Music Therapy as Grief Therapy for Adults With Mental Illness and Complicated Grief: A Pilot Study


Y. A. Iliya


Death Studies




This randomized, controlled, mixed-methods pilot study examined the effectiveness and experiences of grief-specific music therapy, in addition to standard care, with adults (N=10) who have complicated grief (CG) and mental illness, as compared to standard care alone. The study tested Worden's (2009) theories of grief therapy as well as a new grief-specific music therapy intervention, based on Shear, Frank, Houck, and Reynolds' (2005) imaginal dialogue intervention and Austin's (2008) method of vocal psychotherapy. Results demonstrated that participants in the experimental group had a greater decrease of grief symptoms, as measured by the ICG-R, as compared with the control group.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Emotional Regulation; Mental Health; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening; Recreative Music Methods; Sadness; Singing a Song

Indexed Terms

Adaptation, Psychological; Combined Modality Therapy; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Grief; Imagination; Mental Disorders; Psychotherapy; Psychotropic Drugs; Singing; Stress

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type