Jacklyn P. Neforos, Joy M. Willenbrink



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The evolution of group music therapy with at-risk adolescent young men will be described using Yalom's Stages of Group Development and Therapeutic Factors in the form of a group case study (Yalom, 2005). The young men participating in music therapy were residents of a home for young men ages 14-19 with behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues. Following an agreement with the University of Dayton, a music therapy practicum site was established, and music therapy groups were held twice weekly.A key influence throughout treatment was the role of group dynamics as a healing force. The music therapists recognized the presence of Yalom's Therapeutic Factors of group psychotherapy as meaningful analytical tools. These factors, recurrent during treatment, included universality, instillation of hope, cohesiveness, and catharsis, among others. Goals included development of self-efficacy, increased sense of hope, and increased self awareness and expression. Client input was utilized in establishing goals and structuring session experiences. These experiences included song composition, instrumental improvisation, instrumental re-creation, song communication, and song discussion (Bruscia, 1998).Clinical manifestations of Yalom's Therapeutic Factors will be shared through narrative and anecdotal examples. Session vignettes will further illustrate the treatment process, changing group dynamics, and the group reactions to various treatment methods and techniques. Professional growth and development of student music therapists will be described as a component of the treatment process. The intent of this case study is to provide a meaningful example of various treatment approaches and perspectives when working with young men from compromised backgrounds with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues, as well as encourage music therapy as a treatment modality in similar settings.Bruscia, K. E. (1998). Defining Music Therapy: 2nd Edition. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.Yalom, I. D. (2005). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy: 5th Edition. New York: Basic Books.

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Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Susan C. Gardstrom

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster

Music Therapy and Evolving Sense of Hope Among At-Risk Adolescent Boys: A Qualitative Group Case Study Based on Yalom's Principles of Group Psychotherapy