Safety, Connection, Foundation: Single-session Individual Music Therapy With Adolescents

Emily Carruthers


Single-session individual music therapy (SSIMT) is an uncommon practice in mental health settings, especially with adolescent populations. The aim of this qualitative research study was to explore this unique clinical setting and to establish a framework for one-off sessions. The study focused on the experiences of nine adolescent participants in single 45- to 50-minute individual sessions. Music therapy sessions were conducted as part of mental health treatment for adolescents admitted to hospital for short-term care. The research findings demonstrated the effectiveness of establishing a safe atmosphere, creating a secure connection, and building a foundation to reduce future emotional anxieties for the client. A clinical framework based on these concepts was developed. The outcomes of this research can provide strategies for other music therapists conducting single individual sessions with adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)