Lyric Analysis in Adult Mental Health Settings: An Exploratory Interpretivist Study of Music Therapists’ Clinical Decision-making Processes


The Arts in Psychotherapy




Music therapists frequently use lyric analysis interventions in adult mental health settings. As clinical decision making (CDM) represents an important process in providing effective and quality care, it is crucial to gain an understanding of music therapists’ experiences and expertise to establish best practices. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory interpretivist study was to investigate the CDM processes of music therapists using lyric analysis interventions in adult mental health settings. We conducted semi-structured interviews with four board-certified music therapists who had six to 12 years of experience in various adult mental health settings. We used an inductive approach to thematic analysis to analyze data and incorporated member checking and trustworthiness to verify and improve clarity of results. Three themes emerged as primary factors that influence the CDM processes of music therapists in mental health settings: A) Internal processes related to therapists’ experience, abilities, and approaches; B) Service user considerations and preferences; and C) Facility-based factors. The emerging themes and subthemes provide insight into the complexity of CDM in adult mental health settings and various factors music therapists consider when using lyric analysis interventions. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Interviews; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Psychotic Disorders; Receptive Music Methods; Song Lyric Discussion; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

music therapists’; clinical decision-making; mental health; lyric analysis interventions; Decision Making; Intervention; Clinical Practice; Therapists

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type