Local therapist offers conflict resolution for bands 

Vicki Mayfield poses for a photo, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Vicki Mayfield poses for a photo, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.

As with any group of people working toward a goal, particularly a creative one, band members can find themselves at odds with each other.

Simon & Garfunkel don’t necessarily care for one another, the feud between Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher is legendary and most of the Guns N’ Roses musicians only recently attempted to put aside their volatile differences for a reunion tour after two decades of estrangement.

One Oklahoma City behavioral health professional seeks to calm the troubled waters that can engulf area bands and musicians. Vicki L. Mayfield, a therapist and registered nurse with a master’s degree in education, stages conflict resolution and therapy for bands whose inner tensions have led the melody astray.

Mayfield is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She has owned a private practice for over two decades and also works as a nurse at St. Anthony Behavioral Medicine Center.

Her foray into the psyches of musicians began when a client who is not a musician began to speak about her connection to a local band and how its conflicts affected her life.

“During the course of our work together, she formed a relationship with a band, and she began to talk about that,” Mayfield said. “At first, it was just a topic she would get on, but then I noticed it began to become more of her life, and I just said one day, ‘Why don’t we bring the band in?’”

The group, comprised of two men and two women, plus her client, began meeting with Mayfield. Though cautious at first, the band quickly made headway into the causes of the tension.

“At first, it was real interesting because one of the guys was very quiet and one was very talkative,” Mayfield said. “When I saw them the second time, the quiet guy was very different. He was interacting. It was the same the third time. I could just see the progression to where they begin to look forward to this.”

Mayfield said the quiet client might be the most affected and improved member of the band.

“He had never been in personal therapy,” she said. “What I’ve found so interesting is that for him, it’s given him an avenue to talk. He has started talking about issues about the band that he’s never talked about before.”

Mayfield approaches sessions with music acts through two lenses: conflict resolution and therapy.

“I look at conflict resolution as specific issues that we are trying to deal with,” she said.

For example, one always arrived late to rehearsal, which frustrated colleagues. Therapy investigates personal trauma that contributes to negative behavior.

Mayfield cited an example where a mix of the two approaches was used to help heal. One band member was addicted to drugs, which caused fellow bandmates stress and resentment, and they began to distance themselves from him. As Mayfield examined the trauma of the band member, the others rallied around him.

“At the end of the session, [a fellow band member] said, ‘One thing I see that I can do is be more of a friend to you,’” Mayfield said. “He said, ‘I’ve been pulling away from you. I think you need me, and I apologize to you for not being more available.’”

Mayfield said she draws techniques from her marriage and family counseling experiences.

“It’s kind of like family work; a band is a lot like a family,” she said. “I really liked it. It inspired me.”

Mayfield admitted that this opportunity fell into her lap. If her client had not spoken about her closeness to the music act, her practice would still focus on families and married couples.

“At that time, it wasn’t like something I’d ever thought about,” she said. “I hadn’t thought about doing conflict resolution with bands.”

As her time with the musicians increased and the positive effects of the work became obvious to her and her clients, she realized there was a need for this type of therapy.

Knowing conflict resolution and therapy usually does not cross the minds of contentious musicians, she stressed that her sessions are a safe place where the goal is to make creating music and performing more enjoyable.

“I don’t want anyone to feel attacked,” Mayfield said. “We do this in a group format, and I make sure that everybody participates and gets equal time.”

She said the band that helped launch the new specialty of her counseling continues to see her and its members make strides in their relationships.

“I think what they really realized was that this is a really good opportunity for them to work on issues that are causing the band conflict,” Mayfield said. “’Cause they all want to make music together. They have all been very clear about that.”

Contact Mayfield at 405-620-4597 or by email at vmfield@gmail.com.

Print headline: Clash healer, Therapist Vicki L. Mayfield offers conflict resolution and therapy to local musicians and bands.

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