Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Kelvin Ramirez


This qualitative and arts-based capstone thesis discusses working with individuals with multiple disabilities, songwriting in music therapy, intersubjective communication and theory, and countertransference in music therapy, by sharing the literature and presenting a method of how a music therapist’s own clinical improvised songwriting explores countertransference in the therapeutic relationship for an individual with multiple disabilities. Music therapy is used to treat individuals with multiple disabilities. The literature demonstrates that music therapy and improvisation can support communication development in clients with multiple disabilities. However, there is little research regarding countertransference and reflections by music therapists. This thesis explored post-session improvised songwriting with a music therapist working with a non-speaking, white, adolescent male with multiple disabilities in a school setting. The aim was to demonstrate how improvised songwriting could promote understanding in music therapy sessions with an individual with multiple disabilities. The method used improvisation, improvised songwriting, and countertransference to explore the therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist. Results from the inductive analysis showed both lyrical and musical themes relating to the countertransference during the sessions. The method can be applied to music therapy work with individuals with multiple disabilities. This thesis also shares considerations for future research and demonstrates that musical reflection may help therapists better understand the therapeutic relationship with clients who cannot express their feelings themselves.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.