A portfolio of work on musicians of relevance to counselling psychology
All the work in this portfolio is concerned with the psychological issues and problems that affect the life and work of musicians, and its overall aim is to reach a wider and deeper understanding of what these are, so that better provision can be made by psychotherapists and counsellors for meeting them. The research study is a qualitative investigation into composers, a very neglected group, in order to discover what their concerns are, how they see themselves and their work, and how being a composer affects their personal and social life. The case study illustrates work with a creative musician and artist in a primary care setting, and shows how, using brief intermittent periods of therapy both immediate and longer-term problems can be addressed. Since many professional musicians do not earn enough to pay for private therapy, and work outside organisations, access to this kind of help is essential if their problems are to be addressed or prevented and their well-being and quality of life is to be improved. The literature review examines the most prevalent occupational stressor in the largest group of musicians, performers: performance anxiety. It reveals that its conceptualisation is still vague and how good research and clinical evidence is badly needed into the effectiveness of a range of treatments currently being offered for the condition. It is hoped that this work will increase awareness amongst clinicians of the needs of this large group of clients, so that both access to treatment and a better, evidence-based standard of treatment may be offered.