The english cv will be published in a book with the biographies of Musictherapists, edited by Prof. Joseph Moreno in USA


Hans-Helmut Decker-Voigt




The cooing of doves, then the ringing of church bells, low, resonant, long and high, tinny. I am told that during the spring, summer, and early fall months my baby carriage generally stood on the lawn of my grandparents' rectory garden - or on the grounds of the nearby cemetery which, along with the church, was situated between the rectory and my mother's place. Other components of the music of my early life were the humming and singing of the people around me. I remember my mother's singing. For her it was an expression of life. I also remember the distant singing of the congregation and the sound of the church organ since the church doors and windows stood open when it was hot. I recall that usually the congregation's singing was smooth, dynamic, and strong, and that at times my grandfather's voice was audible when he would stop the choir in order to have it start over because he felt that the singing was too slow, too undynamic, and too "pious." My mother and I lived mostly in his rectory, within an extended family, because three days before my birth my own father had been killed in the war. Later I was to learn that he had been executed because he, as a soldier, had helped his own father who was a resistant against Hitler (see “Das Pfarrhaus” This extended family could  also be likened to a mix of choral, solo, burlesque, religious, oratorical, operatic elements and soundscape of garden and street.

Which of these memories are my own, and which are memories that have been instilled in me by the tales of others and by later experiences, is something about which we never quite know and are kept in suspense, especially when it comes to music as an event in time.
My singing mother is "my personal memory." I also remember her sitting at my grandmother's piano, practicing the hymns which she would later accompany on the organ during my grandfather's church services. Often I sang along, and later I sang solo. According to my mother I had a repertoire of approximately 400 children's, folk,church songs, songs of soldiers and patriotic songs. Apparently I enjoyed the music as much as the words themselves and often played around with both. Today we would call this improvisation. According to my mother's diary I was 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old at that time.

The memories and/or tales by others and/or later experiences of my own have confirmed my opinion that my twofold love of sound and word originated then. In addition, I must surely have had the impression then that humans, the human beings of this earth, sang and wrote more often than they would speak with each other. At least this is how the people of my early and later childhood years (my mother, her six siblings and rectory helpers (housekeepers, religious education assistants) who also lived in the rectory, my grandparents, employees, postwar refugees from the East, and all the members of the various groups who generally passed through a rectory such as ours, normally twelve people but then twenty-five) appeared to me. Today I have retained my love for as well as my dependence on the linguistic and the musical expression, and, between the two, my love for drama and acting, with the special inclusion of music and sound.

Today the scientist in me also confirms through the current developmental psychology and--within it--the theories of play, the degree to which the growth of a personality depends on an integrated development of the playful, creative sides of a person. According to our current practices and their goals we call the application and effect of these playful elements and means during the interaction with a patient, "therapy."

I developed Polio and TBC when I was four and consequently spent the largest part of my childhood and the first years of my youth in bed or at least under extremely restricted circumstances. However, I did not perceive these years as being restricted or as being incarcerated, because from my fourth year on the time I spent in bed was my play world, together with people my intermediary world. Among my toys were my mother's alto recorder and a Hohner harmonica, also several song books with colorful or black and white illustrations. They represented my mother's and my grandparents' interests and life style but also those of the outside world with which I became acquainted through them.

I remember this ability to play in complete abandon, remember also my eagerness to present the old songs I had learned as well as "my" new songs to visitors, blowing, singing, or, later, on the piano that I was able to reach--standing in front of my bed--in the bass and middle ranges. Although I was not required to attend school my mother insisted when I was eight that I take my first piano lessons from Gertrud Wehl-Rosenfeld, a concert pianist, well known and much admired in my hometown of Celle, and a "granddaughter of Franz Liszt," as she was fond of mentioning. She would proclaim that this made me a "greatgrandchild of Liszt," a term she called all her students. A year later I was still unable to attend the much longed for school, but as a compensation I was allowed to join the pre-choir of the Celle City Choir. From the Monday Choir and the Thursday Choir all the way to the Motette Choir my time there turned into eleven years. The founder and director of the choirs was Professor "Daddy" Schmidt, who was as well known as a Heinrich Schutz scholar as he was loved as a conductor of oratorios.

All this was and remained--apart from the usual bouts of laziness as far as racti the piano were concerned--a world of being allowed and of being able to do things versus the many rules and prohibitions that the world of my illness (later I also came down with tuberculosis) brought with it.

All in all I remember today that the world of stories and fairy tales, combined with the world of sounds and music, made up the exciting, challenging, compelling part of the childhood years that I had to spend in bed. When I was able to read on my own I naturally devoured the biographies of composers, and I was told that I once copied the piano excerpt of Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio. To me scores were both visual art objects and sound imitations. All this to keep myself busy, an activity that today's treatment concept would list among other things as ergotherapy.

