Counterpoint of disturbance
The origins of aggression
Aggression is a necessary human drive that both individuals and societies must learn to harness and sublimate, thus furthering the creativity, vitality and co-operation needed for survival. In this discussion, which will open our Symposium, Dr Taylor will explore the origins and impact of psychopathy – perhaps the greatest threat to peace – on individuals and those around them, both in the clinical and the organisational spheres. This will in turn inform our understanding of the necessary adjustments our communities must make in order to reduce discord across the generations.
Dickinson, Compton, S.
Modifying the aggressive impulse
‘Empathy’ comes from the German word, Einfühlung, meaning ‘feeling in’, while ‘Alexithymia’ is literally having ‘no words for emotions’. The former is absent and the latter common in the Dark Triad traits of Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy. In this second part of the Symposium, Dr Compton Dickinson will draw from the findings of a randomised controlled trial of Cognitive Analytic Music Therapy. This research demonstrated that jointly-created musical improvisation can ameliorate aggressive and antisocial responses, and improve both cognitive empathy and the capacity to relate to others.
Specific clinical applications in music therapy
What does the music of the psychopath sound like? In this final part of the Symposium, Alex Maguire will present the rapping and singing of a high-scoring PCL-R patient in a maximum secure hospital. In his music he cannot resist telling all – the microphone does not lie, and his psychopathology becomes clearer through his chosen medium. Hale’s paper “Flying a Kite” suggests the possibility of psychopathy as a defence against a psychotic illness, often leading to the tragedy of men and women batted between prison and hospital with, as Hale notes, potentially fatal consequences.