The Effects of Music Therapy on Death, Loss and Grief in Adolescents

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Wong, Allison
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The development of music therapy in psychotherapy is still fairly new, but is believed to be an effective form of treatment as music has strong healing components (Sekeles, 2007). Music is used as a form of expression whether it is expressed through listening, song writing, singing, or playing an instrument. Music can meet the multidimensional needs of individuals because it is relatable, and can evoke deep emotions. The technical components of music, such as the harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics, can have an effect on how people grieve. Each person connects to music differently, as it is extremely individualized and personal. In order to have a clear understanding of how music effectively heals those from emotional suffering, the development of the relationship between music and grief needs to be addressed. McFerran (2011) is one of the main researchers that demonstrate the ways in which individuals (particularly adolescents) apply music to manage distress, grief, loss, and connect individuals to their loved ones. My own personal narrative explores how music can play many different roles during our grieving process. When bringing this research together, it becomes clear as to how the effects of music therapy should not be limited to the traditional counselling setting, but may be impactful in larger communities to develop cultural awareness and lead to acts of social change.
music therapy , psychotherapy , grieve , adolescents , cultural awareness , social change