Effects of Group Songwriting on Motivation and Readiness for Treatment on Patients in Detoxification: A Randomized Wait-list Effectiveness Study


Journal of Music Therapy




BACKGROUND: Songwriting is a commonly utilized music therapy technique for clients in substance abuse rehabilitation. For these patients, motivation and readiness for treatment remain two key treatment areas. Moreover, there is a lack of randomized and controlled music therapy studies systematically investigating how group songwrit-ing can affect patients on a detoxification unit. OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to measure the effects of a single group songwriting session on motivation and readiness for treatment and determine emerging themes from patient-composed songs with patients on a detoxification unit. METHODS: Participants (N = 99) were randomized to experimental (posttest only) or wait-list control (pretest only) conditions to provide treatment to all participants in an inclusive single-session design. RESULTS: There were significant between-group differences in motivation and readiness for treatment, with experimental participants having higher means than control participants. Code categorizations from patients' composed song lyrics concerned "action," "emotions and feelings," "change," "reflection," "admission," and "responsibility." CONCLUSION: From the results of this study, it seems that a single group songwriting session can be an effective intervention concerning motivation and readiness for treatment in patients on a detoxification unit. Implications for clinical practice, suggestions for future research, and limitations are provided.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Detox Setting; Engagement Level; Mood Scales; Music Medicine; Self-Report Measures; Songwriting; Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction; Success of Procedure; Willingness to Undergo Procedure

Indexed Terms

Alcoholism; Emotions; Mental Health Services; Motivation; Pilot Projects; Research Design; Substance-Related Disorders; Waiting Lists

Study Type

Case-Control Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type


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