In relatively good health when I was 14, I attended, for the first time and as a "guest pupil," a public school for an extended period. Today, my need to make up the experience of dealing with a group, of gathering experiences in the space of my new surroundings, seems to me to have been a time of extreme action: as if propelled from the rubberband that had held me back for years and had now freed me, I exploded into the world of choir, orchestra, extracurricular activities (school newspaper and love poetry), but this exploding and my pace followed the subconscious motto of "he who crosses thin ice, must be quick."

My experiences were accordingly either depressing or energizing, with the "in-between" generally missing, since I was rushing through life at high speed in the attempt to make up for lost time. At times the experiences I had of my classes as well as my first love interests brought me to new limits of stress, not all of which I heeded. I remember that I attempted suicide at 18. It seemed that this was intended to punish my first love for apparently deserting me, but at the same time I also seemed to want to punish my own family for the care and love with which it had naturally had to "compel" me (even if surreptitiously) during my years of illness.

Since the law required that persons who had attempted suicide be committed for observation, I was sent to the psychiatric ward of the Gottingen University clinic for two weeks. While there I played everything I knew on a clinic piano; at first, I played alone but later with other patients some of whom had their instruments brought from home so that they could play in my musical group. Others took part by dancing or accompanying us vocally... An important, key experience for "pre-therapeutical, musical self-treatment," which I have recognized only today as a contributing factor to my motivation toward professional music therapy.

Without my hour long sessions of listening to music and my even longer sessions on piano and organ I would hardly have overcome as successfully as I did those times of crises which arose mostly during the transitions from childhood to youth and from youth to young adulthood. My social successes as well as my failures quickly increased the heap of books I read and manuscripts I wrote as well as my musical repertoire, the latter largely in the baroque and classical periods. I see this today, from the viewpoint of music therapy, as follows: 13 years of experiences of stimuli under circumstances that inhibited expression and occurred in closed rooms demanded a balance of expressive behavior which no normal surroundings could withstand, nor could I myself. What I could not cope with at that time found its expression in--as Freud would say--"subliminal ways" in the musical and literary production of the growing child and youth as well as the young adult.

I am surprised myself today I have no preference as far as any particular music is concerned. At least in comparison to the earlier times I have described. Nowadays I rather seek, at times of crises, the quiet which, for me, has always been one of the building blocks of music. Privately I also play classical music again--along with much improvisational work at the clinic and with my students. The latter probably takes so much out of me when I am working with groups of students and patients that I am unable to deal with my intimate, personal needs with the same intensity. At home I serve myself and my needs not with continued musical improvisations but with writing, improvisation with words, with the sound of words and their meaning. Therefore, when I make (classical or improvisational) music today, outside of my music-therapeutical work, it is usually for the public and not for myself

In retrospect I also realize that my obvious preference for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach--or for music written later by Max Reger--shows that my desire for particularly clearly structured music must be seen in connection with my especially chaotic emotional phases. During the peaceful times of my life my desire for music has always been directed at the sounds and notes of the experimental realm of the new music or at the music of the second half of the 19th century. And, as I mentioned, vice versa: when I was emotionally sensitive or at times of chaos I surrounded myself with "severe music."

In regards to schools of psychotherapy that have influenced my work, I would prefer not to mention individual examples or models. Rather I would like to mention atmospheres: in addition to the joy in and love of music and the language of music which I had acquired over time there were the years of nearly uninterrupted positive experiences with the profession of the healing arts with which I became acquainted during my 13 years of illness. This occurred mostly in the field of medicine, in a few instances (for school exams) in the field of psychology, and during the two weeks in the psychiatric ward (see above). I think more than I feel and in the field of music therapy I have been able to integrate these tendencies and preferences actively as well as receptively.

In our living room there are three pictures of our ancestors who were all employed at the same time during the 17th century at the duchy in my hometown of Celle: one a writer of theater pieces and composer of operas, one a court chaplain, and one a personal physician. Somehow I am always amused by the thought that my work in music therapy has provided me with a pool for all three levels of thinking and thus with the respective mediums.

