An Investigation of Pivotal Moments in Music Therapy in Adult Mental Health


The Arts in Psychotherapy




A range of studies have reported that pivotal moments can occur in music therapy sessions. Four questions formed the basis for studying the pivotal moments in music therapy: 1.What are the main characteristics of pivotal moments? 2.Are there any specific aspects that help pivotal moments to emerge? 3. How do pivotal moments affect the patient’s process in therapy and life in general? 4. What is the importance of pivotal moments for the music therapist? The study was approached through completion of an extensive literature review reviewing descriptions and reports of pivotal moments from a range of fields including music therapy. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with music therapists to provide a deeper understanding of their experience of pivotal moments, and to advance theorising about pivotal moments in music therapy. Interview data was analysed using Phenomenological Interpretative Analysis (IPA). A case study provides further support for the information gathered via the interviews and literature review. The case presents the emergence of a pivotal moment and describes its contribution within a short-term individual music therapy program with a man who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Pivotal moments are found to change the music therapy process and lead to a better understanding of the patient. The role of the therapist, the therapist’s qualities and basic features or techniques that support the emergence of pivotal moments, are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Interviews; Mental Health; Music Listening; Music Therapy; Psychotic Disorders; Receptive Music Methods; Recorded Music Listening; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Pivotal moments; Schizophrenia; Mental health; Therapists

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Systematic Review

Document Type