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The Musical Edge of Therapeutic Dialogue


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Table of Contents

Listening to the Rhythm. Listening to the Tone. Improvisation and Accompaniment. The Unspoken Dialogue. From the Individual Notes to the Expanding Composition. Mind Metaphors. Play and Interplay: The Counterpoint of Subjective Bodies and Experiencing Desire. Listening to the Dialogue of Harmony and Dissonance. Coda.

About the Author

Steven H. Knoblauch, Ph.D., is a faculty member and supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity in New York City, The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, and The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, all in New York City. In his early 20s, Dr. Knoblauch pursued a dual career in community mental health and as a jazz musician. He entered psychoanalytic training 17 years later and has endeavored to integrate his musical experience into his clinical practice.


"Analytic therapists have long known that the messages conveyed by both partners in the therapeutic dialogue contain far more than verbal text. Now Steven Knoblauch explicates and illustrates exactly how issues of tone, pitch, rhythm, accent, and pause enter into our work. His special quality as a writer shines through in the richness of the clinical examples that illuminate every page. Never have the metaphors of music received such expressive application to treatment. The Musical Edge of Therapeutic Dialogue opens the reader to an expanded appreciation of the substrate of empathy and introspection."

- Joseph Lichtenberg, M.D., Editor, Psychoanalytic Inquiry

"Over the course of the last decade, it has become apparent just how profoundly personal the practice of psychoanalysis is. For each of us, clinical work closely reflects personal history, aesthetic and intellectual sensibility, one's take on life. Drawing on his deep understanding of and love for jazz, Steven Knoblauch has written a beautiful book about the subtle, interactive textures of the analytic process, its rhythmic patterns as well as its semantics, its tones as well as its symbols. For anyone who struggles daily with the enormous complexities of analytic work, The Musical Edge of Therapeutic Dialogue offers, like a good piece of music, an enriching experience."

- Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D., Founding Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues

"An enjoyable aspect of this book is that the flow of Knoblauch's writing harmonizes with his ideas. He establishes a musical rhythm in his case illustrations such that the material comes alive, and the reader can easily accompany him. The music of his writing captures the lapses, withdrawals, and drawing close of intimate relations."

- Ephi J. Betam, JAPA

"The applicability of his musical notions to the therapeutic craft is completely convincing to the classical-music-oriented connoisseur. Therapists of other (or less artistic) preferences may reframe his notions in terms more comfortable to them but will surely benefit from the wisdom and depth of the treatment formulations carried in this volume."

- Abram Chipman, American Journal of Psychotherapy

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