Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Rebecca Zarate


Self-awareness is considered a necessary competency and professional responsibility for graduate music therapy students to develop during their master’s training. However, few concretized methods have been established to support students in growing this skill. Existing research examining songwriting’s impact on music therapy students provides preliminary evidence that it can effectively foster self-awareness and facilitate personal growth, professional identity development, and processing of clinical experiences (Baker & Krout, 2012, 2011; Viega & Baker, 2019). This thesis continues to explore the connection between songwriting and self-awareness by investigating a student-created method designed for this research by the researcher-participant—a 25-year-old, white, female graduate music therapy student interning at a children’s hospital. The method was researched using Sultan’s (2020) humanistic heuristic inquiry design to contribute a direct student account to the current literature. The method yielded one song and two written reflections which were analyzed through musical microanalysis and inductive analysis. This revealed seven themes which were organized under two categories—Song as a Self-Created Container and Areas of Increased Self-Awareness. Results indicate that songwriting was effective in fostering several aspects the researcher-participant’s self-awareness. It was found that the method supported meaningful engagement with self-awareness by providing a multimodal iterative process. Findings imply that this method could be useful for students developing their self-awareness and supervisors supporting supervisees in that process. More research is needed to determine the generalizability of these results. Suggestions to improve the method for future use and research are provided.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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