Developing a Music Therapy Intervention from a Theoretical Framework

Katherine Myers-Coffman, MS, MT-BC

A theoretical framework often guides an established music therapy intervention in clinical practice and research; however, little is discussed on how to develop a music therapy intervention from a theoretical framework. Learn about one student-researcher’s process of developing a resilience songwriting program from a theoretical framework used in psychology for adolescent bereavement. Choosing a suitable framework based on theoretical and philosophical perspectives, building a theory-driven songwriting program from the framework, and protocol development will be discussed.

A theoretical framework often guides an established music therapy intervention in clinical practice and research; however, little is discussed on how to develop a music therapy intervention from a theoretical framework. This presentation will discuss one student-researcher’s journey of developing a resilience songwriting program from a theoretical framework used in psychology for adolescent bereavement. First, the identification of the research gap will be discussed. Then, the presenter will explain how theoretical and philosophical perspectives guided decisions for finding a suitable adolescent bereavement theoretical framework. A number of conceptual mapping draft processes and iterations that helped concretize how best to adapt the framework to a songwriting intervention will be explored followed by steps outlining protocol development. Experiences throughout this process as well as future steps in evaluating the program and respective model through preliminary research testing will be discussed. Opportunities for questions and discussion will be provided at the end.

  1. Participants will be able to identify one strategy to search for theoretical models appropriate to one’s clinical context.
  2. Participants will be able to identify two strategies for developing a music therapy intervention from a theoretical framework.
  3. Participants will learn how to work with their own biases, assumptions, and theoretical and philosophical lenses in the intervention building process.

Kate Myers-Coffman, a PhD candidate at Drexel University, works in trauma and grief care with youth and refugees as well as with individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.

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