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Soc Work Health Care. 2004;39(3-4):361-73.

Using music as a therapy tool to motivate troubled adolescents.


Children and adolescents with emotional disorders may often be characterized by having problems in peer and adult relations and in display of inappropriate behaviours. These include suicide attempts, anger, withdrawal from family, social isolation from peers, aggression, school failure, running away, and alcohol and/or drug abuse. A lack of self-concept and self-esteem is often central to these difficulties. Traditional treatment methods with young people usually includes cognitive- behavioural approaches with psychotherapy. Unfortunately these children often lack a solid communication base, creating a block to successful treatment. In my private clinical practice, I have endeavoured to break through these communication barriers by using music as a therapy tool. This paper describes and discusses my use of music as a therapy tool with troubled adolescents. Pre- and post-testing of the effectiveness of this intervention technique by using the Psychosocial Functioning Inventory for Primary School Children (PFI-PSC) has yielded positive initial results, lending support to its continued use. Music has often been successful in helping these adolescents engage in the therapeutic process with minimised resistance as they relate to the music and the therapist becomes a safe and trusted adult. Various techniques such as song discussion, listening, writing lyrics, composing music, and performing music.

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