Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Michelle Napoli


In this capstone thesis, songwriting is examined through a critical, humanistic lens to determine whether or not it can be used as a legitimate method of self-care to prevent burnout and minimize perceived symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression in mental health professionals. Therapeutic songwriting is an intervention grounded in analytical theory that aims to access the unconscious mind and uncover deep emotions, which is the foundation of this study. Rather than focusing on the effects songwriting has on clients, the researcher was interested in the benefits of songwriting for individuals working in the field of mental health. This project was a self-study that explored the therapeutic benefits of songwriting within the home setting of a white, American, female-identifying cisgender individual, 25 years of age. Through qualitative, arts-based research, data was primarily collected in the form of journaling, video and audio recordings, lyric and music analysis, and intrinsic observation. Results showed a significant decrease in perceived symptoms of anxiety, includingshortness of breath and nervous sweating, as well as a significant decrease in perceived symptoms of burnout, including feelings of depersonalization and emptiness.Overall, negative physiological and psychological symptoms decreased following this songwriting intervention, and there was an increased satisfaction with quality of life. This method of self-care could be beneficial to mental health professionals who are prone to burnout and vicarious traumatization, and it could also be useful for anyone in search of a new self-care technique.

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




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