Creativity, Identity and Healing: Participants' Accounts of Music Therapy in Cancer Care


Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine




This article reports on findings from a study of the accounts of people participating in music therapy as part of a programme of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in supportive cancer care. The article outlines the perceived effects of music therapy, which shares many characteristics with CAM therapies as well as offering a distinct contribution as a creative therapy. Hence in this article we draw on theories and writings from the sociology of CAM as well as those relating to music, healing and aesthetics in order to explore participants' accounts. The importance of identity and the role of creativity in processes of individuation are key themes emerging from the analysis. While music and creativity are often seen uncritically as resources for health and well-being, we draw attention to the challenges and complexity of diverse responses to music, framed by personal biographies that are in turn often situated within socially constructed notions of aesthetics. We argue that in research on music therapy, as well as other CAM therapies, issues of identity can be key to an understanding of questions of therapeutic impact. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Cancer; Music Therapy; Music and Healing; Self-Concept

Indexed Terms

creativity; identity; healing; supportive cancer care; complementary and alternative medicine; health; well being; Anecdotes as Topic; Cancer Care Facilities; Choice Behavior; Great Britain; Group Processes; Interviews as Topic; Narration; Neoplasms; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Patient Satisfaction; Psychotherapy, Group; Qualitative Research; Alternative Medicine

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers

Document Type