Modelling of Intensive Group Music Therapy for Acute Adult Psychiatric Inpatients
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Background: Acute inpatient stays are decreasing. Evidence for music therapy in mental healthcare exists but practice varies. Short admissions and therapy frequency (usually weekly), limit access, yet acceptability of increased frequency to patients is unknown. Research to model processes and outcomes of intensive provision may identify how best to provide for acute contexts informing clinical practice and future research. Methods: 114 patients admitted to hospital with acute mental health problems were recruited. Patients attended group music therapy 1-3 times per week during admission. Repeated measures assessing patient experiences, session appraisal, motivation and commitment were completed. Questionnaire thematic analysis identified important processes which were coded from session recordings. Multilevel modelling was used to examine associations between music therapy components, session appraisal, motivation, commitment and subsequent attendance. End of therapy interviews with 16 patients explored changes experienced and views on therapy frequency. Results: Attendance was 3 times greater for patients with 3 sessions per week. The majority found increased frequency acceptable and beneficial. Processes of engagement, emotional expression and social connection suggested active music-making, synchrony and singing to be important for group cohesion. Singing was significantly associated with appraisal and motivation. Musical initiation by group members was associated with motivation and commitment. All three outcomes were associated with each other, with session appraisal and increased frequency independently associated with subsequent attendance. Patient attributions for change included creativity, experiential learning and therapist directed reflective discussions. Conclusion: Intensive group music therapy is acceptable to the majority of patients, perceived as beneficial and increases access. Intensive provision is associated with greater engagement and positive experiences, which in turn, are associated with group commitment. Patient experiences can inform practice. Further research should examine effectiveness of intensive provision. Therapists should continue to prioritise engagement through active music-making and singing, and services consider implementation of intensive provision.
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