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This paper investigates attachment themes in the life history narratives of professional orchestral musicians and their relationship with music performance anxiety (MPA). Narrative accounts derived from open -ended in -depth interviews of ten professional musicians were analysed from an attachment perspective using content and thematic analysis. We hypothesized that the performance setting re -triggers unprocessed feelings related to early attachment experiences, especially when traumatic, and that defensive manoeuvres against their re -emergence into consciousness are activated. The interviews identified early relational trauma as a relevant etiological factor in the MPA -symptomatic of the musicians studied. A case is made for the addition of an attachment -informed life -course model rather than a purely symptomatic approach to understanding and treating severe MPA and other intra -personal psychodynamics of performing musicians.
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