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The Self-Restorative Power of Music: A Psychological Perspective | Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book series
Frank M. Lachmann
Routledge / Softcover / Oct 2021
9781032007847 (ISBN-10: 1032007842)
Psychoanalysis and Culture / Self Psychology / Intersubjectivity
price: $43.95
118 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

This book explores how we can understand the place of music from a self psychological perspective, by investigating three journeys: the one we take when listening to music, the literal journey of the author from Nazi Germany to the United States, and the subjective round-trip between the past and the present.

Drawing on the work of Heinz Kohut, the author examines how music can provide us with a way to reconnect with a sense of self, and how this can manifest in psychological and physical ways. There is particular reference to the work of Richard Wagner, Cole Porter, and Richard Strauss, and an examination of how their music enabled them, in times of stress and crisis, to restore and maintain a more positive sense of self. Finally, the book looks back at the author’s own experiences of music and the place of music in the Jewish world.

With clinical excerpts, personal narrative, and sophisticated psychoanalytic insights, this book will appeal to all psychoanalysts wanting to understand the place of music in shaping the psyche, as well as music scholars wishing to gain a deeper appreciation of the psychology of music.


"Frank Lachmann displays extraordinary musical acumen, from his evolutionary analysis of a baby’s 1st "Mmm" to his exploration of Beethoven’s 9th. As a cabaret singer, I was taken by his insight into how Cole Porter’s songwriting affirmed his sense of self despite agonizing pain and depression. In "The Self-Restorative Power of Music" Yo-Yo Ma refers to "goosebump moments". During this time of isolation and shut-down of venues, I now experience those moments playing piano; yet I long to express myself again in halls filled with warm hearts and eager ears. To quote Frank Lachmann : "I sing, therefore I am". " -KT Sullivan, Artistic Director, The Mabel Mercer Foundation

"This is a magnificent book written by a magnificent man who integrates so much about the human condition as it is encountered in music, in development, in the creation of meaning and in the psychoanalytic Spielraum. We are also treated as a contrapuntal motif to an intriguing inquiry into the complex logarithms that exist between Jewishness and music. This is a must read." – Jim Herzog, Training and Supervisory Analyst and Child and Adolescent Supervisory Analyst, Boston, Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Harvard Medical School

Table of Contents

1. Overture 2. Words and Melodies, Psychology and Music 3. Thrills, Goose-bumps, and Violations of Expectations in Music 4. Music as Narrative 5. Richard Wagner: Childhood Trauma and Creativity 6. Richard Strauss: Creativity in Crisis and Crises in Creativity 7.Cole Porter:Trauma and Self-Restoration 8. Finale: Music and The Jews

About the Author:

Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D., a psychoanalyst and Founding Faculty of the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity is author or co-author of more than 160 journal publications and books. He is the sole author of Transforming Aggression, and Transforming Narcissism and honorary member of the Vienna Circle for Self Psychology, the William Alanson White Society, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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Psychoanalysis and Culture
Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series
Self Psychology / Intersubjectivity