A Closer Exploration of Therapeutic Relationship Through a Musical Medium: An Arts-based Research Study


Qualitative Inquiries in Music Therapy








Arts-based research is emerging and becoming prominent in music therapy. The intention of this arts-based research study was to explore, experience, and gain awareness of the therapeutic relationship of a client and therapist engaged in music therapy through client and therapist journals. This study examined several elements of artistic expression of music therapy, such as the aesthetic components of verbal journaling and musical portraits. The journals were mixed to create songs that illuminated the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. The relationship between words and music were analyzed aesthetically to explore the congruence and conflict between the harmony and the lyrics of these song creations. As a result, two songs emerged: There's a Difference and Not by Yourself. Detailed musical and lyrical analyses are included to illustrate both client and therapist process and reflection of improvisational music therapy sessions. Gaining a deeper understanding of client experiences in music therapy can offer a need for future arts-based research studies wherein music is the artistic medium.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Improvisation; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Music Therapy; Song Communication; Song Improvisation; Songwriting

Indexed Terms

Psychotherapy; Therapists; Journals; Studies; Dissertations & theses; Researchers; Art; Mental health; Research & development; Hip hop music; Values; New York; Canada

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods


Music Therapy

Document Type