Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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Brief group music therapy for acquired brain injury: cognition and emotional needs

posted on 2023-08-30, 13:57 authored by Jonathan W. Pool
Injuries to the brain are the leading cause of permanent disability and death. Survivors of acquired brain injury (ABI) experience cognitive impairments and emotional problems. These often persist into community rehabilitation and are among the most significant needs for those in chronic stages of rehabilitation. There is a dearth of research providing evidence of music therapy addressing cognitive deficits and emotional needs in a holistic approach. This research answers the question how can brief group music therapy address cognitive functional gains and emotional needs of people with acquired brain injury. A mixed methods design was used to investigate the effect of 16 sessions of weekly group music therapy on attention and memory impairments, and emotional needs of ten ABI survivors in community rehabilitation. Quantitative data were collected to determine the effect of treatment on attention and memory functioning, mood state, and the satisfaction of emotional needs. Qualitative data were collected to reveal survivors’ experiences of brain injury and brief group music therapy. Analysis of the data showed that the intervention improved sustained attention (p<.05, r=.80) and immediate memory recall (p>.05, r=.46), and that the effect of treatment increased with dosage. Overall, the intervention was more effective than standard care, and cognitive functional gains continued after treatment for some ABI survivors. The intervention addressed emotional needs of feeling confident (p<.05, d=.88), feeling part of a group (p<.05, d=.74), feeling productive/useful (p<.05, d=.90), feeling supportive (p<.05, d=.75), feeling valued (p<.05, d=.74), and enjoyment (p<.05, d=.34). Improvements in these domains were observed in the immediate term and over the course of therapy. Music therapy enabled emotional adjustment through the development of selfawareness and insight. This study offers a music therapy method to deliver a holistic approach in rehabilitation. It demonstrates that music therapy can provide a cost effective, holistic treatment for ABI survivors.



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