I feel compelled to add a few comments which could be considered "personal", i.e, not related to professional life. But I've never been good at compartmentalizing, and my music, in fact, shapes my therapy in ways visible and invisible.
For the last many years I've plugged away, developing my skills as a jazz pianist and vocalist. This has provided me with a great deal of pleasure and, at times, frustration. But my love of the music we call jazz and the demands required for performance have kept me more or less on the straight-and-narrow in terms of practice. And I've been fortunate to have had great teachers and some fabulous gigs with musicians far superior to myself.
These two worlds unexpectedly came together in 1997 when I experimented with the first "jazz consultation". I asked two jazz musician friends to observe a family session from behind a one-way mirror and--at a certain point--I invited them into the session to provide musical commentary in the presence of the family. The "Jazz Consultation" was born. I have done many presentations on this work and wrote an article about this method in Dr. David Keith's book, "FAMILY THERAPY AS AN ALTERNTIVE TO MEDICATION: An Appraisal of Pharmland".
Many years and many jazz consultations later, I still see jazz as a reference point in family therapy. In fact, sometimes I feel like I'm conducting a band when I'm in a session. "Bring up the saxophones! Less on the drums!". The relational dynamics in families and jazz music share a lot in common. There has to be respect, mutual support, enough autonomy and individual expression, the ability to improvise, and stability. Also a good, playful argument never hurts.
Meanwhile, I continue to work on my artistry, both as a jazz pianist/vocalist and as a therapist. I recently was lucky enough to record a "demo" with some amazing musicians, including my husband, jazz bassist Alex Gressel. The other spectular members of the quintet are Saul Rubin on guitar, Steve Wiliams on drums and Mike Camoia on tenor sax. I've included the demo here. Enjoy!
On a personal note
THE AMY BEGEL QUARTET
Amy Begel, piano & vocals
Alex Gressel, bass
Mike Camoia, saxophone
Saul Zebulon Rubin, guitar
Steve Williams, drums