I can't remember a specific point in time, a clear decision that "now I want to become a music therapist." Similar to how I grew into my illnesses and into my recoveries, I grew into music therapy with my other occupations as musician, pedagogue, and psychologist. And these grew into me. Thus I see my disposition and motivation for today's occupation with music therapy on the one hand as falling into the area of "primary motivation toward music and being healthy," and on the other in the area of "secondary motivation" by example. The psychological term "identification" as one of the factors responsible for current actions would fall into this area. When I began my occupation with music therapy, I was far beyond the usual student age. This occupation began during my work as a docent for music and music pedagogy at the "Evangelische Fachhochschule far Sozialwesen" ("Protestant University of Applied Sciences for Social Affairs") in Dusseldorf-Kaiserswerth, my first important position at an academic institute. The freedom of my office provided me with the possibility to develop my own inner direction. After two years of music pedagogy for marginal groups I came upon music therapy, offered my first project seminars--i.e., I was "self-taught,"-- published the first study aids in book form, and became acquainted during this time with Johannes Th. Eschen who had returned from London as "a student of music therapy" and who joined the work group for music docents at academic institutes that I had founded.

My career has certainly been varied, and has included some of the following highlights:

  • Study of music / school music with emphasis on music pedagogy for schools (with Prof. Guido Waldmann, Gaby Zimmermann, Walter Hubler, among others), 1967-1969.
  • After two years as administrative official (Acting Director of the Association of Music Institutes in Baden-Wurttemberg) and as music pedagogue as well as school director: 1972-1975 study of the field of education.
  • 1975-1978 project study in expressive therapy, with emphasis on music therapy, in USA (under and with Paolo J. Knill and Shaun McNiff, Lesley College Graduate School) with subsequent Ph.D. program in psychology with emphasis on music therapy (with Les Carr, Columbia Pacific University,  not accredited in Europe).


In retrospect I realize that I studied only the first subject (music) without the feeling of "catching up" or the reaction to my own deficits as far as knowledge and experience were concerned which I eventually discovered during my practical work with handicapped and later with neurotic patients. Thus I aways see my additional qualifications as a reaction to my growing need to want to and to have to continue my qualifying myself in practice. The course of my life seems to me as typically complex and apparently "zig-zagging," as is evident from the vitae of many others in the first and second generation of music therapists in Central Europe at a time when music therapy could not be studied, at least not in Germany.

In Germany I see myself among the colleagues from the other music therapy departments at academic institutes as one of the last few representatives who have achieved their qualifications--at least formally seen--on top of previously acquired expertise and who managed their integration into music therapy rather as autodidacts. For me this was due less to outside forces, I believe, than to a pattern that I had internalized and that--during and after my years of illness--had instilled a specific concept in me: I had to find the building blocks to the house of my life on my own. While I am formulating this, it occurs to me that perhaps I am wrong, and that today's music therapy students, too, must work on their own process of integration--even if their studies are directed from the beginning at music therapy--if they want to meld current knowledge and personal experience (including painful experience) into an authentic, music-therapeutical position. Such integration is probably always a personal achievement and can hardly be instilled through education.

It was my own misguided wishful thinking just now that, because of my own or someone else's teachings, students today might have it easier than my generation and the generation of the true pioneers before me, like Gertrud Katja Loos and Johannes Th. Eschen in Germany, Mary Priestly and Juliette Alvin in the United Kingdom, Benenzon in Argentinia, Ruth Bright in Australia, etc.

Of course I have acquired several qualifications in music therapy. However, these were not offered in any course of study of music therapy but in other disciplines such as pedagogy, special pedagogy, and psychology. Their representatives personally provided me with the chance to occupy myself with music therapy within their fields. This acquisition of specific music therapy qualifications is indeed easier today. But - formal qualification does not necessarily mean competence.

I was not introduced to music therapy as a student, and only began to include music therapy on my own as a professor for music pedagogy. As a docent with offers of project studies for my students in social pedagogy I remember the following order in which we achieved practical experience outside the institute and where we offered music-therapeutical experience and at the same time were able to learn ourselves:

  • Music therapy with mentally handicapped children and young people
  • Music therapy with long-term patients in psychiatric wards
  • Music therapy in the psycho-social treatment of border-line groups (education in homes; youthful prisoners, etc.)


I was 28 when a started to offer the first music therapy seminars as a docent at the institute. My search for a meaningful exchange with competent colleagues occurred in the following order:

  • Prof. Alfred Schmolz, Musikhochschule (Music Institute) Vienna (internship with Prof. Schmolz, his students, and the hospital patients)
  • Prof. Stella Mayr, Musikhochschule Vienna (we have since been close friends)
  • Prof. Johannes Th. Eschen, then docent at the Evangelische Fachhochschule (Protestant Institute) in Hannover. This connection with Johannes Th. Eschen, who later became my closest colleague, also exemplifies a "lifelong" commitment on a professional as well as human level.


