There’s a synergy between love and any type of art or form of expression because love in itself is a form of expression, one of those art forms being music. Los Angeles-based love and relationship expert Julia Alperovich talks about the synergy between love and music. She dives into how we are all triggered by certain songs and talks about her specialization in treating a broad range of intimacy and sexual issues.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Synergy Between Love And Music with Julia Alperovich
Rather than leading this episode with music, I thought we’d lead it with love and who better to do this with than my incredibly special and fabulous guest, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the wonderfully dynamic and truly inspirational, Julia Alperovich.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited.
How are you?
I’m doing well.
What are your plans?
It’s not going to be very restful to be honest. Because as a therapist I see clients when they’re not working. I’m doing some work and trying to get some R&R squeezed in there wherever I can.
On this show, generally I’m speaking to people who are coming from the music side of the industry but with you, you’re love and relationships with lots of sex thrown in. I wanted to interview you because I thought it would be interesting to see from your perspective if you think that there’s a synergy between love and music. What do you think?
I think that there’s a synergy between love and any type of art or form of expression because love in itself is a form of expression. It would go together or be impacted or influenced by something like music. Music is something that will create memories that we attached to or give a certain sensation. It makes sense that there’s a relationship there.
Are there clients you have who will get triggered by a certain song?
Absolutely. I deal a lot with relationships and issues of a sexual nature. With that come infidelity, betrayal and pain. A lot of the triggers that I see around music are more negative in terms of somebody who’s been betrayed by someone is reminded of that pain of the betrayal by hearing a song. Maybe it’s their song from their wedding or it’s a song from when they were dating. In that case, yes, that’s triggering. I also see people who are triggered and maybe even aroused by certain types of music.
What kind of music do you find is the real one for arousal?
I think it’s a mix and it depends on the person and their preference. When I think about music, the music that I listened to, maybe my taste is different from other people. Lyrics are usually just drenched in sex, love and relationships. People talk about it all the time in their songs about heartbreak, meeting the love of their life or just about girls who are sexy. It’s everywhere. It depends on the person’s taste in music, but hearing this kind of language and material is definitely going to allow your mind to wander places. If you also think about music that has certain types of beats or bass notes, these are things that are vibrational. It’s like root chakra stuff. It’s going to stimulate that part of us that recognizes arousal.
Tell me a little bit more about root chakra. What does that mean?
We have chakras. These are energetic centers that influenced different aspects of our lives. The root chakra is based in your reproductive area, your genitals and a lot of it is around safety, security, stability, productivity and creativity. This is also where sexuality and our sensuality lies. When you hear music with deep bass, it’s vibrational. In terms of our energetic bodies, that is what is going to be influenced. If it is that different vibrations will impact different chakras. That’s why, for example, we listened to, classical music that doesn’t have a whole lot of deep bass and it’s good for our minds to focus, to study, to learn versus something that’s got these bass tones and rhythm. It’s deeper, it’s lower and it goes lower down in our energetic body. It will affect our sexual center. It’s fascinating.
Do you have songs that resonate with you?
Love and sex.
I grew up in the ‘90s, so I listened to a lot of ‘90s hip hop. I don’t know if you remember the song Let’s Talk About Sex. Every time I think about walking into sessions with my clients or even about when I was single going on a date, this was my anthem for getting pumped up. That was my jam. I remember songs like That Girl Is Poison.
Do you remember who it’s by?
It was Bell Biv DeVoe.Different vibrations will impact different chakras. Click To Tweet
I don’t think I do know that one. I have to look it up.
These were songs that were all about being sexy, embracing it and bringing it out to the open. For me, it was something that charged me. I used to love those songs. I associate different types of music, for example, with romance versus sexiness and carnal desire. Romance, I tend to go back to things like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and Etta James. That to me is more romance.
I’m there with you. One of my all-time favorites is Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy. I think that’s one of the sexiest songs that’s ever been written. It’s like an anthem. I know that you work with a number of high-profile individuals and I presume that you work with some people in the music industry who are high profile. Do they ever come from a place anxiety or stress related to a particular song they may have released or putting out? Does that ever affect the conversation that you may be having with these particular individuals?
Yes, I do see a lot of high-profile people and they’re in the entertainment industry typically but in all different aspects. Some are in TV, in movies and in music. As far as the musicians I work with, it’s less about anxiety, about specific songs and more about other things associated with being in the business, around the culture of that industry. I see a lot of impostor syndrome issues, things like inadequacy, feeling like they don’t belong even if they’ve had big achievements, sold millions of records, made lots of money and created a huge name for themselves.
Do you find that there is more of the imposter syndrome with men or with women?
I hate to generalize but more with men.
Expand a little bit on what impostor syndrome is.
It’s self-explanatory. It’s feeling like you’re an impostor. Yes, I have this reputation, this career and I’m well known, however, I don’t feel I belong. I feel like a fraud. I pulled one over on people and somehow made it big, but I’m not as talented as people think I am. That is in a nutshell.
