Learning to be Mindful: An Exploratory Study into the Perceived Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training for a Music Therapy Student
Mindfulness training has become very popular in recent years and has proven successful for reducing anxiety and depression and enhancing coping skills (amongst other benefits). This research project explores the perceived benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training on a music therapy student working with young people with complex needs in special education. Secondary analysis of clinical records (session notes and a reflexive journal) was employed and included the use of both inductive and deductive methods of analysis. Five themes were developed (framed as themes of learning) including: Presence, Non-striving, Beginner’s Mind, Acceptance, and Patience with a final key finding being the effect of modelling to the students. Findings showed these benefits emerging through a journey from early data (before MBSR training) to later data (after MBSR training) and suggest that mindfulness training can be beneficial for both music therapy students and (indirectly) to those they work with. The themes and perceived benefits proved very interconnected with each relating to several others and ‘Being Present’ emerging as an over-arching theme. Similarities between benefits discovered and certain principles of music therapy were discussed and whether the benefits found may have occurred naturally through the course of music therapy training amongst other factors of change and natural growth.