How Music-Inspired Weeping Can Help Terminally Ill Patients

Journal of Medical Humanities 32 (3):231-243 (2011)
Music’s power to improve the ‘human condition’ has been acknowledged since ancient times. Something as counter-intuitive as weeping in response to music can ameliorate suffering for a time even for terminally ill patients. Several benefits—including catharsis, communication, and experiencing vitality—can be associated with grieving in response to “sad” music. In addressing the potential rewards of such an activity for terminally ill patients, this author combines concepts from philosopher Jerrold R. Levinson’s article, entitled “Music and Negative Emotion,” an illustration from a major motion picture, and supporting research from medical reports and aesthetic writings. Carefully offering this experience is recommended for patients who retain the capacity to express preference
Keywords Music  Weeping  Terminal illness  Actively dying  Self-esteem
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    Jerrold Levinson (1997). Music and Negative Emotion. In Jenefer Robinson (ed.), Music & Meaning. Cornell University Press.
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