Music therapy in the treatment of complex trauma in adult mental health


Trauma-informed music therapy: Theory and practice.



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This chapter focuses on how to create a music therapy trauma group and how to use music as a trauma-informed treatment. With the ability to support the creation of community, with the structures inherent within songs, in the flexibility of dynamics to meet each client where they are, and the ability to soothe with a familiar song, it might be possible to create a safe container in a Music-Verbal Therapy Trauma group. The primary focus of the group was music—music provides us with so many opportunities for healing if we know how to use them well. Safety can be created in a trauma-informed group in many ways. There are two models one can use for trauma-informed music therapy groups in a psychiatric setting: working with symptoms and topics, and improvisation. Both of them incorporate a check-in song and the structure of beginning, middle, and closure. Music is a powerful medium in trauma-informed treatment in an inpatient psychiatric unit for adults with complex trauma. Music can return again and again to a place of commonality and provide grounding amid chaotic feelings and thoughts. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Mental Health; Trauma; Mental Health Setting; Music Therapy; Improvsiation

Indexed Terms

Mental Health; adult mental health; complex trauma; Complex Trauma; improvisation; inpatient psychiatric unit; Psychiatric Units; Trauma-Informed Care; trauma-informed music therapy groups; trauma-informed treatment

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers


Music Therapy | Psychiatric and Mental Health

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