How does someone get into the business that you’re in? For example, you’ve been doing this quite a long time. You worked in the nonprofit community mental health area with underprivileged populations, in-patient drug and alcohol treatment. How did you get into all of that? It’s fascinating.
You go through a lot of school, you start there. It’s a lot of education. It takes a long time to get through the process of getting training, experience and going through the licensure process. It takes a special person to dedicate that much time and effort to doing something that oftentimes can feel thankless or is selfless. For me, it’s been a passion. I’ve always known I wanted to do this. I was fascinated with psychology and human sexuality since I was a little kid sneaking my Walkman into my bedroom at night to listen to Dr. Ruth’s radio show back in ‘93.
I remember feeling that’s what I want to do. This is so interesting. It’s so cool that people are talking so openly about something that is private. I want to know. Maybe I’m nosy more so than curious, but I was always interested. I went to school for it. I got sidetracked a little bit. I had a couple other careers along the way, but I was always drawn back to it. It’s fulfilling. I don’t think people get into this career if they don’t have a passion for it. It’s draining. If you don’t love it, there’s no way you can do this long-term sustainably. It’s a lot of training and it’s also having a natural penchant for helping
It becomes a vocation as well as a job because I feel that with the music management side of my business. I definitely feel that it’s a nurturing, very giving business and consequently, you have to do it because you absolutely love doing it. You can’t just do it because it’s a job. Sometimes it pays the bills and sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to love it.
It’s a lot of thankless work. I don’t know if you’ve ever read a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It’s an excellent book. I’m a big Mark Manson fan. He talks about how in your dream job, the career that you’ve always wanted, that’s your passion, it’s a role you’ve always dreamed about, that you’re still going to have to eat some bad sandwiches that you’re going to have to take the bad with the good. There are still going to be moments where it’s not always going to be completely dreamy, perfect and happy but when you’re passionate about it and you’re doing what you love, you’re willing to take that with the good.
You just got married. What was the song for your first dance?
I know we walked down the aisle to Somewhere Over the Rainbow but the old Hawaiian version.
Why did you choose a Hawaiian version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow?
We got married on a beach in the British Virgin Islands and I liked the tropical sound to it, but it’s always been ethereal, dreamy and sweet. We both listened to it and thought that it was fitting. We chose it to walk down the aisle too. We had a guitarist who was strumming that old tune.
I love that you had a Hawaiian take on that song. If you’re thinking about it and this is putting you on the spot a little bit. If you and Ted were stuck on a deserted island for eternity, do you have five top songs that you would play on rotation? Do you need that little bit of sexy song, romantic song or do you need that, “Screw the world, I’m going to survive,” song?
Ted and I have very different tastes in music. Ted and I also are very different opposite people. Ted likes show tunes, The Beatles and anything from a Disney movie, whereas I listen to a lot of rap and I definitely am not into Disney music. I was ready to strangle him when Frozen came out. The only song I could think of that we would agree on is the intro song to Golden Girls, Thank You For Being a Friend. We do agree on some music. For example, we both love Bob Marley. I don’t think it can make you murderous. There’s some older stuff from the ‘90s that we both grew up with that we both like, some alternative music. We both listened to Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. We both listened to Courtney Love, that’s our generation that we grew up on. I could see us listening to some of that because it’s stuff that we were raised with.
Hopefully, you won’t ever need to find yourself in that situation.When you're passionate about your job and you're doing what you love, you're willing to take the bad with the good. Click To Tweet
I don’t know if we could handle that. We don’t spend a lot of time together and on top of each other because we’re both very independent people who like our space. I think would flip me over the edge. I don’t know that we would get along. You wouldn’t need to set up separate camps on opposite sides of the island.
It will be a big island.
Hopefully, otherwise it will be like a Lord of the Flies situation.
Just going back to your nonprofit community health work that you’ve done. Are there music programs for people in the mental health community where music can potentially help them? I know in the UK, there’s Nordoff Robbins, which is an amazing organization that does amazing work for people with physical and mental illness. I wondered if there is a facility here to help people through music for a mental and physical issues.
I’m not sure that there’s a facility, I may not know about it but I know that when I used to work with children, we did do a lot of play therapy and music therapy groups. We have music therapists and oftentimes it helps children with communication issues, selective mutism. Maybe even autism to be able to express themselves in a different way or be able to even interact with them in a different way through music because music is emotional. I’ve worked with play therapists. I personally am not a play therapist. Working with kids is certainly not my strength. I work with adults. I know that there are services out there that utilize music in a therapeutic way.
You’ve talked to me about how there’s a terrible drugs problem in West Hollywood’s and you called it chemsex. I presume that alongside that, there is a music element to how these people who are all suffering from drug addiction that probably is a synergy there. I wondered if you had any experience of how these people handle their drug addiction in relation to any kind of music that plays an influence in their life.