Beyond this there was the cooperation with other important persons who allowed me to concentrate increasingly on improvisational music, even though they expressly claimed not to be music therapists:

  • Lilly Friedemann (together we supervised 1981/82 a two-year course on improvisation in what was then my German Institute at Lesley College in Cambridge, USA, for Music and Expressive Therapy,. LIMA, today ISIS, Internat. School for Interdisc. Studies, in Zurich/Switzerland).
  • Gertrud Meyer-Denkmann, University of Oldenburg.

               Personal encounters with the following musicians motivated me to combine improvised music and classical music: Herbert von Karayan (in Stuttgart and Berlin), Eugen Jochum (in Trossingen) and Mistlav Rostropovitch (in Tokyo).

I must also mention here that my learning process in improvisational music and my growing into issues of music therapy were extraordinarily supported by the particular motivation of the students in my seminars and by that of very young colleagues, such as Isabelle Frohne-Hagemann (who published her dissertation in my first book series on music therapy), resulting in similar lifelong connections such as those I would form with the younger colleagues who followed in later years and who today are almost all on the boards of their music therapy programs. And who studied music therapy as I had never done.

I met the persons I have just mentioned before my formal study of music therapy which qualified me officially, during the course of which Paolo J. Knill became my most valued colleague, friend, and mentor in the pursuit of my professionalization in art psychotherapy (we are still arguing today who was more the teacher or mentor for whom).

Several experiences of my early work stand out as key to my development as a music therapist. Most memorably, there was "Rico," a twelve-year-old, mentally handicapped boy (Langdon Down Syndrome) with whom I worked with music therapy during an acute illness for which he was being treated at a Hannover hospital. During this half year I made the exciting as well as daunting discovery of how directly and inexorably music can serve to uncover suppressed talents and communication potentials. "Rico's" other caretakers "discovered" unknown sensibilities and developmental spurts in his interaction with his social surroundings, but I was the one who was the most surprised. Our current knowledge of the human development during the preverbal age and the potentials and resources that are developed during this time largely through acoustical means always remind me of this early time.

That is, on the one hand. On the other hand, there is this knowledge of how subjected a person is to "his music," how it can overwhelm him, make him dependent, endanger him. In receptive music therapy I always try to turn this knowledge into special consideration while listening to music.

The next experience of the plethora of experiences of mentally and/or emotionally and/or psychic-emotionally handicapped persons, all of whom I now cannot totally recall, is the work with my patients during my five-year tenure as a msic therapist at the department of social psychiatry at the Hannover Medical School (together with Prof. Dr. med. Erich Kisker and Prof Dr. med. Erich Wulff, at that time two of the leading psychiatrists in the Federal Republic of Germany, who were tremendously interested in art therapy).

The patients at this institution--up to 12 alcohol or drug dependent patients in each group--allowed me to find my way into psychiatric thinking and to learn to deal with neurotic, psychotic, and borderline personalities.
This was the area where I became most acquainted with the tragedy of people's backgrounds, with the scurrility and originality, the creativity and absurdity of most neurotic behavior and where I experienced these as training grounds for my talents of improvisation in and of my own behavioral repertoire. In no other patient groups did I later on experience in such density surprise, paradoxy, coverup, i.e., all the components of a theater play, with which the lives were reinvented in music.

It was here, too, where I began to become interested in "church-related neuroses." According to the theory that a therapist who is currently involved in divorce proceedings is visited by a surprisingly large number of patients who are themselves involved in similar situations of separation, I treated in my patient group several Protestant theologians who were partially--and to my displeasure--involved with my own family. During this treatment I became acquainted with the special forms of neuroses that develop in the service of the church - and thus was able to relate this to my own experiences and to the experiences of other members of my family who had spent generations in this service.

There was only one other area where I was able to observe such a large number of neuroses, their effects, and treatments, and that was within the circle of my colleagues in the field of professional music therapy itself and during the interaction with them. With an eye toward my colleagues' interactions and their interaction with me I began to work in writing (and in other ways) on the healing arts syndrome...

Another focus among the many to be remembered: The work with long-term patients of a psychiatric ward in Boston, with whom we (college students as well as college professors--I was teaching and studying at the same time, i.e., while I had a contract to teach I was also registered formally as a student) undertook weekly visits to public museums. Here several rooms were reserved for us where we and the patients let the pictures speak to us and where we created sculptures to which we then improvised musical accompaniments. Our subsequent group discussions added to the incorporation of the experiences.

