Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Ara Parker


This thesis explored the integration of two theories used in music therapy. A literature review of vocal psychotherapy (VPT) and neurologic music therapy (NMT) was conducted. In the literature reviewed, neither theory alone meets the common needs, I have observed, of children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a known history of, or current trauma experience. The most significant insight gained from the literature reviewed are the different client needs that each theory approaches. Neurologic music therapy (NMT) techniques are implemented to heal the diseased or injured brain. Vocal psychotherapy intervention can heal the injured soul. The client with ASD and a history or ongoing trauma experience has an injured brain and an injured soul. An integrated method was explored in an alternative, therapeutic elementary and middle school setting, with children ages seven years old to 13 years old. Two vignettes are discussed to describe how the application of the integrated theories as a method of music therapy met the needs of two clients with ASD and trauma experiences. This integrated treatment method approached client goals for emotional and physical regulation, cognitive training, sensory integration, auditory perception, expressive and receptive communication. There is a need for more exploration of this method of music therapy to establish other combinations of VPT and NMT techniques for clients diagnosed with ASD and trauma experience. Further development and exploration of this method is recommended with the same population and other client populations related to the holistic approach.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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