The Use of Improvisational Music Therapy Essay

The Use of Improvisational Music Therapy Essay

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Giving Trauma a Voice,” as authored by Dorit Amir and published in Music Therapy Perspectives, examines one way that music therapy can achieve positive change for adult victims of child sexual abuse through the use of improvisation. It introduces some of the psychological aspects of child abuse before detailing a case study centred around a 32-year-old woman over the course of two years. The woman came to therapy in search of a solution for her social and emotional problems. The sessions were recorded by her consent and after some time it was revealed that she had been sexually abused by her father at a young age, though she previously had no memory of this. The article discusses her initial fearfulness, her traumatic epiphany, and her eventual freedom through the use of improvisational music therapy.

Dorit Amir’s article is important to music therapy as a profession for a number of reasons. Its case study is encouraging and seems to contribute to a growing collection of works in support of music therapy. The case of ‘Lisy’ seems to indicate usefulness in some cases of improvisational music therapy for adult victims of child abuse. Examples like this help to offer legitimacy to music therapy, which is crucial to the development and maintenance of the profession as a whole. Furthermore, the article is valuable in that it discusses the importance of trust between therapists and clients in cases such as the one described. Amir was unable to progress through therapy with ‘Lisy’ until the client had become more comfortable with her. This likely carries a special importance in clients with deeply emotional, deeply personal issues—especially those that deal with elements of control—but it can be applied through all forms of therapy an...


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...client. I also found the improvisational techniques extremely interesting, both in terms of the general structure of the therapeutic process as a whole and in terms of the actual techniques used. The action of having the client read while improvising is something I had never imagined, but it seems as though it could be extremely useful in helping the client improvise without thinking too hard about “sounding good.” Through both my deeper understanding of therapeutic trust and the applicable improvisation techniques I feel that this article has helped me to become a stronger and more thoughtful future music therapist.




Works Cited

Amir, D. (2004). Giving trauma a voice: the role of improvisational music therapy in
exposing, dealing with and healing a traumatic experience of sexual abuse. Music Therapy Perspectives, 22(2), 96-103. doi: 10.1093/mtp/22.2.96

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