Music Therapy Treatment Considerations for Adolescents with Attachment Challenges
Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, describes how our first relationships guide much of our social and emotional development throughout life (Bretherton, 1992). When attachment challenges occur, particularly during infancy, the maturation of adolescents as they transition into adulthood is severely impacted. However, the foundation of attachment assessment and treatment are rooted in classist, patriarchal, and white supremacist systems that do not equitably serve a diverse society. With a focus on equity and accessibility in mental healthcare, this study is focused on music therapy assessment and treatment with teenage clients facing attachment challenges and the role of music as a communicative tool and symbolic object for attachment. Through an interpretivist review of attachment theory and music therapy literature, combined with an analysis of relevant music therapy case studies, I will analyze the affordances, risks, and challenges of music therapy experiences in reforming and revising internal working models of attachment (Bowlby, 1969), using a dimensional perspective described by Raby et al. (2021). Music has the potential to address, validate, and promote further inquiry of the social and emotional complexities that often result from traumatic interpersonal relationships. The added musical relationships and music inherent to music therapy may provide new avenues for growth and healing by providing additional objects or secure bases for reconstructive attachment and relationship formation. This research will provide information for current and future music therapists facilitating music therapy with adolescents to address attachment challenges.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
"Music Therapy Treatment Considerations for Adolescents with Attachment Challenges" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 2781.