Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Basel Zayed


The present review of literature aims to explore the therapeutic use of heavier forms of music including heavy metal, metalcore, and hardcore punk in a music therapy context to decrease mental health symptomology. Mental health symptomology explored within this review includes anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI) among others. Most literature reviewed revealed institutional and individual stigmatization of heavy music genres; all literature reviewed served to challenge these stigmas. Even researchers who purported a negative bias towards both the general listening and playing of heavy music and the use of heavy music in clinical music therapy served to challenge stigmas against these genres with diligent research despite their stated biases. Two articles backed the use of heavy music with studies grounded in neuroscience. Many articles highlighted pioneering music therapy interventions incorporating heavy music, and others revealed potential therapeutic interventions that could utilize heavy music. These music therapy interventions would provide the best outcomes for clients who are fans of heavy music. Finally, two college professors purposefully used heavy metal music to intellectually stimulate student discussions on sociological and multicultural topics. These professors' findings served to reinforce heavy music as a powerful conversation starter and engagement, which also has implications for music therapy interventions in clinical group settings.

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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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