Evaluating Music Therapy in Adult Mental Health Services: Tuning Into Service User Perspectives


Nordic Journal of Music Therapy




Many statutory mental health services worldwide have adopted a recovery-oriented rhetoric. These acknowledge that those who use mental health services have acquired valuable expertise through their contact with services and that such expertise should be used to inform health provision. The focus of this study was to tune into the perspectives of adult service users who have attended music therapy in statutory mental health services in Ireland. This aimed to furnish holistic descriptions of practice so as to augment existing understanding of what may be afforded to those who attend music therapy sessions. Six service users participated in semi-structured interviews in which they described their lived experience of attending music therapy sessions. Interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Six common themes were found across each of the six participant cases. These included 'Music therapy offers an opportunity to be meaningfully occupied', 'Involvement in music therapy can pose challenges', 'Music therapy offers an agreeable process', 'Group music therapy fosters reciprocity', 'Music therapy is flexible and adaptable' and 'Lack of musical instruction can cause frustration'. Findings relating to meaningful occupation, challenge, reciprocity and frustration broaden understanding of what music therapy can offer to service users in mental health provision. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Interviews; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Patient Experience; Patient Satisfaction

Indexed Terms

phenomenological analysis; mental health; recovery; service user perspectives; Recovery (Disorders); Quality of Services

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type