From the first time that I put my toes into the waters of music therapy (1971) until 1983 I was always--along with teaching at the various academic institutes--directly involved in the practice as a music therapist, with a changing patient clientele. Between 1984 and 1991 my teaching and my publicistic work intensified along with my work in the field of music therapy at the Hochschule (University) für Musik und Theater Hamburg, vice-president Johannes Th. Eschen. In 1990 I founded and became the first head of the Institute for Music and Theater, supported by the president Hermann Rau and Johannes Th. Eschen. During this period I treated exclusively private patients in my practice and no institutional patients.To my joy Prof. Eschen worked with me on the conditions which I had stipulated for a leading post in Hamburg: the change of the department to an independent academic institute; the possibility for the students to achieve their doctorates, and the flexibility to change the composition of the existing staff by selecting colleagues of my choice. Together with this new beginning in Hamburg I also began clinical work with heart patients, and for the first time within the framework of short-term therapy. Together with Dr. med. Friedrich Karl Maetzel, medical superintendent of a rehabilitation clinic for heart patients and today a professor at my institute, I began in 1991 two-year, practical research project and I have not stopped with my clinical work since then. At the same time I began to turn away from long-term therapy concepts in music therapy before a psychoanalytical background, turning instead toward short-term therapy concepts. I was greatly aided in this endeavor by my training as a humanist psychologist. At the same time (toward the end of the 80s) much began to change in the more narrowly defined music-therapeutical method repertoire as far as flexibility and wealth of improvisation were concerned when Far Eastern and South American instruments were added to the range of instruments that until then had been leaning largely toward classical and Orff music. In the meantime, I have once again reduced the abundance of instruments of that time; today I work mainly with the piano and with wind instruments, percussion instruments, monochords, and gongs.

It seems to me that two areas are neglected in the music therapy of the Western hemisphere: working with the voice and working with receptive music therapy. My uninterrupted work with physicians had the result that in all those years I never quite left the receptive concept as decisively as I believed I had seen other colleagues do. I am not worried about the "medicinalization" of music therapy because I see medicine as well as music therapy as much-too-independent profiles. And where those in medicine truly turned into physicians I see a close relationship because the therapeutical aspect of the treatment process is seen as central.

Today I am pleased by the integration of the different levels of music expression in music therapy which has been achieved through the international systematization of the method repertoire.

There were many significant influences on my work. I was first influenced by the training I received in Germany: therapeutic pedagogy, and the special pedagogic understanding of therapy, of being a therapist, and of music therapy. Secondly, I was influenced during my time at the Hannover Medical University by the development of the psychoanalytical component and the third major influence was my training in humanistic psychology. The fourth influence was my postgraduate training in hypnotherapy under Milton H. Erickson (who had initially fascinated me because of his own experience with polio and because of his story telling...)

I see my current position at the Center for Humanist Psychology--which, like all modern psychotherapy-backgrounds, derives a number of its tools from classical psychoanalysis--as the consolidation of my last three positions and of the manner in which I view human beings.

Accordingly I see the music-therapeutical component as a relational therapy (a concept with humanist-psychological implications) before a psychoanalytical background. However, the direction that would define my leanings most correctly is not the "school of psychotherapy" (as the question is worded) but the field of developmental psychology, whose knowledge and current research best define me as an academician as well as a therapist in respect to interaction and communication with my partners. I am only too happy to connect. Daniel Stern's work and my personal contact with him with the important work of Melanie Klein and M. Mahler, whom I consider the most important women in the field and who, together with the women of my family who had a far greater hand in my upbringing than the more distant men, have greatly influenced my understanding of human beings and their development. It is no coincidence that I see myself as a male in an essentially female profession.

The methods I have developed or that were developed under my guidance, with subsequent publication after a number of years of therapeutical practical application and research include:

  • Media Therapy: An integrative beginning of work in art psychotherapy which Paolo J. Knill developed at the same time in USA as Expressive Therapy and which we both after 1978, i.e., after the foundation of our Institute LIMA (Lesley Institute for Media and Expressive Therapy, today ISIS: International School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Zurich, Switzerland) integrated into "expressive therapy" in the German-speaking countries. My publications on "Media Therapy" (1975) and the first publication of Paolo J. Krill's "Expressive Therapy" in Germany (under my direction) had originally been derived independently of each other. Through several years of joint student training they led to a common concept which today has found its "organizational as well as spiritual" roof and basis in the Europaische Hochschule fur Berufstatige (European Institute for Professionals) in Leuk/ Switzerland.
  • "MVF": A procedure that I included in individual music therapy sessions with the aid of monitors and video recordings and which I have called Musiktherapeutisches Video-Feedback (music-therapeutical video-feedback). It was intended to reflect work with the patient in general and the special work with patients suffering from a narcistically disturbed personality structure.
  • "MTE" is the abbreviation for "Musiktherapeutisches Tiefenentspannungsverfahren" (music-therapeutical deep relaxation method), which I developed especially for heart patients and which in the meantime has occasionally been used outside the therapeutical setting in relaxation therapies that have been made available to anonymous patients.


