Music Therapy and Dementia; the value of musical improvisation for the development of a therapeutic relationship in music therapy with people suffering from dementia.

  • Coomans, Anke (Projektdeltager)



PhD Study

People in late stage dementia often show signs of anxiety and distress. Due
to cognitive impairments they lack the ability to express their emotions and
needs in a way that is understandable for their family and/or caregivers. The
aim of this study is to explore how musical improvisation in music therapy with
this population can lead to occurrences of essential moments of meeting on a
non-verbal, musical level, where cognitive restraints seem to have less effect
on normal human encounter.
In a multiple case study (n=4), data consisted of written clinical notes of
the music therapist and video-recordings of individual music therapy sessions.
Each case study comprised an in-depth analysis that led to a selection of
essential moments of meeting between the patient and therapist. The selection
as well as the analysis happened by means of a research intervision group and
was based on an interpretive phenomenological approach.

Hypothesis is that musical improvisation with persons in severe stages of
dementia may lead to ‘moments of resonance’. The study provides relevant
insights into musical improvisation and its elements, clinical music
therapeutic skills, and meaningful interactions through music in late stage

Effektiv start/slut dato01/07/2009 → …


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