Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Tim Reagan


The field of music therapy is a growing community and the research reflects that. However, when looking at some of the different facets of music therapy – like songwriting and groups – it is discovered that there needs to be more research there. When looking at music therapy and songwriting groups in particular, there is also the need for studies on how songwriting interventions impact a group over the course of a longer time period. As a result, this capstone thesis explored the effects of group songwriting on adults with mental illness and trauma in a day treatment setting over a time period of six weeks. On any given day, there were between five and thirteen attendees and the average age was 45. All group members were encouraged to go to every group, but it was not mandatory. The group members wrote a song with the structure of a song collage utilizing pre-composed lyrics and piecing them together before adding music. Through implementation and observation of group dynamics, lyrical content, and individual reflections, it was determined that the process of disconnection and reconnection in a group are vital to moving forward in the therapy process. It was also found that groups are fluid and adapt as members come and go, but if a group is solid at its core, its message will remain unchanged.

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