In terms of the role of improvisation in my work, I have described the musical games of my childhood which consisted of improvisations with the building blocks of classical music, but also included my "free musical games" employing my voice. I have also described the work in my later, adult years with the improvisational music of Lilly Friedemann and Gertrud Meyer-Denkmann as well as my playing as a flutist of old and experimental music--all this in relation to art music. As a flutist I was able to record Vivaldi's flute concerto with the orchestra of the Jeunesse Musicale Deutschland for a record as well as for the radio and blew "experimentally" through the top, middle, and bottom of the instrument. This was probably a latent result of the fact that my mother let me improvise seemingly nonsensical music on the two parts of her maple alto flute and later on allowed me to rummage around in and stroke the innards of my grandmother's piano.

The "magic circle" was completed when, after the time that I had spent by myself, my first love found its second love in Michael Vetter, the virtuoso recorder-philosopher, who taught me much about artistic improvisation when I invited him to two meetings and to concerts in my role as student body representative of my institute. I mention this in order to indicate my early combination of "musical profession and politics" which today continues in the combination of "music therapy and politics," without which, for instance, I would never have managed the VIII. World Congress for Music Therapy in 1996 in Hamburg, the largest of its kind so far.

I have just mentioned the steps in music therapy methods which I developed. Although my patients and my colleagues may believe on the basis of the books written about this development that this particular contribution of mine was the most important one to me as my contribution to music therapy, I believe otherwise: it is now exactly 20 years that I have been working as a professor and trainer and thus I see my strengths in the multiplicative work as university educator of music therapists and in the accompanying work as a clinical therapist. And then I look upon my work as a course director, courses, however, that I conduct for music therapists almost exclusively outside of Germany (in Switzerland, USA, and most recently in Japan). I would not want to deprive anyone of work in Germany and thus prefer to occupy myself there with the training and education of physicians.

The feedback I receive during my trips abroad and when I attend congresses also indicates to me that my work with people in the context of courses in an academic and non-academic environment seems to have an (even) more lasting effect than the books I have written (so far), books which do initially bring people to the courses and conference lectures. This makes me glad and at the same time surprises me because I feel differently: I tend to be disappointed when I meet the authors - after I have first been excited by their books.

If I had to distinguish between institute work and home work I would assume that my work is more effective when I conduct courses or workshops than when I am the professor who must include in his repertoire the role of chair in examination boards as well as the conducting of administrative affairs. However, I may be mistaken and perhaps I am underestimating the readers of my almost 50 book publications in several languages, for lately the feedback is increasing from abroad that mentions, of all things, working with my early books even though I no longer work with the methods proposed in these books and which I would not mind if they became "out of print."

Perhaps I am underestimating the most the area that also has its greatest effect in my current work for music therapy: my literary works, my essays as the writer I have been professionally and most uninterruptedly. I have found that of all things my novellas, columns, and stories on the topic of music and man find more resonance in the public than I could ever have foreseen. I have also found that my television movies have resulted in more mail from viewers than any response from listeners of radio broadcasts. Equally, my assistance in a feature film--as advisor for the inclusion of a music therapy-related topic or topics of "music in medicine"--instantly resulted in more attention to music therapy (for instance, from health insurances, politicians, union officials, etc.) than my last 20 essays in professional journals had achieved together. It seems that this part of my literary work--which naturally is hardly seen by my colleagues in music therapy--is, to my own surprise, currently coming to the aid of music therapy. Consequently I am no longer hiding my work as a writer so much from the colleagues with their professional publications and I also feel more "integrated" among them.

On the other hand, there is the German fervor for sorting and categorizing, and the question still exists: What are you really, professionally...? A psychologist, writer, or - what is that called again? A music therapist?"
I see many developments in the different regions of my country, the Federal Republic of Germany with its 16 federal states. Unfortunately, these developments are not necessarily all moving toward each other, as is evident from the example of east German and west German music therapy. The trends which have developed separately from each other are too far apart for a common bond. Or at least, the ways of how their representatives lived were too far apart. In this context I am happy to mention the friendly relationship I have with Christoph Schwabe whose books, twenty years before reunification, had offered me the first systematic help into my initial sojourns into the field of music therapy. And I was not the only one who was attracted to them.

I also see a number of developments in Central Europe and--made possible by my work for the VIII. World Congress in 1996 in Hamburg--also internationally altogether. The books with my thoughts on this subject will still have to be written by me, but I would like to present an informal sketch of my thoughts here.

