seven from Brazilian music therapists (survey from the Book of Abstracts). My own participation involved a workshop named “Transcultural influences in the perception of the polysemic nature of music and music therapy”, into which actively participated music therapists from Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, and the United States, something that afforded many contributions for the discussion of transcultural aspects.
During the “VII Congreso Mundial de Musicoterapia”, including the "First World Congress of the World Federation of Music Therapy", held in 1993 at Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain, I was invited by Dr. Cheryl Dileo (USA) to participate in the World Federation of Music Therapy Director Council (Board of Directors) and elected as Chair of the Clinical Practice Commission by an audience composed of music therapists from all the countries represented in the congress.
The Director Council and the president of the WF Dr. Cheryl Dileo, assigned as task to this commission the creation of a committee of music therapists from the several continents who were to elaborate a definition for "music therapy" on behalf of the World Federation (WF) to be presented to the community in 1996 during the forthcoming 8th World Congress of Music Therapy to be gathered in Hamburg, Germany.
Back from Spain and with the acquiescence of the World Federation's Director Council (DC) I first invited the Brazilian music therapist, Marco Antonio Carvalho Santos and later, also with the support of the DC, the invitations were extended to other music therapists who joined the Clinical Practice Commission, thus formed by the following,
The definition was discussed and elaborated by the Commission between 1993 and 1996 and initially presented to the WF during the Director Council meeting convened on July 13, 1996, one day before the Congress was opened. A few modifications were made and, during the last WF general meeting assembled in the closing day (July 20), this definition was presented to the community of music therapy. Nowadays it could seem odd that three years would be necessary for such a definition to be elaborated. Nonetheless, we should stress that communication was then achieved mostly by post office mail or fax, which was at the time the swiftest way for the transmission of written messages between people. Therefore, the definition was mostly elaborated by means of physical mail. The ideas from each music therapist were sent to us and then socialized among the commission members with the bottom-line that we had to discuss them during precisely three years before the definition could be approved by the WF Director Council and then presented to the attending music therapists from 32 different countries.
Rather important names in the current music therapy scenario (Dr. Cheryl Dileo, Dr. Carolyn Kenny and Dr. Diane Austin), as well as the presentations of lecturers from other fields turned this event into one of the great events in music therapy. Among these, it is important to highlight the name of the Chilean neurobiologist, Humberto Maturana, who conceived a biological theory for knowledge and who lectured on “The biological unity of aesthetics and health”.
Besides the scientific side, it is important to bring back to mind the opening concert performed by a metal ensemble and the presentation of new musical instruments, including performances by those in the closing concert.
Dr Hans-Helmut Decker-Voigt, the Congress Chairman, greatly exerted himself to make this a broad success in the scientific area, furthering the exchange of experiences between music therapists from several countries all over the world, thus contributing for the development of world music therapy.
I have such clear memories of that Hamburg conference. (It was the second time I had been to Hamburg. Previously - 1981, I think - it was to a world congress on gerontology, at that same hotel/conference centre!.)
The opening was a really cheerful occasion: all the member of the WFMT council were given miniature musical instruments and we all played together on the platform - I still have mine; it is a wooden recorder, about 3 inches long! I cannot now remember what music was played but the entire session was a lovely opening for our conference.
My paper was "Coping with the suicide of one's patient". It was given in the main hall with multiple translation: this was well organised: the speakers were asked to talk with the interpreters beforehand, to sort out any unusual terminology or whatever - which was an excellent idea. (And, although this was not specified, it probably gave the interpreters a brief time to hear each person's speech and style, which would have made the translation etc easier, I imagine.)
My paper is attached, but here are a few comments and recollections also:
When the paper was finished, I found a queue of 5 people waiting to ask for help - people who had 'lost' a patient through suicide but who had been given no help in coping with this. (As I remember it, these 'counselling' sessions took so long that I did not have time to go to any more papers that day! But it was (a) good to know I could offer some help but (b) horrifying that no help had been provided at the time the suicides occurred.
All of the paper was based with personal experience and study, both coping with the suicide of a few of my own patients in the psych. hospital, but also being asked to facilitate several de-briefing sessions. (Sometimes this was an individual session, to help a trainee psychiatrist who was having overwhelming feelings of guilt.)
(In one such situation, the hospital administrators knew that the psychiatrist in charge was on a witch-hunt as to who to blame for the suicide, whose fault it was that the suicide was possible. But they knew that I would not take that attitude, so - probably to the surprise and irritation of the doctor concerned - she was simply a member of the group, with me as facilitator!)
