Women With Addictions: Music Therapy Clinical Postures and Interventions

Maria Carlini
Jessica Josefczyk
Amy Love
Susan C. Gardstrom


Like men, women have been using alcohol and drugs since ancient times, yet we are just beginning to uncover important information about women's unique trajectory to and through addiction. Straussner and Brown (2002) write, "There is little or no denial left today: women can be and are addicts at alarming rates" (p. 34). Close to 15% of the members of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) report working with clients who have addictions (ATMA, 2011). It is likely that some of these members work with women who struggle with addictions, and it seems feasible that some would work predominantly or exclusively with women. Yet, few treatises exist to inform music therapy clinical practice with this clientele. With the present report, we hope to expand the knowledge base in this important area of clinical practice. We first present statistics and other research findings pertaining to women with addictions. Then, based on our collective experiences with women who have alcohol and drug addictions, we present suggested postures and interventions for ethical, effective, and meaningful music therapy clinical practice. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]