The current division of music therapy before the background of therapeutic pedagogy, depth psychology, medicine, humanist psychology, learning theories, and of the more recent practices that are systemically and bodily oriented, appears to me so far to be representative of various countries and of their proponents. I believe that these different directions will, with the necessarily greater access to information at present and in the future, narrow their gaps without losing their own profiles in the process. Integration means simply creating proximity and transition, along with the skill to maintain the individual profile. Any team that skillfully employs therapy and medicine effectively thinks and acts in this manner.

I also foresee that those practices in the Federal Republic of Germany and in Central Europe that are currently too strongly divided into active music therapy and receptive music therapy (e.g., active therapy employed predominantly in Germany versus receptive therapy used predominantly by its neighbor France) will merge into a uniform professional image and subsequent course of education. The Brussels regulations for the future and initial recommendations from Brussels for the European. Union are pointing to it.

I am also predicting that the fear of too much "medicalization" of music therapy will change to the peaceful cooperation with medicine and with clinical psychology as well as with the non-academic health professions (care-taking, ergo therapy); I furthermore predict that the current loss of positions and the restrictions placed on all psychotherapists, including music therapists, will, after a period of drought, emerge from the narrows of the current recession into an era in which health professions and the health industry will become the new economic and ecological impetus for the new societies.

How do I arrive at these predictions? I have been studying more and more diligently the field of international organizational psychology (e.g., the theory of the "long waves," the "Kondratieffs," where the analysis of the last 200 years and of the respective time intervals between the strongest innovative impetuses in production and recession is used as a scientific as well as a practical means for dealing with the current transitions--and their "normal" problems such as a recession--in order to achieve new innovational impetuses. I have learned from this to see health and the health professions as the successors of material and informational discoveries and their impetuses: from the invention of the steam engine, which was followed by the invention of steel, which in turn was followed by the development of electrical engineering and of the field of chemistry, followed by the invention of petrochemistry and the mass production of the automobile, followed by information technology and highly specialized technology.

Today there is an obvious transition toward a society whose main concerns are health, the related research industry, and health services for the individual.

A first sign of the understanding of the role that music therapy must play in this respect I see in the trend toward the foundation of special endowments for music therapy in Germany and internationally that is occurring parallel to the reduction of music therapy positions. In addition, I actually receive more announcements of open positions than rejections and reductions in music therapy and to my great joy I am usually able to help staff them. I enjoy using my influence as a third party to broaden my role as a "walking employment office" for my students and doctoral candidates.

Since music therapy per se requires only a small institute to carry out its work (in comparison to mass departments), this personal accompaniment into the work world has been relatively successful so far.

The main goal of my music-therapeutical work with a patient is to provide the patient with a major means to express his or her symptoms through music therapy. In this I am following Jean Gebser as well as James Hillman and others who see art in therapy as well as art therapies and art-employing psychotherapy in general as the central means for the recovery of today's patients, i.e., of the ill, part of these persons because with these art media the patients can creatively change their illnesses and concerns--evidenced by the patients' symptoms--and by integrating them into their lives perceptions can change their lives.

Other treatment methods "do away with symptoms," absorb them, suppress them, or compensate for them. Music therapy and art therapy help, on the basis of their preverbal effectiveness, by integrating the experience of the illness into the life concept, and to me that means achieving maturity.

As a professor. I. attempt to include this position and this goal in my teachings. I have attempted to describe these goals in my more recent essays and books which I no longer need for the more or less neurotic acknowledgement of my profile in and by the public.

I would like to add to what I have already said about the regional, national, and international scene that I am certain that music therapy will grow increasingly as a profession because it has come to the attention of world agencies such as UNESCO (during the 1996 World Congress where music therapy was officially a "study visit" for the participants in Hamburg) and WHO (on the occasion of the 1996 World Congress on Music Therapy, also in Hamburg). However, just as we here in Germany had to pass an inevitable number of stages--as classical psychoanalysis and other psychotherapies had previously had to do (stages of presentation, of profile crises, of struggle and survival, of sorting-out of substrata, of research, of stabilization with the inherent struggle for acknowledgement, of restrictions, and battles of destruction)--thus the development of music therapy will and must go through these passages in other countries, including the developing countries of the Third World. History always spans from self-taught pioneers to standardized professionals and their diplomas. And I have a literally healthy gratitude that I was among the pioneers and that I had to discover the building blocks of music therapy on my own, at times even having to shape them myself. On the one hand.

