Transforming Identity Through Participation in Music and Theatre: Exploring Narratives of People With Mental Health Problems


International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being




Background: There is a growing understanding that mental health problems and prolonged contact with mental healthcare systems can affect people’s identities. Working with identity is an important element in mental health recovery. Purpose: In this article, we explore the significance of participation in a music and theatre workshop in terms of people's experiences of identity. Design and methods: This is a qualitative study based on a hermeneutical phenomenological epistemology. Data were collected from in-depth interviews with 11 participants at a music and theater workshop, analysed through a narrative analysis and presented in an ideographical 'long' narrative form. The music and theater workshop is not overtly therapeutic although the activity takes place in a Norwegian mental health hospital for adults living with long-term mental health problems. Results: We identified three crosscutting themes: (1) becoming a whole person, (2) being allowed to hold multiple identities and (3) exploring diverse perspectives. Conclusion: Findings show that participation in the music and theatre workshop transformed the participants’ experiences of identity on two levels: individually and collectively. The participants developed a broader picture of themselves through their creative work with others. When they developed new identities, the narratives of themselves expanded. [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 12(1) of International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being (see record [rid]2019-25113-003[/rid]). The original article was erroneously published in the issue 12(S2) of International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health andWell-being. The article has been republished in issue 12(1).] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved

Music and Health Institute Terms

Interviews; Mental Health; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Receptive Music Methods; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Arts; identity; identities; mental health; narrative; recovery; theatre; workshop; Chronic Disease; Drama; Hospitals, Psychiatric; Mental Disorders; Narration; Norway; Qualitative Research; Self Concept; Sensory Art Therapies; Narratives; Health Care Psychology

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type