Music therapy methods, strategies and techniques for engaging children in meaningful music therapy encounters in hospital play therapy settings
This qualitative study examines a music therapy student’s practice on a paediatric ward in a general hospital in New Zealand. The study arose after I experienced challenges engaging and interacting with patients in a hospital play therapy setting, where patients stay was short-term. The research identified the music therapy methods, techniques and strategies I used to initiate and sustain musical interaction with them. Findings were generated from secondary analysis of two months’ worth of clinical documentation and reflection. Both inductive and deductive thematic analysis was used to analyse the clinical data and reflection. The literature on paediatric music therapy, musical play and play therapy were reviewed. Findings are presented in two parts. The first section highlights the predominant music therapy methods I used: range of instruments, singing, use of props, listening, use of discussion and musical games; and the overlaps of strategies and techniques within. The second section identifies four main categories of music therapy goals to illustrate the unique and subtle differences of music therapy methods, strategies and techniques in relation to the goals. Subsequently, in the discussion section, findings are considered in the light of the literature, and limitations of the research are addressed.