On the other hand, I envy my students and the participants in other music therapy programs for their formal training and education in music therapy, so systematical, so straight, so orderly--inspite of all that improvisation... Or perhaps especially because of it.

Most countries with an organized health structure will emerge with a state-supervised, professional, degreed position in music therapy, either in the academic or the non-academic field. I am thinking here not only of the national development or that in the European Union which--I would like to repeat--has long been preparing for this, but also of developments in Japan where the development is well on its way and the development in the Philippines, for instance, which stands at the very beginning. For this reason I enjoy visiting far-away countries, to study the stages in which they find themselves and in order not to take the phases at home too tragically.
As far as content is concerned I see current problems in the distance between, for instance, psychoanalytic approaches (FRG) versus humanist-psychological or learning-theoretical approaches (USA). However, these distances will probably--see information society--lessen during my lifetime to such a degree that we will have to work once again on our profiles and on the demarcations from each other, and less on integration, which I have been and am still carrying as my official motto.

Musically I have been totally influenced by my inner cultural background. From the standpoint of music therapy I am certain that, with my background, I would have selected a profession in the healing arts wherever in the world I had lived. Perhaps with the aid of the music of that particular place. That brings to my mind what I might select for the next course of study: in my next life I would like to study physics - or carpentry. Or, perhaps best, both at the same time. Because of the many improvisations within and outside of music therapy I long for a life concept that will bring me "results" at the end of the day. It is for this reason that I love books and the individual pages that I write: I see something that is fixed - and it is not something in time.

Many times I have thought that a particular book was the most important book so far, that this was the book that most influenced or convinced me, I usually think that of each last one. I have experienced this so often that I now refuse to provide a finite answer. Furthermore, such an answer usually results in deep disappointment among the current authors who always flock together in a circle of their closest colleagues.

In this regard I am still happy today that my first book on music therapy, which I intentionally wrote in a style accessible to popular science, was badly panned in a professional journal close to my heart. As a consequence I was too ashamed to attend a certain congress and, deeply hurt, declined my attendance. It is this book of all things that has become the most-often sold book on music therapy in the German-speaking countries. It is currently being translated into Japanese and made into a movie. Admittedly, it was not written for music therapists, but for the public.

I can mention, however, what I have most continuously read during the past years: the Old and New Testaments as well as the diaries of Sigmund Freud in the original. I prefer reading Latin originals to English originals, as Latin seems the language least foreign to me. I also read the fairy tales from my childhood, Asterix and Obelix, and if necessary--in the attempt to cultivate opposites in myself--I occasionally buy my daughters a "Mickey Mouse" comic, forbidden to me when I was a child, in order to read it secretly myself.

Between these corner stones of Old Testament, Freud, and comic books I store the three-to-five-feet-high stack of new book publications which I am more or less required to read in addition to dissertations and diploma papers. Not only am I not a friend of the information society: I would have preferred to have reached my current age 30 years ago and to be dead now, because the accumulation and growing proportion of required reading take away my joy of reading altogether and tend to turn it to despair and feelings of guilt for all the materials that I should be reading. Besides, all the world expects of me that I read these books and sometimes even demands it of me ("What, you don't know that!").

I manage by spending my time writing. My egocentric and narcissistic sides do not need any further airing in the framework of this interesting interview which has allowed me to perceive myself in a new light and which was at the same time informative, because they--my narcissistic sides--would be found mostly in my autobiographical tales and essays which I write for persons other than my colleagues.

You, my colleagues, have enough trouble with me and with the categorization of my work. That is, if you enjoy order and are not yourselves such colorful spirits as I am one.

Only this, specifically for my colleagues: Sometimes I see my career myself--or it is described--as a "zig-zag career," as the path of a "Jack of all trades." The media rush in response to and after the VIII. World Congress on Music Therapy resulted in accordingly highly ambivalent representations of my work. What no longer disturbs but rather gladdens me about that time: My life itself seems to me more and more like an improvisation itself a chaotic beginning; the quest for structure, undertaking with the slowest steps; search and discovery; loss; rummaging-around; following side roads; finding the way back; surprises; defeats; falls, etc., etc.

It is only now, since I have established this structural parallel between improvised music and the way I have lived and led my life, the way I have had to and have wanted to live and lead my life, that I feel at all competent as a music therapist as well as a human being. Since then I have been looking more closely and more caringly at persons who have an exemplary, straight life line, because they are in a position to get help and because they might need help during the vagaries and crises of their lives for which their orderly, straight-forward life so far has not prepared them. I find that not only I but also most other older music therapists among the circle of my acquaintances lead a fulfilled, rich, restless life. And, as a Christian as well as a scientist and music therapist, I do not believe in coincidences.