Dr. Randall Alifano PhD Draws Parallels Between Music and Counseling

Dr. Randall Alifano PhD

Dr. Randall Alifano PhD serves his California community as a counselor and minister. Outside of this vocation, Dr. Randall Alifano PhD enjoys participating in djembe drumming. At first glance, says Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, there may not seem to be a substantive connection between counseling and music making. However, Dr. Randall Alifano PhD points out that both practices require a great deal of presence.

Presence is a metaphysical idea, explains Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, which runs far deeper than physical proximity. Presence involves shedding self-conscious thoughts, adds Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, which hamper action and communication. In drumming Dr. Randall Alifano PhD notes that a musician can get sidetracked by his or her own thoughts. This can lead to insecurity or an attempt to emulate preconceived sounds rather than to work with the sounds the drummer can naturally and effortlessly create. In short, says Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, trying too hard to sound good can make a drummer sound worse.

Trying to be too clever during counseling, says Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, can lead to a similarly ineffective experience. The key factor of presence, points out Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, is the art of listening. A good counselor, adds Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, must be an impeccable listener. When drumming in an ensemble, Dr. Randall Alifano PhD says that the musicians must listen to one another intently and focus on the whole of their sound.

Dr. Randall Alifano PhD believes that drumming should not be about pressure to achieve perfection. Drumming is instead an expression of joy, elaborates Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, focused on the participants and the audience. A drummer excels, says Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, when he or she forgets about himself or herself and pushes beyond his or her own thoughts and aims.

In a very real way, continues Dr. Randall Alifano PhD, better counseling comes from an unselfconscious counselor who is present in the client’s discourse instead of within his or her own internal discourse. Dr. Randall Alifano PhD believes that presence can be thwarted by the best intentions. Dr. Randall Alifano PhD points out that a counselor who is overly concerned about doing a good job will think too hard about his or her own performance, rather than putting their own identity aside and listening intently to the client.

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