Actually I have worked with many people who had a major risk of suicide, when the music therapy sessions proved to be successful in changing the person's attitudes - as you may know, I used a lot of sketches on the white board, and improvised music - to reflect anger and the ways to deal with it.
So the paper was not at all a theoretical presentation but based on real-life experiences over many years.
Re office-bearers: it was at this Congress that I ceased to hold office - I had been "Immediate past president' since 1993.
As told in an interview by Denise Grocke in a previous issue of Voices, Cheryl Dileo was appointed President of the WFMT at the World Congress in Vitoria, Spain. She served from 1993 to 1996. Cheryl shared that, during her term as President, “There was an increase and growing involvement of individuals from Latin America and from countries that were not typically represented in the Congress in Spain, and a growing commitment for all of us to become more connected internationally…. Giving voice to countries that up until then had not been included in discussions of the WFMT stands out as the legacy from my Presidency. I actively sought involvement of colleagues from South America, China and Japan, and representatives from various areas of the world were included in the membership of Commissions so that the Council had direct information about developments in those countries.”
This increasing internationalization of the WFMT was apparent at the 1996 Hamburg World Congress, where the 2000 delegates in attendance came from 43 countries. Cheryl’s role as outgoing WFMT President was important at this congress. She can be seen participating in various formal and informal events in these pictures.
Isabelle Frohne Hagemann presented a paper called "Musical Life Panorama" A Music Therapy method for diagnosis and therapy of emotional and social realities
At the World Congress in Hamburg 1996, the World Federation Commissions presented landmark documents. Lia Rejane Barcellos was Chair of the Clinical Training Commission and they developed the definition of music therapy that was agreed to by all countries present at the WFMT meeting. It was a significant moment in the globalisation of music therapy.
As Chair of the Commission on Education and Training I had collated information on training courses throughout the world that had been sourced via a questionnaire devised by Tony Wigram, Hanne-Mette Kortegaard and myself. The questionnaire was completed by training courses throughout Europe, UK, Australia and a sample of courses in the USA. The results and details of each course were compiled into the Directory, which was distributed at the World Federation Council meeting in Hamburg.
I remember attending a fabulous organ recital given by Christoph Schwabe at the St Michel’s Church, a magnificent Baroque church with large organ, embellished with gold leaf. There was no time to have dinner before the organ concert and I recall we were quite hungry. Some people in the group had bread, and there was a bottle of wine. So we sat up in the balcony of the church sharing the bread and wine! It was quite symbolic.
I remember being interested to hear about music therapy in Germany, particularly as I don’t read the German language and had not read the German journals. The Congress gave me the chance to hear German papers on music therapy, in the cultural context.
And of course Hamburg is a beautiful city, and trips down the canals were gorgeous.
I believe that the Hamburg congress was one of the most memorable conferences I have ever attended. What renders this remarkable for me, is that I almost didn’t attend. I had never wanted to go to Germany. As a Jew whose extended family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, had all died during the holocaust, I believed that I would find it too difficult to visit Germany. And then the 8th World Congress of Music Therapy (2nd International Congress of the World Federation of Music Therapy) was held in Hamburg and to my own amazement, I decided to go.
I remember the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel with extreme clarity. The sky was very overcast, it was raining lightly, and the taxi driver, an immigrant from a sunny, hot country, told me that the weather had been the most difficult aspect of his adjustment to life in Hamburg. According to the taxi driver, it was always gray and often raining. He warned me not to anticipate an improvement in weather conditions for the duration of my stay in Hamburg. I reacted strongly to this statement, as if I would somehow be a prisoner of the dull gray skies. As we talked, however, the sky began to clear and the sun peaked out from behind the clouds. The driver said that I must be bringing good luck from Canada. He was thrilled and so was I. The sun came out each day of my stay, at times for hours, at other times for a shorter period. Each time, it brightened my spirits. As did Fran Goldberg, with whom I shared a room. It seemed that in Hamburg I needed the sun, and I needed my friends. Fortunately, I had a sufficient amount of both.
Fran and I had so much fun together. We had been very close for years and so we spent our special time in the wee hours of the night, catching up, talking about the important experiences in our lives since we had last seen each other, talking intimately about ourselves. We also shared our thoughts and ideas about music therapy and other aspects of our professional lives and we shared our impressions of Hamburg, our thoughts and feelings about Germany. This was to be a major theme for me.
