My little bit of music in a mass of academia

I was reminded of a song the other day by a friend. A song that I had not listened to for a long time. Yet a song that had been instrumental in my studies in counselling and had assisted me achieving a distinction – and I say this a person who had gone through school life with the words ‘satisfactory’ and ‘could do better’ plastered all over my school reports!! The song in question was by Mike and the Mechanics ‘In the Living Years’ It is a song about a father/son relationship and difficult conversations, but the father/son part is irrelevant to large degree, as it is just about how our experiences and relationships affect how we communicate.

The first modality of counselling I studied was psychodynamic – how childhood experiences influence the adult you are, so much of the words made sense and still do today. It encapsulated, in real everyday evaluation, our emotionally felt experiences. In fact, I am still true to this way of evaluating, analysing and understanding the complex world of psychology, the mind, emotions, reactions and indeed life!

The lines that spoke to me the most and that influenced my academic work, as I references this pop song, were…………………………

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

The most important lines for me…the one that spoke to me, was ‘We all talk a different language. Talking in defence’. Don’t we all do that, we all are speaking defending ourselves, protecting ourselves, feeling fearful, feeling vulnerable, but trying not to, and trying unconsciously to keep ourselves in harmony and avoid difficult emotions.

The other lines that spoke to me were….

‘So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts’

We unconsciously do this too….have a quarrel between the present and the past. Often we don’t know we are quarrelling until we allow ourselves to dig a little deeper and understand our own emotions and emotional experiences. This emotional awareness is so crucial in optimising our basic attributes of empathy. To understand other peoples emotional experiences and perspectives, we need to first understand our own.

This song, was a beautiful, inspiring and moving learning moment in a mass of academicbrain_music information (don’t take my word for it…listen)! Yet there is sat, quoted in my one of my final essays, referenced at the end
with the like of Freud and Yung, but I can honestly say, influenced my understanding at the time and indeed, how I facilitate and speak at training workshops and conferences to this day, over 20 years later. It is real, honest, vulnerable and open. It is a my little bit of music in a mass of academia. 🙂

To learn more about how my work has developed see my website:


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