Katie Eriksson suggests that love is the revelation and manifestation of health
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From Community Music Therapy – edited by Mercedes Pavlicevic and Gary Ansdell
The Finnish nurse theorist Katie Eriksson suggests that love is the revelation and manifestation of health (Eriksson 1990), and one practical manifestation of this is doing 'good things' to the person, being loved.
‘As a rule I collaborate with the parents about what to do, rather than applying predetermined music therapy methods. I may sing together with others present in the sick room or accompany the parents singing a favourite song for their child; once a mother and father asked to sing three- or four-part arrangements at the bedside of their unconscious son (Aasgaard 2000b). ‘
Relatives may borrow a pentatonic lyre and sit improvising for long periods in the sick room. Children who are bedridden, weak and fatigued have also, on their own initiative, wanted to take part in improvisations, or even had fun singing 'indecent' songs together with the music therapist.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon in the play room the two nurses on duty dance the can-can in front of a bedridden nine-year-old girl. 'Clara' has a huge, inoperable abdominal tumour and is not able to sit or stand, but now she is eagerly banging on a keyboard placed slightly lower than the mattress. The music therapist improvises on trombone while the mother watches the show with big eyes.
Eventually, mother and daughter laughingly start making dance movements with their hands, accompanied by rather wild trombone choruses and two crazy nurses jumping about in the little play room. A visitor might not easily guess that the young patient, here displaying her love of life, sense of humour and energy, will die peacefully just some few days afterwards.