Musical Recovery: The Role of Group Singing in Regaining Healthy Relationships With Music to Promote Mental Health Recovery

Jennifer Bibb
Katrina Skewes McFerran


Music therapy has previously been identified as a way to foster processes of mental health recovery. However, little is known about the specific factors apparent in group singing which can promote recovery. The current project aimed to address this gap by exploring the conditional and contextual factors involved in group singing which may promote recovery for people with mental illness. Adults who were in mental health recovery were recruited from a number of different singing groups in inpatient and community mental health contexts around Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-three people participated in interviews, and a grounded theory approach was adopted for analysis. The findings of this study are presented as a grounded theory of group singing which describes how participants experienced triggering encounters with music, and used the supportive conditions of the group singing context to regain a sense of health. A new term, musical recovery, was developed which depicts a process of regaining healthy relationships with music to promote mental health recovery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)