I participated in an educators’ meeting on training standards for advanced competencies and I presented a paper entitled Transference and transference resistance in Guided Imagery and Music training. A couple of hours before this presentation, my panty hose tore. I went to a shopping mall that was not too far away and looked for a hosiery store. Unable to find one on my own, I decided to ask for help. First I struggled with a combination of rudimentary German and equally rudimentary Yiddish. When I did not succeed in making myself understood, I added charade-like motions. These did the trick! Armed with directions and a new addition to my impoverished German vocabulary, I set off in search of the store in which I could find die strumpfhose, a word that I have never forgotten. I bought two pairs of lovely panty hose that I wore for many years. The quality and design delighted me.
As for the presentation, itself, I had been told that my paper would be a sub-keynote paper. I had no idea what that was and I’m not sure that the term was used again in later congresses. It meant that my paper had been selected within its time slot to be the one presented in the large hall used for plenary sessions and translated simultaneously. I remember feeling very honoured and somewhat anxious. The presentation was very well received and afterwards, I had a long discussion with Helen Odell whom I had known since her tour of Canada and the U.S. years earlier. We talked about music therapy as depth therapy, sharing our respective ideas, recognizing how much we had in common.
I have many more specific memories of presentations attended, of conversations with very dear colleagues on all kinds of topics, for example, the ways in which Denise Grocke, Marilyn Sandness, Helen Odell, and Barbara Hesser enriched my thinking about advanced training. I also have memories of my ‘constants’, that is, my friends, initially colleagues who over the years had become part of the fabric of my life. For the sake of brevity, however, I will focus on what I could refer to as my personal experience as a Jew in Germany. I had many conversations with other Jewish friends and colleagues, Dorit Amir being one. Never before had I consciously shared myself with music therapy colleagues and friends as a Jew. In Hamburg, I felt like a Jewish music therapist. This was a novel experience. I found myself almost compelled to engage German colleagues in discussions about their childhoods, their parents, their grandparents. Some of us stayed up talking into the middle of the night, sharing intimate thoughts and feelings, as Jews and Germans, as human beings with different family histories but sometimes with surprisingly similar perspectives on some major world events. Enduring bonds were forged in Hamburg. A group of us followed up on these conversations during the next World Congress in 1999 by going together to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Curious about similarities and differences in Jewish religious practice, I often attend synagogue services in the cities to which I travel. Not only was Hamburg not an exception, but while there, I was still saying the daily memorial prayers for my father that observant Jews recite for an eleven month period following the death of a parent. Unable to get to a synagogue on a daily basis, I made a point of going for Sabbath services both Friday evening and Saturday morning and witnessed a level of security that I had never before encountered - barbed wire, a street closed to traffic, police cars parked in front of the synagogue. In contrast to this extreme difference in the external environment from that to which I am accustomed, once inside the synagogue, I found familiar cantillation, trope and liturgical melodies. Once inside, I felt at home. At the conclusion of services, I needed time and space to reflect and so I walked the very long distance from the synagogue back to the hotel.
I actually spent quite a bit of time during this congress simply walking around, looking at the streets, the buildings, the houses, and at the people. I came upon a small square that was identified by a plaque as a place where Jews were rounded up to be deported, I would guess, to extermination camps. First I read the plaque by myself, and although I understood it, I wanted to be sure that my understanding was accurate. I began to stop passersby to ask them to translate it for me. Once in contact with them, I engaged these total strangers in conversation, asking them about their lives, about their thoughts about Germany’s role in the Second World War, about their thoughts about the plaque that they had just translated. Somehow my hunger for this type of exchange took precedence over my customary regard for social convention and graces. I felt hungry for this experience. I felt hungry to know. After an initial hesitation, most people received my questions surprisingly well and the interaction seemed mutually edifying and satisfying.
My time in Hamburg left a deep impression on me. I remember my presentation at this congress as one that focused on specific aspects of the unconscious. I remember my experience at this congress as being largely driven by aspects of my own unconscious. This congress provided me with my first opportunity to directly confront some of the issues related to my family history. For this I remain grateful.
My first experience with the World Congress of Music Therapy was the1983 Paris Congress. That was pretty exciting. But by 1996, I was better established and was able to appreciate all of the activity even more. I’ll never forget the Congress opening. This was a truly wonderful musical event with several women wearing short shorts playing saxophones. They were terrific! And I remember thinking that this very contemporary performance made a great opening event for the Congress.
