Author(s): Carr C, OdellMiller H, Priebe S
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is an emerging evidence base for the use of music therapy in the treatment of severe mental illness. Whilst different models of music therapy have been developed in mental health care, none have specifically accounted for the features and context of acute in-patient settings. This review aimed to identify how music therapy is provided for acute adult psychiatric in-patients and what outcomes have been reported. REVIEW METHODS: A systematic review using medical, psychological and music therapy databases. Papers describing music therapy with acute adult psychiatric in-patients were included. Analysis utilised narrative synthesis. RESULTS: 98 papers were identified, of which 35 reported research findings. Open group work and active music making for nonverbal expression alongside verbal reflection was emphasised. Aims were engagement, communication and interpersonal relationships focusing upon immediate areas of need rather than longer term insight. The short stay, patient diversity and institutional structure influenced delivery and resulted in a focus on single sessions, high session frequency, more therapist direction, flexible use of musical activities, predictable musical structures, and clear realistic goals. Outcome studies suggested effectiveness in addressing a range of symptoms, but were limited by methodological shortcomings and small sample sizes. Studies with significant positive effects all used active musical participation with a degree of structure and were delivered in four or more sessions. CONCLUSIONS: No single clearly defined model exists for music therapy with adults in acute psychiatric in-patient settings, and described models are not conclusive. Greater frequency of therapy, active structured music making with verbal discussion, consistency of contact and boundaries, an emphasis on building a therapeutic relationship and building patient resources may be of particular importance. Further research is required to develop specific music therapy models for this patient group that can be tested in experimental studies.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Biomusical Engineering