Psychiatric Music Therapy in the Community: The Legacy of Florence Tyson

By Hilliard, Russell E. | Journal of Music Therapy, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Psychiatric Music Therapy in the Community: The Legacy of Florence Tyson


Hilliard, Russell E., Journal of Music Therapy


McGuire, M. G. (2004). PsychiatriC Music Therapy in the Community: The Legacy of Florence Tyson. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers. (400 pages)

This text is the first to compile the work of Florence Tyson and provide historical information on the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center. In addition to there being a wealth of information about Tyson's work, McGuire is able to convey to the reader the passion and integrity that drove Tyson in serving clients in a community setting. McGuire successfully shares Tyson's drive and commitment, and reading about her work as a pioneer in music therapy will surely inspire readers. The text will serve as an excellent educational tool, especially in graduate-level music therapy courses. It is important both historically and clinically. As an historical text, it offers a chronology of Tyson's creation of the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (referred to as the Center) and its evolution. Clinically, the text can be seen as an invaluable resource to any teaching of music psychotherapy. Through detailed case studies, Tyson's clinical work can be viewed as a model of clinical practice, and readers will admire her ability to combine various psychotherapeutic approaches.

In the text, McGuire provides Tyson's previously published papers, two unpublished case studies, a patient's perspective of her therapy at the Center, transcripts of interviews that Tyson did, programs and information about the Musicales (public performances by member-patients of the Center, an essay by a former Board member of the Center), and a paper presented at a national music therapy conference by Christine Stevens who received music therapy clinical supervision from Tyson. The book is organized into seven parts with 29 chapters and four appendices.

In Part I (The Music Therapy Relationship), McGuire provides an introduction that explains the psychodynamic philosophy underlying Tyson's work and articulates key factors Tyson emphasized in her dyadic treatment. What follows are two chapters by Tyson describing the nature of music, music therapy, and psychotherapy in her work. Tyson wrote about the music therapy experience stating: "Through music therapy, the regressed patient who is musically disposed is afforded uniquely favorable opportunities for experience and growth, for being and becoming, not only in relation to music, but to the music therapist and to him- or herself as well." (p. 11). Chapter 2 (Music Therapy as a Choice for Psychotherapeutic Intervention: A Preliminary Study of Motivational Factors Among Adult Psychiatric Patients) was reprinted from Music Therapy Perspectives and offers information regarding the nature of music and the therapeutic setting, makes a case for the importance of music in survival and everyday life, and provides examples of symbolic music-related behaviors.

Part II (The case Studies) offers seven case studies; four of which are presented as they were published, and two of them are from unpublished conference presentations made by Tyson. In these previously unpublished case studies, Tyson describes her work with Shirley, a client who credited Tyson with saving her life. The conference presentations were made with the client, and Chapter 10 (Shirley's Perspective) provides the client's perspective of her therapy. Chapter 12 (Analytically Oriented Music Therapy in a case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is the first unabridged version of a case study of a 31 year-old man being treated for neurotic anxiety. In the case studies, it is clear that Tyson drew from multiple theoretical perspectives in her work with clients that included psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, person-centered, gestalt, and transactional analysis theories. Client growth is clearly seen through the detailed progression of therapeutic sessions offered from Tyson's notes on her treatment in each of the case studies, and it is remarkable to read how many different techniques were used in her work. …

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