Workshop Review: The Therapeutic Use Of Sound

Facilitated by Daniel Perret

‘The Therapeutic Use of Sound’ workshop took place in the offices of IAHIP from 2pm to 5pm on November 26th 2005. It cost a very affordable thirty euro and to my knowledge was the first in a planned series of workshops to be organised by IAHIP over the next year. Daniel Perret led the afternoon and he began by giving a little background information to his work. He has worked as a music therapist since 1981. He is an author and a musician. He studied transpersonal psychology, spiritual healing and he learned how the use of the ancient wisdom of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) can produce a harmonic balance. He spoke about how the system of the five elements uses sound as a means of integrating body zones, emotions, thought patterns as well as the subtle anatomy, the energy fields of a human being. Ultimately what I took from this background information was that working with sound healing is a means of harmonising body, mind, soul and spirit.

After a very interesting introduction, Daniel Perret invited us to say how we would like the afternoon to go and we opted for an experiential approach. Personally, I would have liked a more formal start to the workshop; for the issue of group safety to be named and I would have welcomed the opportunity to introduce ourselves, to say what we do and what our expectations were for the next three hours. Having said that, I still felt open to participating fully in the workshop.

Through a series of exercises we traced our own energy fields through visualisation and were able to identify areas in which we had blocks. By striking  a small metal instrument, we could hear the rise and fall of its sound as it responded to different energy centres of the body and within the room. We also explored the identification of the ‘Identity Point’ which Daniel indicated was the point of our ‘higher self’. This can be sensed or felt as colour or substance in the area approximately thirty centimetres directly above the crown. An exercise I found particularly powerful was one in which the group became a ‘voice orchestra’ and we had the opportunity to tune into hitherto unused voices within us. The exercise for me became a very spontaneous expression of myself.  The sense of freedom I felt reminded me of similar experiences in art therapy, where the spontaneous painting of a picture is an authentic reflection of something from within.

While I did not find the afternoon cohesive, I realised that Daniel Perret had an abundance of experience, information and material to share and three hours was just too short a time. However, my favourite classes in school always left me energised, full of questions and needing to explore further and that was how I felt about this workshop.

Gillian Lonergan is an accredited psychotherapist working in private practice in Dublin and in a youth project with young adults.