Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Mitchell Kossak

Second Advisor

Michele Forinash

Third Advisor

Kana Okazaki-Sakaue


The purpose of this study was to explore therapists’ and patients’ experiences in order to draw a composite picture of single-session improvisational group music therapy. This phenomenological study included ten therapist participants and nine patient participants. Each participant engaged with a single-session group musical improvisation and verbal discussion in a pre-designed protocol. The data analysis was conducted in three stages. In the first analysis stage, participants’ verbal feedback and discussion were analyzed using Moustakas’s (1994) method, yielding key words with quotations. In the second stage, Moustakas’s (1994) method of analysis was also adapted for an analysis of the music, yielding key words with music excerpts of significant moments. In the third stage, the researcher conducted a composite review of keywords and significant quotations as well as significant musical moments. The data were comprehensively reviewed, reflected on, clustered, and thematized (Moustakas, 1994), yielding the following five themes: (a) the therapist’s experience of work in inpatient psychiatric care, (b) the patient’s experience of hospitalization in inpatient psychiatry, (c) participants’ experiences of group musical improvisation in single session, (d) participants’ challenges in single-session improvisation, and (e) therapeutic components in single-session group improvisational music therapy. This study found that, given the reality of short stays and rapid turnover in this setting, unplanned single-session groups occur. This study demonstrated how, through this single-session group musical improvisation, participants in this setting were able to find the sense of safety and structure they needed to amplify and process their emotions, thoughts, and issues. Nonetheless, this study also noted the difficulties and challenges that participants experienced with this treatment modality, meaning that a range of creative arts therapies or conventional verbal interventions ought to be integrally and comprehensively considered.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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