Have you ever wondered if music therapy can help your child with behavioral difficulties? Some diagnoses (such as autism, ADHD, developmental disabilities, bipolar disorder, etc.) may come with emotional or behavioral problems that can be hard for family to deal with or manage. To date, not many large based studies address how effective music therapy can be for this population. However, Porter et al have launched a large, random control trial study “Music in mind, a randomized controlled trial of music therapy for young people with behavioural and emotional problems: study protocol.”
This study highlights an ongoing study protocol developed at the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust. This study will look at the financial benefits of music therapy, the effectiveness of improvisational music therapy for this population, and differences between reports between participating parents and children. The researchers in this study noted there was no clear evidence that music therapy is effective with children with emotional or behavioral problems, so they chose to conduct a Random Control Trial; a type of research with a control and experimental group that provides more solid evidence that a treatment is effective.
This study included 200 children with social, emotional, and/or behavioral and their parents. The control group received standard care for this population, while the experimental group received 30 minute music therapy sessions once a week for 12 weeks. These sessions included music therapy improvisation in which the music therapist and clients can explore the music and sounds as they see fit. Voice, instruments, and movement were all used within the music therapy sessions. This improvisation model involves active music making.
Research in music therapy is important for advocating for the efficacy of services and informing other professions of the value of music therapy. Random Control Trials provide the most scientific control and the most confidence in the results. For more information on how music therapy can help you and your family, continue to read information on our services or visit musictherapy.org.
By Jessica Fletcher, MM, MT-BC