Changing Devils into Daimons: Music and the Arts against Psychiatric Pathologies

By Alessandra Padula.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Psychiatric pathologies entail serious human suffering, inhibiting – whether in oneself or others - personal growth and expansion, fragmenting or disintegrating the personality and diminishing the quality of interpersonal relationships. Indeed the etymology of the Greek New Testament word diabolos (= devil, the personification of evil) leads to diaballo (= to tear apart), and Jung writes that in antiquity and the Middle Ages mental diseases were conceived tout court as daemonic possession.
But the antonym of diabolos is symbolos (from synballo = to connect), something which acts as a link uniting the whole, integrating the individual in himself and with his group. So symbolizing is therapeutic, because it manages and transforms the dark strength which stirs in the unconscious (which is potentially pathogenic either when it is repressed or when it overflows), infusing the deepest emotions into works of art.
Through artistic and musical activities the devils, which represent the compressed, subterranean energies that threaten will and self control, can be transformed into daimons, mediators which are able to connect and integrate all parts of the human spirit and its past.
This paper explores the following points: creativity is a desirable trait of personality; fostering creativity means promoting mental health; practising music, writing and visual arts can have rehabilitation effects on psychiatric patients.

Keywords: Creativity, Rehabilitation, Psychiatric Pathologies, Unconscious Communication, Expression, Socialization

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.11-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 553.520KB).

Prof. Alessandra Padula

Professor, Faculty for Medicine, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy

Alessandra Padula is an Italian musician and music therapist. She holds the MMs in both piano and harpsichord (Pescara Conservatory), and MA in Linguistics (Chieti University). Professor in piano at Milan Conservatory, she has served as member of several Conservatory committees. Previously on the Education Faculty of L’Aquila University and Social Sciences Faculty of Chieti University, in 2002 she came to the Medicine Faculty of L’Aquila University, where she teaches “Music therapy in psychiatric diseases”. She has received some awards for music performance, music teaching and organizing of social projects. Since 1976, she has given more than one hundred concerts in Europe and in the United States. She has authored more than one hundred articles for referred journals and conference proceedings. Her books (fifteen books on music and music therapy, one book on links between music and language, one book on music psychology) are frequently used as texts in Conservatories and Universities.

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