CLINICAL DECISIONS OF MUSIC THERAPISTS IN THE TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH EATING DISORDERS
University of Kansas
Music Education & Music Therapy
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The purpose of this study was to determine common treatment goals and subsequent music-based interventions used by music therapists who work/worked with patients with eating disorders and to begin gathering information on the intentional adaptation of the elements of music commonly used to increase success of these treatment outcomes. Further, the intent of this survey was to provide a synthesis and overview of current clinical practice and wisdom useful to students and clinical music therapists interested in working with this population or those interested in conducting intervention-based research to determine the impact of music-based interventions on the needs of individuals with eating disorders. Emails were obtained from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) for music therapists working in private practice, general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, and eating disorder recovery centers. Results of the survey found that majority of participants did not work full time with people with eating disorders and indicated that 1-5% of their caseload was dedicated to people with eating disorders. The top two goal areas and associated interventions were emotional expression using improvisational instrument play and songwriting interventions and decreasing anxiety using relaxation/imagery interventions. The top chosen musical elements to adapt were lyrics and rhythm adapted in the context of improving verbal and non-verbal expression. Further findings and implications are discussed.
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