Music Therapy with Adolescents in Psychiatric Treatment Who Have Histories of Loss: A Thematic Analysis of Session Content

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Seley, Jennifer
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Many adolescents with psychiatric disorders have experienced significant losses in their lives, yet there is limited literature describing this population. In the current study, six adolescents in residential psychiatric treatment who had histories of loss received individual music therapy sessions. Music experiences included singing, instrument play, and dancing to both pre-­‐composed and improvised music, as well as composing original music. The researcher reviewed session videos, analyzed the content of the sessions, and identified six key themes. These themes suggest that loss, negative and positive relationship experiences, emotional pain, comfort, and resiliency are important issues to this population. The results of this study can shape the practice of clinicians working in adolescent psychiatry and form the basis of future research on this population.