It’s amazing the impact that music has on us. A song on the radio often seems to have the ability to take us right back to a specific place in time and soon we can find ourselves feeling all the emotions that went with that event. Surprisingly little is understood about the exact pathways that this musical experience takes.
In contrast there has been much study of words and language. Our brains filter the words we listen to through a specific network in the brain and as those words pass through, they run through channels and filters that we have established over years and years.
Linguistic relativity studies the relationship between thought, language and culture. It’s not hard to imagine all the little sayings we have in each of our cultures and how these can effect our understanding of anything when described in words. Equally, each time we read/hear about a particular experience, we are likely to categorise it and add to it an understanding from other similarly understood experiences. Clearly both of these effects can be helpful and enriching of our understanding through comparison but also must inevitably add “noise” to our recollections.
The beauty of music is that it bypasses this filtering and activates our memories and feelings in a more direct way. Through using music in therapy we are able to “cut through” this noise and access emotions relating to experiences directly. Either we can use music to recollect more clearly or we can even use it to build a more complete picture of where we would like to be going. Again this is a way of possibly bypassing filters that might try and limit our hope.
At PROMIS we use music to both enrichen our understanding of the past and also provide a clear focus on where we are going.