Tim Brunson DCH

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Can music therapy engage patients in group cognitive behaviour therapy for substance abuse Tx?



Despite the availability of effective treatments for substance use disorders, engaging people in treatment remains a challenge. This clinical study describes a 7-week trial of music therapy as an adjunct to group cognitive behaviour therapy with the aim of increasing patient engagement in a private hospital open group programme. DESIGN AND METHODS: Patient attendance rates and perceptions of the music therapy were collected at the end of each music therapy session by means of an anonymous survey, and only data from each patient's first survey were used in the analysis. Twenty-four surveys were analysed, representing feedback from 10 men and 14 women, aged between 17 and 52 years. RESULTS: The average attendance rate over the 7-week trial was 75%. The results indicated that enjoyment and motivation to participate during the sessions was uniformly high (mean ratings of 4.3 and 4.0 out of 5, respectively). The majority (83%) of participants reported that they would attend another music therapy session, and almost half (46%) endorsed that '(music therapy) would help them to feel more a part of the group'. Additional analyses revealed that music therapy was able to engage patients regardless of their age group (25 years and under vs. over-25 years) or substance (alcohol only vs. other drugs). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Music therapy is a promising approach to improving engagement in substance abuse treatment groups.

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 Mar;27(2):190-6. Dingle GA, Gleadhill L, Baker FA. School of Psychology, University of Queensland and Rubicon Drug and Alcohol Program, QLD, Australia.

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