Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies


This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to investigate the lived experiences of clients and music therapists working with an integrated arts approach in music therapy. Seventeen client participants (aged 11-19 years old) underwent five consecutive therapy sessions with one of three qualified music therapists. The guiding questions pertained to the participants’ experience of having various arts materials in addition to the standard musical instruments available during the music therapy sessions. The results showed a positive response from the clients’ perspectives, and a negative response from the therapists. The clients unanimously preferred having choice in the sessions. The therapists, however, noted that once the clients chose their preferred arts modality, they remained loyal to this mode and did not deviate from using it. When the client utilized music in the session, the music therapists felt confident. When the client chose a non-music modality, the music therapists felt insecure about their professional abilities and competencies. The study results underscored a need for further dialogue within the expressive therapies around the integrative approach, and specific integrated arts training. The study also raised ethical and professional questions regarding a singular arts therapist using other arts modalities without formal training and or qualification. The study also reflected the experiences of the clients and whether offering an array of arts modes was seen as beneficial to their therapy. The study provided the grounding for further investigations into the integrated arts approach, specifically, the relationship between music and the other arts. In addition, the study reiterated the need for training in the practical use of working with specific arts forms and the therapists’ understanding why a particular arts mode would be an appropriate intervention, particularly if they felt that music, in this case, was not engaging the client.

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