My own sense of the Congress was two-fold – both personal and professional. Personally, my mother had passed away a short week prior to the conference. And it was wonderful to have close friends/colleagues close-by when the loss of my mother hit me between the eyeballs in the middle of the conference. Fran Goldberg watched over me like a hawk and helped me to get it together for my sub keynote speech. I also took great comfort in hanging out with my friends from New York University and Norway.
I was able to dedicate the speech to my mother and began by singing one of the Native American lullabies that she used to sing to me as a child. This was fitting because my speech was about music therapy and culture. Someone sent me Lars Ole Bonde’s comments about the Congress from the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy. And there I read his report about how meaningful this simple a capello Native song had been to him.
The title for my presentation was “Cultural Influences on Music Therapy Training.” My speech reported findings from a research project in which I had sent out 89 questionnaires to Music Therapy programs around the world. I adapted Ponterotto’s 1995 “Multicultural Competency Checklist for Counseling Training Programs.” I believe that this study was one of the first empirical research projects to investigate how Music Therapy education and training programs integrate cultural factors into their programs. You can read the full report in my 2006 book, Music and Life in the Field of Play: An Anthology (Barcelona Press).
My memories of the 1996 World Congress are mostly personal. It was the first world congress that I attended, and I had no idea what to expect. I was invited to present at the congress because I had published a chapter in Wheeler’s Research in music therapy book. I stayed at a hotel that was a distance from the congress site, and met other congress attendees who were staying there, also. I also had a connection with a local family, and spent some time with them.
The most personal connection I made at the congress was with Tony Meadows. We were standing in line to sign-in to the congress, and developed an immediate bond. Tony was such a nice guy – and still is! I spent much of the congress going to the same sessions as Tony, and sitting with him. One day, though, I spent the day with the family that I knew in Hamburg, and it didn’t even occur to me to say anything to Tony about it. When I went back to the congress the next day, Tony said something like, “Where were you? I was worried about you!” I was deeply touched that after just a couple of days Tony was so concerned about me. I’ve rarely “disappeared” from a conference or congress since then that I haven’t let someone know where I was going.
The presentation I made was on the National Association for Music Therapy’s (now American Music Therapy Association) Professional Competencies, on which I had just completed a three-year study to determine the most important items to be included in the competencies. There was a great deal of interest in the European community regarding how to define music therapy practice, since countries approached music therapy differently, yet music therapists wanted to have a common ground. I was involved in many discussions regarding how the USA was determining its competencies.
At my presentation, I decided to start with an improvisation on either the word “competencies” or on the concept of competencies, I don’t remember which. What I do remember is that the improvisation didn’t go over very well! There wasn’t nearly as much participation from the attendees as I expected, and that might have been because of the way I presented the improvisation initially. I left the improvisation behind quickly and proceeded directly to my presentation, which I must say was more successful!
As I look at the email addresses to which Barbara’s request went regarding receiving our memories of the congress, I notice several people’s names whom I have had significant contact over the years, some growing closer while others have become more distant. Fran Goldberg and I were “smoking buddies” in those days, and I remember spending time with her over a good “smoke” every once in a while.
My memories of this congress are both personal and professional, but the ones that have stayed with me the longest are the personal ones, which makes perfect sense to me. After all, at the end of the day, the most important things in our lives are the interactions with people – especially people we have grown to love.
The 8th World Congress of Music Therapy was the first one in which I participated and I was excited about all the international colleagues full of energy and enthusiasm and sharing many diverse approaches of music in therapy. Although they were all very welcome I felt a bit ashamed, as for us as German music therapists it was not easy at all to be good hosts, becausewe were dealing with deep conflicts within our professional associations at that time.
My personal highlight was to meet Daniel Stern who was invited due to the visionary idea of Hans-Helmut Decker-Voigt and who has influenced modern understanding of music therapeutic processes maybe like no other scientist since then. I was his chair at the plenary session and I remembermy own nervousness and in contrast to this his modest and friendly patience, when questions from the audience did not exactly meet the subject of his presentation.
Still for me the moments between the mega events are as important, the encounter with colleagues like Cheryl Dileo or Tony Wigram, who have become my friends since then, the confidential discussion with Karin Schumacher at the hotel bar late at night or the spontaneous music session in the corridors of the huge and anonymous congress center of Hamburg.
