Therapy, Music Production and Coffee: It's All The Same

Our main character is intensely focused on the task at hand.

Move element #1 juuuust a hair. Nudge element #2 forward into our attention. Element #3 needs a little more time added to it. And just as he finalizes his adjustments, the world settles into place and everything is whole and complete -- this time. 

I could be talking about therapy, music production or coffee and the story would hold the same. All three are loves of mine and I've come to find, over the years, that they're all a perfect combination for me and my personality. 

You see, there's an element of experimentation, of faith, of research, or trial and error that all three things benefit from. The way my brain works, I've dedicated an inordinate amount of time to all three -- understanding the variables, testing out new combinations, dreaming at night about what would happen if I made one small little change; how would that affect the whole result?

With coffee and espresso, it's easy to describe the variables:

  • Time
  • Grind Size
  • Water Quality & Temperature
  • Coffee to Water Ratio

We have some basic starting measurements but all of these things in combination create a very different outcome (depending on what you adjust). For example, my second coffee this morning was made in my Kalita Wave. I used 275 grams of water and 18 grams of coffee (a 15:1 ratio). It took a total of 3:30 (:45 bloom, 2:00 infusion :45 draw down) and my water was 203F at the start. I used a medium grind size. All of those things combined for a very fruity coffee with some sweetness and a medium body -- just the way I liked it. The cup I made earlier in the day was identical to the details listed above, I just had it ground finer by 4 stops on my grinder; this made the cup have a drying & astringent feeling in the mouth. Much less fun to drink just because of one variable. The good news for me is that I know what adjustments I need to make to get ever closer to coffee perfection.

With music production, it's a little harder to describe:

There's a whole slew of variables. What's the genre? What experience do we want the listener to have? How do all the instruments fit together? EQ, Reverb, Delay, Panning, Harmonies, Doubles, Dynamics, Changing Textures.... it can be exhausting. When you adjust the EQ on the guitars, it makes room for the vocals, but is it too much room? Does the singer sound disconnected from the rest of the band? Oh wait, now the Bass is way too prominent. Change that and now I've got to re-do the drums. Fun, creative chaos, for sure but again, I've spent over 12 years learning the nuance and it's an ever growing journey because each song requires something different. 

And this is where it all ties in with therapy. 

Every person that I have the privilege of working with comes into my office as their own, whole being. Usually, there's an "issue" they're trying solve, heal from or fix. That's where they meet me, as their new hybrid spirit guide/emotional barista/behavioral music producer. Together we look at the pieces that are impacting their story; how they got that way; what informed their earlier choices. 

Now, before I go further, it's important for me to pull a side-bar here and make a quick point. 

A lot of people who don't have a lot of experience with counseling think that either it's B.S. or Voodoo, or me just sitting there asking you how you feel. You see, that couldn't be further from the truth. 

I collect and analyze all of the information that my clients give me and, with their help, we tweak things. We balance things. I offer a different perspective; a different set of ears; a different flavor palate. Some areas find us in deep connection and harmony and others find us at the opposite ends of the table. 

Therapy is a constant balance of variables, adjusted as both an art and a science. The science portion is the years of research that have been done and that I have read, coupled with my experience doing this. The art is in how I connect with you, present new ways of looking at things, and help you move closer to where you'd like to be. With a good relationship, we can often move people PAST what they ever thought was possible for themselves. 

Ain't it interesting? Coffee, music, therapy.... not all that different when you break it down.


Until next time,



Alexander Michaud