Exploring the Role and Impact of Group Songwriting With Multiple Stakeholders in Recovery-oriented Mental Health Services


Nordic Journal of Music Therapy




Introduction: At the heart of successful operational transformation to recovery-oriented mental health services is the establishment of meaningful, respectful and equitable relationships between multiple “stakeholders” including service users, providers and carers. Group songwriting has a possible role to play in fostering such relationships as it offers opportunities to practice core life skills, adopt new roles, and, encourages respect for the perspectives of others. Method: This study explored the potential role and impact of group songwriting in recovery-oriented mental health services. A total of eight service users and one staff member took part in three song-writing focus groups led by a qualified music therapist. Afterwards, semi-structured individual interviews were carried out to explore participants’ personal experiences of focus group participation. Interview transcripts were analysed using Thematic Content Analysis. Results: Three original songs were composed in three focus groups. The lyrics reflected themes including (a) mental health service growth, (b) empowerment and freedom during music engagement and (c) empathy for others. Analysis of nine interviews revealed four themes including: “Group songwriting breaks down barriers in ways that help to promote equality,” “Group songwriting offered new perspectives,” “Group songwriting can expose perceived vulnerabilities” and, “Group songwriting may be approached with knowledge of music’s capacity to promote well-being.” Discussion: Findings suggest that group songwriting offers stakeholders a meaningful, reciprocal and equitable space that can foster the concept of co-production that is foundational to effective recovery-oriented working in mental health.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Interviews; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Patient Experience; Songwriting; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Songwriting; mental health recovery; co-production; arts-based research; Mental health; Focus groups; Health services; Recovery (Medical)

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type