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Music Therapy in the Treatment of Adults with Mental Disorders: Theoretical Bases and Clinical Interventions


Music therapy clinical practice occurs at various levels. Wheeler (1983) has classified the treatment of adults with mental disorders into three types: music therapy as an activity therapy; insight music therapy with re-educative goals; and insight music therapy with reconstructive goals.

Activity-based therapy is aimed at helping the client reach observable, measurable goals through various forms of music experiences. In contrast, the two remaining levels focus on facilitation of change through personal insight gained via musical experiences and verbalization about those experiences. Insight-based music therapy processes are ordinarily more intense and prolonged, in that deep emotions are evoked, and in the case of reconstructive therapy unconscious material is accessed. However, all three levels are valid treatment approaches.

The type of music therapy used in any given clinical situation will depend on the individual needs of the client population, the philosophical orientation of the treatment facility, and the therapist's education and training (insight music therapy obviously requiring more advanced training than activity-based treatment).

Music therapy clinical practice also occurs within the framework of many different psychotherapeutic models. A model is a device for generating ideas, for guiding conceptualization, and therefore, generating explanation (Reed, 1984). In particular, psychotherapeutic models aid in scientific understanding of human response and guide therapeutic methods.

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Chapter 8 is reproduced by permission of Barcelona Publishers. Permission documentation is on file.


Barcelona Publishers

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Gilsum, NH