Empathy is a skill that originates in interaction between an infant and its primary caregiver.
These initial contacts are characterized by the absence of verbal meaning and the presence
of meaningful musical parameters. Although we hear the musicality of speech while listening
to our clients, and use it to increase understanding and stress important themes or
pain points, words are the most common method for expressing empathy. Is it possible to
express empathy in a musical way? Can we support the therapeutic process of our clients
through music? Is musical empathy complementary to verbally expressed empathy? Or can
they fully coexist? In this article I compare the basic techniques of verbal empathy with their
musical counterparts, because I believe that sometimes a musical therapeutic process can
say more than words ever will.
The tPeP (Journal Person-centered experiential Psychotherapy) is the scientific journal for Dutch and Flemish psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, that work from, or are interested in a client-centered perspective.