The Experiences of Patients in the Synchrony Group Music Therapy Trial for Long-term Depression


The Arts in Psychotherapy




Music therapy may be particularly well placed to address features of depression. The Synchrony study used group songwriting in a feasibility trial of group music therapy for long-term depression. The current study explored the lived experiences of the participants in these groups. Ten individuals participated in semi-structured interviews. These were analysed by a music therapist, research psychologist and lived experience researcher, using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Three superordinate themes were identified: ‘the group as a happy and safe place’, ‘music stimulates new feelings and songwriting aids expression into words’ and ‘uncertainty, unmet needs and the ending were challenging’. Findings underscore the importance of early group cohesion and the role of music and song-writing in promoting enjoyment, exploration and a sense of achievement. Group setup requires careful consideration of expectation setting, levels of musicianship and readiness for songwriting and preparation for ending, so as not to reinforce hopelessness, disappointment and loss. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Depression; Interviews; Music Therapy; Self-Concept; Songwriting

Indexed Terms

Songwriting; Groups; Community; Mental health; Depression; Experiences (Events); Long Term Care; Synchrony; Experimental Psychologists; Group Psychotherapy

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type