From Historic to Contemporary: Nordoff-robbins Music Therapy in Collaborative Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation

Nina Guerrero
Alan Turry
Daniel Geller
Preeti Raghavan


This article examines Nordoff-Robbins music therapy within interdisciplinary rehabilitation treatment, including both a historic case and a contemporary case study. We discuss Carol and Give Robbins' collaboration with physical therapists in treating children with multiple disabilities at the Inala School in Sydney, Australia, and a recent stroke rehabilitation project involving collaboration between the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. In both cases, rehabilitation goals are addressed in the context of clients' overall well-being. Excerpts from Carol and Give Robbins' video-recorded sessions at Inala and their clinical observations will illustrate ways in which the creative flexibility of the Nordoff-Robbins approach can support the integration of music therapy and physical therapy. Similarly, we present qualitative observations and a video example that characterize the Nordoff-Robbins/Rusk collaborative intervention with stroke survivors. Fifteen participants, divided into five groups of three, received this integrated music therapy/occupational therapy intervention in 45-min sessions twice weekly for six weeks. Qualitative themes that emerged from detailed review of session video recordings were related to peer support; changes over time in group members' motor functioning and participation in activities; the creation of a naturalistic music-making context through group improvisation; and heightened emotional awareness and expression through musical engagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)