Music Therapists' Experiences With Adults in Pain: Implications for Clinical Practice


Melanie Kwan


Qualitative inquiries in Music Therapy.




The purposes of this study were to explore the lived experiences of music therapists with adults experiencing pain, to describe the themes that emerged from the accounts, and to connect these themes back to clinical music therapy contexts. Though many music therapists are involved in healthcare settings according to the American Music Therapy As-sociation (AMTA) Member Sourcebook, there is limited current research about music therapists' experiences when treating clients in pain. Hence, there is a need for inquiries and additional resources for clinicians to access and integrate within their practice. Three music therapists were interviewed regarding their work with clients who were in pain. The data was analyzed using modified grounded theory methodology. Six themes emerged from data analysis. The themes were trust, presence, caring, physical empathy and resonating sympathetically, empowerment, and facilitating communication or emo-tional expression. In addition, potential implications for clinical practice were drawn from five inferences within the therapists' accounts of i) experiencing the needs of per-sons experiencing pain, ii) experiencing varied roles, iii) experiencing pain and healing music, iv) experiencing client-therapist-music relationships, and v) experiencing the the-rapeutic process. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Music and Health Institute Terms

Emotional Functioning; Music Listening; Music Therapy; Music and Healing; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Receptive Music Methods; Self-Report Measures

Indexed Terms

Pain; Analysis; Psychology

Study Type

Grounded Theory Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type