In that occasion I was particularly impressed by Dr. Maturana’s lecture. The theme was the coherence in brain development and in human being personal and social interactions. In his perspective the music, and music therapy, represented “love” which can be considered the most effective coherence state and, at the same time, can improve the coherence in the brain and between human beings. Maturana talked about the relevance of coherence in change within each system (i.e. brain’s areas; in autistic people or in other brain dysfunction it could be that there was no coherence in developing), between different systems (different body functions: emotion and cognition), or people (i.e. mother-infant relationship). In this perspective coherence is very fundamental to allow that change could happen in a proper way. He expressed the following metaphor: “You buy two pair of shoes equally comfortable. For a period you use only one pair. Your feet and shoes would modify coherently, adapting each other. After a while, if you will wear the second pair of shoes, now they could not be so comfortable because your feet changed but the shoes didn’t do coherently. Music in music therapy changes following coherently each person’s needs and behaviour, just like love does between people”.
The first image that comes to mind when I try to remember this conference is a very large and busy conference centre in the Radisson Hotel, Hamburg, the foyer being the setting for the launch of landmark text Music Therapy Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Perspectives, edited by Dr. Barbara Wheeler. The mid-90s saw a rapid increase in the number of music therapy publications, and in that same decade a healthy surge in the numbers of doctoral candidates in music therapy. Wheeler's tome was timely. Barbara, despite various Round Tables and business meetings to attend, and her own presentations, was kind enough to step in (at very short notice) to chair my presentation, Motive and Metaphor in Music Therapy with Anorexic clients. It was a sub-keynote or some such thing, and focused on linking musical and psychodynamic phenomena in music therapy with anorexia clients, illustrated by audio case material. The substance of this paper constituted what was to become a central theme of all my work, although I have not yet published much about the psychodynamic aspects of my therapy practice. I remember citing a little poem by the German poet, Eichendorff, to sum up - albeit somewhat cryptically - certain aspects of symbolization and working with unconscious processes.
Schläft ein Lied In aller Dingen Die da träumen fort und fort, Und die Welt hebt an zu singen, Triffst Du nur das Zauberwort.Loosely translated…
There sleeps a song in everything That goes on dreaming, And the world rises up singing, If only you find the magic word.
I am only now writing up that paper some 15 years later.
World Congresses are always memorable for meeting up with friends and colleagues from across the world. The Hamburg Congress was no exception, but there was one party that I remember for its sheer verve and unexpectedness. I was asked if I would chair an afternoon of papers given in Spanish, despite my not speaking any Spanish at all. I expressed my doubts about my suitability for this role, but arrangements were all in place. My misgivings were short-lived: the warmth and enthusiasm exuded by presenters and audience turned each paper into a lively debate, with helpful translators coming forward from the audience to assist those non-Spanish speaking delegates including myself. A paper by Argentinian psychoanalyst and tango pianist Dr. Carlos Caruso and his wife on music therapy with anorexic clients was particularly memorable, highlighting the interplay of psychotherapy and music therapy techniques. After this, someone began distributing beautifully carved wooden bead necklaces and bracelets as presents for the presenters, chairperson and discussant; this signalled spontaneous dancing and singing, bringing an already lively 3 hour session to a celebratory close. That afternoon gave me a lasting memory of the South American music therapy community, their generosity of spirit and the joy of their music-making.
I remember I presented a paper on "Music and Identity". This was later published in the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy (6(1), 3-13, 1997) and printed with some modifications in my book, Music Therapy: Improvisation, Communication, and Culture (Barcelona Publishers, 1998).
My memories from the congress are first of all the presentation by Daniel Stern and my opportunity to meet with him at a dinner party during the conference. This was one among a few meetings with Stern, the other through his engagements with Aalborg University. His theories have made a lasting influence on my understanding of what is going on in improvisations, and especially his talk in Hamburg, where he outlined his understanding of how communication could be upheld or broken.
Good memories come back to my mind of the VIII World Congress of Music Therapy, as it was my first time in Hamburg - and in Germany. I enjoyed the international atmosphere and the interaction with colleagues.
I remember with so strong memories the fantastic showroom of music instruments and resources for music therapy sessions. It was impressive!
My contribution to the scientific program was the paper Evaluative Methods in Music Therapy , and was a pleasure for me the attendance of Argentinian colleagues.
Once again, my experience of attending a World Congress of Music Therapy has been an opportunity to growth as professional, and as person.
