Expressing Emotional Catharsis and Professional Identity Formation Through the Medium of Metal Music: Development of a Heuristic-Informed Music Therapy Method
Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Dr. Rebecca Zarate
Metal music has been a taboo music genre for years, with some claiming that listening to the music can lead its listeners towards anti-social behavior, violence, and anger. However, more research has determined that metal music is beneficial for the mental health of its fans. Metal fans have used their favorite music to cope with their angry or sad emotions, gain a better understanding of their emotions, explore their personal identity, and find a community for support and advocacy. Although research has expanded on the mental health benefits of metal music, there has been little research on the music’s effectiveness from a music therapy perspective. No clinical method has been explored to use the genre as a music therapy tool. The crux of this study was to explore the beneficial forces of metal music by using a heuristic, self-inquiry study grounded in music therapy techniques like the iso principle and vocal psychotherapy. The researcher/participant created a playlist of metal songs that progressed from depressive to energetic emotions and sang along to the playlist while journaling and consulting supervisors about emotional awareness and professional identity. Through this process, the researcher/participant found several themes that impacted his professional practice and his understanding of his own emotions. With these results, the method has shown some potential as a helpful music therapy intervention for introspection and exploring emotions. The method encourages more testing to explore its impact on other music therapists and the general population.
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Otto, Steven, "Expressing Emotional Catharsis and Professional Identity Formation Through the Medium of Metal Music: Development of a Heuristic-Informed Music Therapy Method" (2023). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 684.
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