The Effect of Single-session Psychoeducational Music Therapy on Verbalizations and Perceptions in Psychiatric Patients

M. J. Silverman


The purpose of this study was to compare group-based psychoeducational music therapy to psychoeducation in measures of satisfaction with life, knowledge of illness, treatment perceptions, and response frequency and type in acute psychiatric inpatients during a randomized and controlled clinical trial. Participants (N=105) took part in a scripted single session controlled by a treatment manual and facilitated by a Board-Certified Music Therapist. No significant differences were found between groups in measures of helpfulness, enjoyment, satisfaction with life, or psychoeducational knowledge. However, although not significant, the music therapy group tended to have slightly higher mean scores in all aforementioned variables, suggesting music therapy can be as effective as psychoeducation in these measures. There were no significant differences between groups for the number of therapist questions and validations as measured by a trained behavioral observer, although during the music therapy condition the therapist was able to ask a mean of almost 11 additional questions than during the psychoeducational control condition. Although not significant, there were almost 20 more participant mean verbalizations per session during the music therapy conditions. Additionally, many of these verbalizations were categorized as self and cognitive insight statements, indicating participants in the music therapy condition were talking more about themselves and their unique situations. Congruent with this finding, during the music therapy condition, the ratios of participant self statements to therapist questions and participant cognitive insights to therapist questions were higher than in the control condition. There was a significant correlation between participant total verbal participation and perception of helpfulness, enjoyment, and comfort for the control condition. This correlation was not significant for the experimental condition, indicating that the music therapy group did not have to verbally participate to perceive the session as helpful, enjoyable, and comfortable. Implications for psychoeducational music therapy and suggestions for future research are provided.