Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


Emotional regulation can be difficult for adolescents with histories of complex trauma. Listening to music is a useful coping mechanism when dysregulated. However, some children with complex traumas struggle to find appropriate music for this purpose, let alone listen to it with the intention of emotional regulation. This capstone is a reflection of an individual music therapy session focused on emotional regulation. Previous research on this topic has proven the efficacy of music as a tool for emotional regulation, but none approached in the way presented here. The sessions were held in a residential school for biologically female students unable to safely live at home and attend school. Each session, the client provided songs to add to various emotion (happy, sad, frustrated, content) playlists. After processing the physical and mental effect of the song on the client, the client shared the contextual significance of the song. This approach was successful in creating an independent emotional regulation mechanism due to the structure an individual session provides. The support of both a therapeutic relationship and space, facilitated the development of a new skill, and allowed for processing of difficult feelings and experiences.

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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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