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The effect of music therapy sessions on the interactions between children and their parents and how to measure it, with reference to attachment theory

Journal title
Psychiatria Danubina
Publication year
Wang, S.; Oldfield, A.
Suppl 7

Music therapy and attachment is an expanding field and the number of studies addressing the theoretical work is slowly growing. There are both qualitative and quantitative approaches to studying the effect of regular music therapy sessions on parent-child interactions and these cover a range of patient populations including: children at risk of neglect, parents with a trauma history, children coping with bereavement and a large number addressing the disability population, including autism spectrum disorder. These studies suggest that music therapy benefits the parent-child relationship through the improvement communication, especially non-verbal communication, and so increased the feeling of closeness and understanding. Following a review of the available literature, a pilot study is described using transcripts of video recordings of music therapy sessions, and subsequent colour coding and conversion of the data into pie charts provides a potential method of analysis that produces an "interaction profile" of each parent-child dyad. Preliminary results of this method of analysis suggest that music therapy sessions might be able to improve interactions through therapists addressing the power dynamics within a relationship. The new method developed in this pilot study to visualise and study the parent-child relationship in music therapy sessions was effective and could be used and developed by music therapy researchers in the future.

Research abstracts