Even though it is many years ago that I attended the conference I still have some very vivid memories – partly from the conference itself where I for the first time presented on the topic of traumatic countertransference in an Analytical Music Therapy context. The title of the lecture was "Countertransference in music therapy with victims of abuse" and I presented on the many different types of countertransference experiences one might have in relation to work with this population through music examples from audiotaped sessions. A Powerpoint adaptation of this presentation is included here. [AMTPP, Germany, revised] I remember being somewhat nervous as at that time Analytical Music Therapy still was not such an accepted and well known form of music therapy as it is today. I was also nervous about the fact that I was taking a risk by publicly revealing my personal traumatic musical countertransference released by the client – something that I up till then only had been revealing and working with in my own personal music therapy supervision with Professor Arthur Robbins – a psychoanalyst and creative arts therapist that has been my weekly mentor and supervisor for now 20 years. This presentation was very well received and gave me the support and momentum to start off a journey about the importance of teaching music therapy clinicians how one can make clinical use of the knowledge that one receives as a music therapist from the different types of countertransference – subjective as well as intersubjective – traumatic or non traumatic, somatic or non somatic. I was encouraged to publish the lecture and the developed theory in relation to musical traumatic countertransference which I did in 1999 in a book chapter: "Music as symbolic expression: Analytical Music Therapy" in Beyond Talk Therapy (Ed.: D. J. Wiener), APA, Washington DC. Little would I know that I would revisit the theme of traumatic countertransference much more intensely later on when the 9/11 attack at the World Trade center happened, which led to me doing music therapy community work with families that lost their loved ones and professionals involved with the work for one year at Beth Israel Medical Center with a collective of music therapy pioneers in New York. Out of this work came a book with chapters authored by all music therapists involved: Joanne V. Loewy & Andrea Frisch Hara (Eds.) (2002): Caring for the caregiver: The use of music and music therapy in grief and trauma. Silver Spring, MD: AMTA. The journey in relation to trauma and countertransference continued with many teaching articles among which I can mention: Scheiby, B.B. (2005). An intersubjective approach to music therapy: identification and processing of musical countertransference in a music psychotherapeutic context. In Music Therapy Perspectives, Vol. 23, Silver Spring, MD: AMTA. (Audio excerpts that accompany this article are available on line at: www.wmich.edu/musictherapy/mtp.html. p. 8-17,). And lately one more deeply related article to trauma: Scheiby, B. B. (2010) Analytical Music Therapy and integrative medicine: The impact of medical trauma on the psyche. In: Stewart, K. (Ed.) Music Therapy & Trauma: Bridging Theory and Clinical Practice. Satchnote, New York, USA. So the "music" that started for me in Hamburg is still playing its own powerful tune in theory and practice.
Another strong memory from the Hamburg world conference was reuniting with my former teachers and fellow students from the Herdecke Mentorenkurs at a cozy restaurant. We had not seen each other all together since 1980 and this felt very important and significant that we all still were "in business" and many of us had become professors at academic music therapy programs, which were the intent of the program. As far as my memory is correct the following were present: The Professors Johannes Th. Eschen, Merete Birkebaek, Rachel Verney, Colleen Purdon, Ole Teichmann, and the former students: Mechthild Langenberg, Eckard Weymann, Tilman Weber, Frank G. Grootaers, Rosemarie Fug, Wolgang Hass Mahns, Rosemarie Tupfker, Ulrike Winter, Rosemarie Tupker, Joachim Ostertag, Inge N. Pedersen, and I. This meeting confirmed how strong a bonding and learning processes had taken place and interesting enough we have been able to keep connected and last year we arranged a wonderful conference and gathered for our 30 year's anniversary in Hamburg. A year later we published collectively a book with contributions in German and English about our experiences during the Herdecke Mentorenkurs and what happened with us afterwards: (2010): Joh. Th. Eschen (Ed.): Mentorenkurs Musiktherapie Herdecke Ruckblick und Ausblick. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden 2010. [attach ZM_Eschen] Pictures from this gathering in 2009 are included here.
The Hamburg world conference also confirmed many social long lasting friendships for my part (besides the Herdecke students) with the music therapists Alan Turry, Barbara Wheeler, Carl Bergstrom Nielsen, Diane Austin (who had bad luck at a tour in the Red Light district – she was "watered" with a bucket of water coming from one of the top windows of the "business ladies"). Lots of laughter, German beer and fun are also part of my memories.
For me the World Congress of Music Therapy in 1996 was very special. In previous years I had attended several European Conferences (1989, 1992, 1995) and the World Congress in Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain (1993). At each congress I presented my papers about research and music therapy theory. Together with Tony Wigram and Pieter van den Berk I had been a member of the committee that prepared the 1992 European Conference in London, but till 1995 I had not taken a great responsibility in organizing a congress.
