The Experiences of Music Therapists Working, on a Short-Term Basis, with Groups of Adolescents in a Mental Health Context
The goal of this phenomenological study was to document the practice of music therapy in adolescent mental health, more specifically through brief group therapy sessions involving this age group. Despite proven needs in this population and the promising effects of music therapy as confirmed by mental health research, the Canadian literature contains scant documentation about this specific context. This study, in the form of semi-structured interviews, sought to learn about the professional experience of three Canadian music therapists who work primarily with adolescents who have mental health issues. An analysis of their responses revealed three main themes: (a) the primary goals in this type of context, (b) the program structures generally established, and (c) the professional skills required. While specific approaches are required for groups of adolescents who present with psychiatric and psychosocial problems, each music therapist uses their own specific work methods, which can therefore vary greatly from one practitioner to the next. The study highlights, in particular, the importance of community music therapy, as well as the need to value individuality—each person’s unique story—in the therapeutic process.