CIMTR Webinar Musical Interaction in Improvisational Integrative Music Therapy for Depression Treatment

Events — Online Webinar ZOOM
17 January 2022, 17:30

Music therapy is efficacious for the treatment of depression. Compared to other psychotherapeutic forms, it allows for the emergence of various modes of mutual interaction, thus enabling multiple channels for emotional expression and fostering therapeutic alliance. Although musical interaction patterns between client and therapist have been regarded as predictors of therapeutic outcome in depression, this has not yet been systematically investigated. We aim to address this gap by analyzing the possible linkage between musical interaction features and changes in depression score. In a clinical trial, digital piano improvisations from 58 Finnish clients and their therapists were recorded over 12 sessions of music therapy lasting 6 weeks. Subsequently, a variety of symbolic features describing pitch, rhythm, duration, and velocity were extracted from the improvisations. We observed a number of relationships between client-therapist interaction and clinical improvement. Clients with largest improvements displayed higher overall interaction, particularly more musical interaction in the middle of the therapy process than in the beginning and end. In contrast, clients with lower depression change score exhibited overall lower interaction and yielded other temporal profiles of interaction. The association between clinical improvement and an inverted U-shape curve of musical interaction is discussed in the light of process-outcome literature. 

Speaker biographies:

Jaakko Erkkilä is professor of music therapy at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, UJy, Finland. He is one of the module leaders at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Music, Mind, Body and Brain, responsible for music therapy studies. His research interests include effectiveness of music therapy based on Evidence Based Practice (EBP) on mental disorders, treatment model development, and clinical improvisation. He has acted as a PI for two RCTs on improvisational music therapy for depression based on European Union and Academy of Finland funding. Erkkilä is a qualified music therapist and psychotherapist (advanced level) and the Head of music therapy clinical training at the Eino Roiha foundation, Jyväskylä, Finland.  


Dr. Martin Hartmann is a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Music, Mind, Body and Brain (University of Jyväskylä). His research interests include music perception, music information retrieval, music and movement, and music therapy. He is currently involved in research on rhythmic, social, and collective entrainment in music-induced movement. His recently completed three-year project funded by the Academy of Finland, 'Interaction in Music Therapy for Depression', aimed to predict therapeutic outcome from interaction patterns between client and therapist. His past research includes music genre classification and perceptual and computational modelling of music segmentation. 

The Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre pictured from outside.
Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre, Young Street.

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