In 1995 I received a call from Hans-Helmut Decker-Voigt who had been at a meeting in Capri that was the start of the preparation of the Hamburg congress. From Capri Hans-Helmut took the chair of the 1996 congress home with him to Hamburg. In his call he told me that Cheryl Dileo had mentioned my name as a possible scientific co-coordinator. He offered me the chair of the international scientific board, and after a short thought I accepted his offer. Hans-Helmut and I met in Hamburg and Heerlen, I took a trip to Philadelphia to talk it over with Cheryl and invited from many countries persons to support me in the scientific committee.
At that time I was Head of Studies of Music Therapy at the Enschede Conservatory and Head of Research of the Music Therapy Laboratory at the Hogeschool Nijmegen. Both places are far away from where I had my home in Heerlen. My wife Anne told me each day on the phone that during the period when abstracts could be submitted, the faxes from China and Japan came in at night. They disturbed her night rest, but she took it for granted and assisted me in organizing the material. Meters of paper rolled on the floor during the day and at night. When I came home in the weekend I started reading the filled out applications and the abstracts. I liked reading and commenting the abstracts and to discuss it with the members of the scientific committee. At that time the computers weren't so quick as nowadays, so everything happened in a different time frame.
For me at that time it was a new and big experience, communicating with the whole world and getting to know colleagues all around the world.
Hans-Helmut and his wife Christine did a tremendous job in organizing the whole congress, finding the money, the conference site, the public relations, the co-sponsorship of the WHO, and so on. Hans-Helmut also coordinated the German contributions, because at that time in Germany the music therapy scene was very scattered. I remember him sitting in a white suite in a chair on stage during the closing ceremony. Tired, but satisfied with what he had accomplished. I think that music therapy in Germany and the world can be very grateful that he and his wife took the responsibility to organize this congress.
There also was a very nice secretary committee with people who worked very hard, and also were very warmly when communicating. I remember Sabine Sieg and Gesa Brinkraut who were really full of enthusiasm.
With Franz Mecklenbeck, the chair of the German Society for Music Therapy (DGMT), I developed a close friendship. At his home in Düsseldorf we spend many hours to compile the book of abstracts. This friendship continues till now.
I remember that during the press conference, chaired by Hans-Helmut, the journalists were very critical about the effects of music therapy. At that time, when evidence based practice in music therapy still was in its beginning, I became strongly aware how important it is for society and health insurances to research effects.
In those years I was working at the Music Therapy Laboratory in Nijmegen and did a lot of qualitative research. In the early nineties, it was as if qualitative research was taking over. In 1994 Mechtild Langenberg had organized a conference on qualitative research in Düsseldorf where I was invited together with Carolyn Kenny, Ken Bruscia, Barbara Wheeler, David Aldridge, Even Ruud, Ken Aigen, Dorit Amir and others. Although I have been trained as a quantitative researcher, I already was and got more inspired by qualitative research. Gradually I transferred my interest to qualitative research and I felt as if qualitative researchers were changing the world. So, when I attended the European Conference in Aalborg in 1995 and the World Congress in Hamburg in 1996 I was on the move to qualitative and practice based research.
However, what we see now is that it looks as if again quantitative research has become the point of reference for the future of music therapy. The quantitative meta-analysis, the randomized controlled trials and the Cochrane reviews nowadays are leading.
In The Netherlands the same holds true, although again there seems to be a turning point because the limitations of RCT's become very clear and the importance of practice based evidence and research gets more attention. We need a well balanced integration of quantitative and qualitative research, RCT designs and practice based designs, which became visible in the music therapy research book of 2005 edited by Barbara Wheeler and the excellent paper by Brian Abrams in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2010.
Looking retrospective, the press conference at the Hamburg congress in 1996 seems to fore shadow the need for evidence based practice in music therapy.
From the congress I remember excellent papers by Daniel Stern about the interaction between parents and infants as the earliest music, Humberto Maturana's paper about the aesthetics that express the coherences of human beings, Even Ruud's paper about music as identity and research papers by David Aldridge, Cheryl Dileo, Colin Lee and Rosemarie Tüpker. The keynote by Daniel Stern was very important. In the upcoming decade his work influenced music therapy practitioners, theorists and researchers strongly.
