An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of an Improvisational Music Therapy Program for Cancer Patients

Maria Pothoulaki, Raymond MacDonald, Paul Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Although there are an increasing number of qualitative studies investigating the benefits of music therapy interventions in cancer care settings, few studies have adopted a phenomenological approach to explore how and why such interventions work.
OBJECTIVE:
The aim of this study was to explore the psychological processes involved in an improvisational music therapy program for cancer patients.
METHODS:
Nine individuals took part in an improvisational music therapy program and participated in semi-structured interviews. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed as a theoretical and methodological framework for the analysis of the interviews.
RESULTS:
Recurrent themes revealed a variety of social and psychological benefits related to the experience of music therapy, such as facilitating peer support and group interaction, increasing self-confidence, relaxation, the generation of positive feelings, stress relief and feelings of enhanced communication through music. There was also an emphasis upon the importance of social interaction and communication.
CONCLUSIONS:
This paper highlights a number of key benefits connected with music therapy for patients with cancer and the effectiveness of IPA in applied health psychology research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-67
JournalJournal of Music Therapy
Volume49
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • music therapy
  • therapy
  • therapy program
  • cancer
  • ipa
  • interpretative phenomenological
  • phenomenological
  • phenomenological analysy
  • interpretative
  • cancer patient
  • peer support

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