This section will contain content known as “The Gong & I”. My perspective of gong play with the inclusion of human process ‘awareness’ and a leaning towards some component’s of ‘Sound Therapy’. I will update it as i write on occasion.
The content is entirely of my own writing, and therefore is my property. I include what i write, in my gong play workshops as an experiential opportunity for participants to explore.
Paul Ford 2021/2022
“Human identity is like a piece of symphonic music being continuously composed in the moment”- Gudrun Aldridge (1988).
Gudrun speaks of creating what i would define as an ‘allowance’, for the individual(s) involved in therapy to be able to become active and autonomous partners in the therapy, rather than passive recipients. Effectively ‘influencing’ their own experience and creators of their own composition. Although primarily referring to the practice of Music Therapy, I do believe in the above being possible also, of Sound Therapy.
Music and Sound is defined and proven as a great ‘interruption’ or ‘distraction’, particularly in reference to the alleviation of physical and emotional discomfort. Sensory processing, encouraging a person or group towards different, sometimes ‘unfamiliar’ yet welcome experiences. I myself am a believer in that each individual is responsible for their own therapeutic experience. And that of my own I will attest to. True we are a valuable and, in many ways, a valuable body of support. Such as the Psychologist/Psychotherapist is, in their practice of their own skills. The onus then, would be the encouraged adoption of responsibility of the participating individual(s) towards possible ‘attainable’ therapeutic outcomes. A relationship between two persons(practitioner/client) perhaps, in an agreement to co jointly navigate the difficulties encountered as presented in the initial session. In ways, there can begin and furthered the engagement and developed interactive play, jointly and solo. Perhaps there is for the participant, an acute long-standing difficulty in the skill of expression, be it verbal or somatic. There can be a supported exploration of how the participant can, with support experiment in ‘showing up’ and being seen/ heard in safety. A practice which can be grounded in the Sound Therapy session and thus transferred into processes of ‘living’. Taking into account personal levels of agency/ availability in the time of practice. And of course, there are limitations relative to an individual’s own functionality.
And so, to understand and acknowledge Sound as ‘communication’. What are you communicating?, and as your participants are always listening and feeling; you ‘literally’ can only imagine their response to You.
Thus we begin our negotiation, a bartering if I might suggest between practitioner and their gong. A flexible and impermanent experience, existential attunement to their instrument of choice, the experience of connection and disconnection; containment and withdrawal into the void. So, the practitioner in their experience of stimulation, or I offer the phrase ‘psychic excitement’, they initiate the task of contact. With an approach towards the gong, the crystalline membrane we perceive as a solid. And so dialogue begins, with if possible no agenda, yet agency and willingness to nurture the emergence of the gong ‘wholly’, with foundations in the fundamental ground it was crafted. From the practitioner, there can if encouraged, become a commitment towards the exploration and mapping of frequency. The practitioner presents themselves, with their own ‘felt’ sense of emotionality, held in consideration, with awareness of how emotion drives the individual towards their meaning of satisfaction. Our own responsiveness and that of the gong, possessing similar behavior. We engage and elicit the response and pause, and so we can become choiceful of our own presence, and sense of in the presence of our gong(s). A practitioner can become mindful, and aware of what is occurring for themselves, be it of past historical, interpretated present or assumed future affect. For as humans we have a predictable and fixed system of characterizing ourselves, as we have with our instrument of choice. Which appearing infinite in its presentation of sound frequency, is also equally predictable and mirrors our own ‘psyche’. As we meet at the ‘unseen boundary’, we gain a sense of who we are not, yet offered the experience of who we could become. How we navigate to and from, in fluidic and rigid processes. What occurs within our moments of contact, and of how we might re-apply towards the gong with our mallets of choice, is demonstrative of self within a relational field of sound vibration.