Many music therapists work in medical, hospice, and palliative care settings. Within these setting some clinicians may also work in bereavement, helping families and loved ones with grief processes. A new meta-analysis investigated treatment methods for helping children and adolescents who are in bereaved and indicated music therapy as a promising treatment method.
Rosner et al. (2010) completed a meta-analysis of treatment interventions for bereaved children and adolescents. This involved a search of databases using keywords such as grief and bereavement. They looked at 15 studies that had control groups and 12 studies without control groups. The authors admit that evaluation of treatment for this population is still young, but they found some interesting results regarding length of treatment and the amount of symptoms and improvements. The exciting news for music therapy is that in this meta-analysis they identified two areas of treatment that were promising: music therapy and trauma/grief-focused school based brief psychotherapy.
The authors state that the effects of only a few treatment methods could be analyzed due to very diverse approaches, but of these music therapy studies had the highest single study effect sizes. Music therapy articles included in this meta-analysis were Dalton & Krout (2005) and Hilliard (2001).
I am not an expert on meta-analyses and therefore can’t say much about how they completed the analysis (I hope this will change as I explore research methods). The authors are very thorough in explaining how they completed the study and computed the results that they found. What is exciting is that this is a study completed by Psychologists who found music therapy to be a promising method of treatment for this population. It is wonderful and affirming to see other professions finding music therapy articles, recognizing their value, and then reporting this to their colleagues!
Rosner, R. , Kruse, J. and Hagl, M. (2010) A meta-analysis of interventions for bereaved children and adolescents, Death Studies, 34(2), 99 — 136. See Abstract.
Dalton, T. A., & Krout, R. E. (2005). Development of the Grief Process Scale through music therapy song-writing with bereaved adolescents. Arts in Psychotherapy, 32, 131–143. See Abstract
Hilliard, R. E. (2001). The effects of music therapy-based bereavement groups on mood and behavior of grieving children: A pilot study. Journal of Music Therapy, 38, 291–306. PMID: 11796079