Patient Reflections on Individual Music Therapy for a Major Depressive Disorder or Acute Phase Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder


Journal of Music Therapy




Reflections of patients have not been studied qualitatively after a completed course of individual music therapy for a major depressive disorder (MDD) or an acute phase of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD). Our interpretivist study explored patient reflections through individual interviews with 15 hospitalized patients after a completed course of eight individual music therapy sessions that were flexibly structured in blended fashion utilizing a set of active and receptive music therapy methods. Our analyses yielded 8 themes, supported by 23 subthemes. These themes were grouped into three domains, capturing respectively participants’ praise for music therapy, the distress from which change emerged, and various perceived gains. Participants cast the perceived gains from music therapy in the wake of their distress. The domain of distress comprised two themes: distress before and during therapy, and a process of opening up and dealing with old wounds. The themes expressing their gains were: new perspectives, growing strong, emotional fulfillment, becoming socially closer and more adept, and becoming liberated and creatively inspired. These client perspectives on a completed course of music therapy augment the evidence base established in clinician terms of what matters as a potential gain from music therapy. These perspectives, furthermore, inform on the gains and the distress from which gains emerged, congruent with a strengths-oriented therapeutic pursuit in music therapy for an MDD or an acute phase of SSD. Music therapists in similar settings may draw on these perspectives in the planning and strengthening of a course of music therapy.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Depressive Disorder; Distress; Emotional Functioning; Engagement Level; Hospitalized Patients; Interviews; Mental Health; Mood Disorders; Music Therapy; Psychotic Disorders; Receptive Music Methods

Indexed Terms

qualitative research; psychosis; depression; recovery; strengths; Schizophrenia; Mental depression; Recovery (Medical)

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type