I know that in West Hollywood, the chemsex culture is also tied to nightclub culture. Going out, dancing, listening to electronic music. All of those electronic music festivals are saturated with drugs. There’s a lot of drug and alcohol use in those places. The two go hand in hand. On one regard, it’s an enhancement of experience of the music, but there’s also the darker end of it where with the drug use comes less inhibition and maybe some courage to take bigger risks and sometimes that is sexually as well. It can lead to some dangerous and high-risk behaviors. It’s easier to engage in these behaviors with somebody else that you’re meeting in this drug-fueled environment where everybody’s on the same level or as high as one another so that you have willing participants. What better place to do that than a crowded club where everybody’s dancing, everybody’s having a good time and there’s good music. It’s not the music’s fault. That’s the biggest thing. These nightclubs aren’t designed to facilitate that. It’s something that happens there.
It’s interesting because we moved from how music can help children and help people with disabilities to how music insights craziness and enhances chemicals that people put into their body. It’s interesting that music is in all of our lives in such different ways.
I don’t know if you remember rave culture in the ‘90s. That was all about ecstasy and MDMA and the two went hand in hand. Much of it was about intensifying the experience of the music along with the drugs. There was this sense of invincibility, but you’re still taking risks to your physical health when you are using these substances. Yes, it’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s emotional and energetic, but at the same time it can also have a darker side.
For youngsters who would be interested in following in the path of yourself, what bits of advice would you give them?
Be prepared for a long journey to get to the point where you’re done with all your schooling and all your training, and to the point where you’re working in the capacity that you want to work with, with the clients that you want to be working with. It takes a long time. If you’re on the fence and a little bit interested, do a little more exploration before you dive in head first and commit because it’s not for everybody. Also, get your own therapy before you become a therapist. Do your own work. Get the experience of being not in the chair but on the couch, what that feels like, how it feels to be vulnerable, touch on difficult topics, open yourself up and sift through the muck so that you can have a better level of empathy for the people you’re going to be working with. Those are the two biggest things is be sure and explore it first because it is a massive commitment. It’s not a job that you go into because it sounds like fun. Also, explore the other end of it. Understand what it’s like to be a client and which therapists you like, what you like about them so that you can get an idea of how you want to be in a room with your clients.
You have years and years of experience and you’ve mentioned to me that you’ve published some articles and you have a book. Tell us a little bit about that so that people who may want to learn a little bit more on what you have to say can go and find these articles and literature.
I did an article and I believe it was Bustle. I was interviewed for Pointers for people going into first dates and what to be mindful of. I’ve written a lot for peer review journals. This is dry clinical reading. I’m not sure that the layperson would find it entertaining. I’ve written on some of the politics in the mental health field. I also co-authored a book with some of my colleagues. It’s called Surviving the Holidays. It’s a workbook format, but it’s for couples who are going through recovery from any sex addiction or betrayal trauma. Holidays in general, birthdays, any type of celebrations like that tend to be triggering for people who’ve had trauma, betrayal, and addiction. Things that have made them feel unsafe in their relationships.
It’s a guide for managing that because I know that around the holidays before and after my phone is blowing up and I’m booked out because who hits the fan around that time and people get activated. They get triggered and the gifts that they wanted or they’re over gifted, which makes them suspicious. They weren’t thought of, someone forgot, their expectations weren’t met or whatever happens. There is a lot of emotional connection to this. We published this book on helping people prepare for these things in advance to diminish the risks of getting into some blowout fight or doing any further damage to their relationships.
I’m very sure that we will be seeing a lot of literature written by the fabulous, Juliet Alperovich. How do you want to be remembered?
The main thing I want to be remembered is for touching people’s lives and leaving a legacy of being of assistance, helping walk beside them through difficult times. I see my career and what I do and trying to help people as my legacy. I also would like to be remembered for my dirty sense of humor.
How do people get in touch with you if they want some help?
The best place to find me is my website, which is JuliaLMFT.com, which stands for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I’m part of a group collaborative practice in Studio City as well called Banyan Therapy Group. If you go to a BanyanTherapy.com, you can find me there. Probably you’ll be able to find my podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, and that’s called Undressing The Issues. We’re going to be undressing all sorts of issues.
Julia, thank you so much for joining us on the show. You’ve been absolutely amazing. I’m sure that everyone will enjoy reading to what you’ve had to say and hopefully learn a lot as well.
Thanks for having me.
Big kisses to Ted, the wonderful husband. Thanks again.
- Julia Alperovich
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
- Surviving the Holidays
About Julia Alperovich
Julia Alperovich is a Los Angeles based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. In her practice, she specializes in treating a broad range of intimacy and sexual issues including trauma, attachment and addiction.
She is also actively involved with numerous professional organizations and addiction treatment programs as a consultant, speaker, educator and author.