Isoprinciple: The group approach

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Isoprinciple: The group approach


This article looks at the isoprinciple (Altshuler, 1948) and puts forward ideas about how this principle may be applied in the therapeutic use of music in the group setting. A feedback loop is proposed, for the assessment and reassessment of mood states. Following a consideration of broad mood categories, such as active/energetic and quiet/withdrawn, five different situations likely to occur in the music therapy session are outlined. These five situations include both homogenous and heterogeneous groups, with thoughts on how to proceed musically in these circumstances. Suggested musical examples are listed in Table 1. The isoprinciple is useful in enhancing rapport, openness and cohesion within the group, and may reduce the incidence of music therapist “burnout”. Despite the passage of almost fifty years, there is still a great deal to be learned from Altshuler’s (1948) isoprinciple, in particular its application to groups.

Keywords: Isoprinciple, music therapy, group


Short, A. (1992). Isoprinciple: The group approach. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 3, 57-62.

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Date published: July 1992