27 Jan 05

Psychotherapy and Music

I have been scheduled to see the prison psychotherapist, Dr. B. I have also obtained a textbook, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which I hope will give me a better understanding of psychotherapy. Thus far, I have found the chapter on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy the most helpful, especially an approach called REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy).

The gist of REBT is that our negative interpretations of events, and not actual events themselves, cause us problems. The remedy is to break the pattern of negative thoughts, replacing them with positive ones. In short, changing our reactions to situations.

REBT seems to be a modern adaptation of certain schools of ancient philosophy. I practice Sidda Yoga meditation, which helps me let go of negative thoughts. The Stoics also had advice in this area. Epictetus taught, “People are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them."

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a holistic approach, which includes relaxation, humour, conversation and techniques such as yoga, meditation and listening to music.

Regarding music, I have been unable to listen to electronica since my arrest. At the Towers Jail in 2002, I listened to some radio broadcasts from a nightclub in Tempe, but I became sad. Too many memories were released all at once. I remembered the fun I had with my friends.

In order to relax I have begun to listen to music again. Most of the radio stations in Arizona are abysmal. They push the same play lists. But I did discover an excellent classical music radio station, NPR (National Public Radio). I tuned into NPR and listened to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. Lying down on my bunk, I closed my eyes, and Beethoven’s concerto managed to make the hair on my arms rise.

As I was listening to Beethoven, Greg, an Aryan Brotherhood member, came to my door, and seeing my headphones and a smile on my face, asked if I was feeling alright. I assured him that I was and I explained that I was listening to Beethoven. He left with a grin on his face, returned a few minutes later, and flung two cassette tapes at me.

“I’ve got a fuckin’ anger problem, so my doctor tells me that when I feel like hitting someone, I’ve gotta listen to these.”

I am now enjoying Greg’s tapes: Mozart for Meditation and Bach’s Greatest Hits Volume 2. I especially like Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat. I hope that Greg doesn’t smash someone while his tapes are absent.

I am going to ask my parents to coordinate the delivery of some tapes. Enya or Enigma would be good. Perhaps I am ready to listen to some Sasha or Paul Van Dyk

John at http://www.tofuhut.blogspot.com/ asked if there was any music that I liked that I considered underrepresented. Two of my DJ friends, Keoki and Sandra Collins were massive in the States before my arrest, but I am not sure about their popularity in Europe. They are both talented and perhaps they have made it big in Europe by now.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Jon, I'm a newcomer to your blog, but find it fascinating.I have always found that music evokes all kinds of memories from the past, times of both sorrow and joy.I fully understand your feelings listening to the rave anthems remembering a happier more exciting life. You will find happiness again, but it will be a more fulfilling joy because of your suffering and all you have endured since your arrest.
It will all happen for you again if you keep focused and positive.
Patricia UK

Jamie said...

Hi Jon, please let me know if I can send music to you because I definitely will with my next letter if there is a way of you listening to it. Let me know the best format (CD, tape etc.). Although I may have to try and introduce you to some music I like - if you get this comment before you write me a letter then put something in about the type of stuff you want to hear. I reckon you'd like some of the liquid drum and bass I listen to (it's quite housey - a new era of feel-good dnb, not so grimy as the stuff you say you're not into).

In terms of the emotional thing, I think that everyone has problems and it's only how far people are brave enough to admit them. I'm really interested in a concept called emotional literacy/emotional intelligence - have you heard of it? There's quite a few books that have recently come out on the subject (e.g. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman). The challenge I think is making sure the right people engage with it - violent criminals and politicians first and foremost!

Carl said...

Hi Jon,

Your blog is amazing. Keep up your spirits and keep reading and writing!

Carl
Maryland U.S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon

You're blog used to be a laugh-fest, but now it's got too serious. Why so?

I am glad you enjoyed 'To Kill a Mocking Bird', btw, but I am not sure of your conclusion.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt this guy is in PRISON.. what do you expect.. it can't all be a bundle of laughs!!!

Kevin said...

I just dropped by to read your blog and say hello.

Kevin Perry
Free Daily Yoga Tip
http://experienceyoga.blogspot.com/