For me this congress turned out to be a turning point in my personal development. I didn't know this during the congress, but when the congress was finished I became appointed as head of studies of all arts therapies (drama, music, art, dance) at Zuyd University. From January 1997 on I involved myself in all arts therapies. Still, music therapy stayed in the core of my consciousness and sub-consciousness. When I met Daniel Stern in Hamburg I could not foresee how important his work would become in my development of the theory of analogy. This theory, that started in the early nineties, first was developed for music therapy and from 1997 on for all arts therapies. It was a special experience to remember the keynote of Daniel Stern in 1996 and then read his presentation in the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy in 2010 and his latest book on vitality forms (2010). There were 14 years in between in which the theory of analogy make a very big progression.
Although after 1996 I myself did not attend world conferences any more, for me the exchange of theoretical and research knowledge with colleagues from abroad went on. It is fascinating how in music therapy in all these years a wealth of conferences, books, articles, evidence has been created by many enthusiastic music therapists all over the world.
First I would like to say some words about my presentation. It was a comparative study of music therapy assessment designed for neurological patients. I used the same assessment with neurologícal and psychiatric patients, professional musicians, music lovers, and musicians without training in reading and writing music.
The partial conclusions were interesting but I found several obstacles to go on with the research. First, I could not answer my questions about normality and musical skills. The fact that in Argentina we do not have a systematic stimulation for developing our musicality the answers about "normality" couldn't be answered and the assessment could not be scored. Consequently it could never be standardized. The other problem was the language gap because the translator I chose was not prepared for musical and medical articles. Finally, the assessment is still used in Aphasic Patients Rehabilitation and we published papers with Dr. Ricardo Allegri, the head of the Neurological Department of the hospital and other colleagues. I still hope to rethink the project. Since Dr. Benenzon's father had died just before this congress he did not attend it. I had to present and defend it. It was quite a challenge.
Dr. Daniel Stern's presentation was sort of a revelation for me. His contributions to the comprehension of the sonorous interaction between mother and child, the musical parameters he used to described it are still very actual. Even thought I knew about his work before, knowing him personally was important to me. Similarities between music therapy interaction and structure and emotional regulative processes in order to explain music therapy, its effectiveness of improvisation processes in music therapy on the basis of musicaltonal characteristics in the early relationship between mothers and infants etc. were the presentations I was especially interested in, and Smeijsters' creating connection between art and music therapy and creative process etc.
I would also like to write these few words about the WFMT definition of Music Therapy approved by the Council in 1996 in Hamburg. After many months of hard working, under Lia Rejane's leadership from Brasil, the Council discussed and approved it. The intention of the Council was to vote for a definition which would be clarifying for everybody and at the same time it would underline the need professional qualifications. I still remember the interesting discussions and the satisfaction when finally it was approved.
Some other words about this conference. The International Scientific Committee included the Council Members. It was a pity that translation from German to English was not possible. The German colleagues' presentations were very interesting.
My presentation was about music therapy research.
I could write a book about the all the impact of this congress. It was also the first time I could meet you (Barbara Wheeler).
This was the second world congress that I attended. I learned from my first world congress in 1993 that it was a good idea to make a presentation on my own so that people would have some way to identify me and we could have something to talk about. So I made a proposal for the Hamburg Congress and it was accepted.
I presented the beginnings of my study of children with severe disabilities and the pleasure that I found in working with them. I am sharing an adapted portion of my notes from this presentation. This eventually led to the research study that I published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 1999, "Experiencing Pleasure in Working with Severely Disabled Children." (This article is available through one of my Voices column) I don't remember much about my presentation but know that it was well-attended and I was able to connect with other music therapists who had an interest in working with children with severe disabilities. The most important of these connections was with Anne Steen Møller from Denmark, whose work influenced and inspired me.
Jackie Robarts from the UK and I shared a room at this conference, and I enjoyed getting to know her better. Our personal and professional relationship has grown and now extended for many years. I remember for the first time spending time with other music therapists from around the world. This was a very good experience for me in being part of an international community.
My university, Montclair State University, had provided funding for me to attend the congress through the International Center. Part of the reason that they gave me the funding was that I had planned a trip to Berlin following the congress to spend time with Margaret Daniell. (See an interview with Margaret at Voices.) I went to learn about Margaret's work with children, which I found very unique and valuable. Margaret and I were in the process of developing a friendship that extended for many years (and still does, although we are not in frequent touch). I visited her many times in Berlin and always found her questions and work to be stimulating.
This was a significant world congress for me. It was the first time that I really felt a part of the large international community of music therapists. In this way, it was the first of many wonderful experiences that I have had with the international music therapy community.