Closing Time: Clients' Shared Experiences of Termination of a Music Therapy Group in Community Mental Health

Lauren Hudgins

Abstract

Termination is the word that is typically used when there is a permanent or temporary ending in psychotherapy intervention. Although termination has gained recognition as a phase of therapy in its own right, the literature on this topic is limited. Furthermore, there are unique aspects of termination that are specific to music therapy clinical contexts that need to be explored. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the shared lived experiences of the termination process of a limited-term music therapy group for adults in a community mental health setting. Three of four research participants completed a group music therapy process that took place over a 9-month period. The last music therapy session as well as individual interviews were audio-recorded and analyzed to determine common themes that existed among participants' lived experiences of a termination process. Results revealed four overarching theme categories: (a) recognition of achievements, (b) recognition of challenges, (c) negative feelings experienced in response to termination, and (d) ways of coping with termination. Implications for music therapy practice, research, and education are presented. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]