Nursing Essay on Annotated Bibliography for Music Therapy Intervention in Mental Health

Annotated Bibliography for Music Therapy Intervention in Mental Health


Every day, thousands of music concerts and competitions are held all over the world. The music industry is expanding day by day as the society can never get enough of music. Some people listen to music as a hobby; others create time purposely for music, whereas some listen to music while still discharging their duties. Under normal circumstances, people listen to music to be entertained, to get the message in the song or as a form of obstruction so as to forget what is going on in their lives. Different people, tend to adore different genres of music. It is also common for one’s music taste to change as they age or with the changing circumstances. For instance, people tend to listen to upbeat music when they are happy, slowly moving beats and songs when they are sad and heavy and darker music when they are angry. Studies have shown that one’s love for music may be used to tell their personality or mood at a given time (Moore, 2013). Systematic listening of different types of music may also alter one’s mood and emotional status.  Thus, scientists have invented the music therapy programs that make use of music and its facets to treat and manage various mental conditions.

The use of music therapy in the intervention of mental disorders has been in the medical field for the past decades. With an understanding that music can elicit certain emotional response, health professionals have identified various music therapy-based programs for patients with different mental disorders. In an effort to establish the effectiveness of music therapy in mental health care, this paper reviews three different studies that were conducted on different aspects of the subject matter. The first research investigates the psychosocial themes that are likely to be found in a given program (Choi, 2010). The second article examines the effect of music therapy in children and adolescents with antisocial behaviors while the last investigates the involvement of the patient’s family members in the music therapies (Gooding, 2011, Williams et al., 2012).

Choi, C. M. H.. (2010). A pilot analysis of the psychological themes found during the CARING at columbia-music therapy program with refugee adolescents from north korea. Journal of Music Therapy, 47(4), 380-407.

In this study, Carolyn Choi sought to unmask the psychological themes found in music therapy programs (2010). She identified a particular therapy program, the Children At Risk Intervention for the New Generation (CARING) program of Columbia University, whose aim is to train health professional on creative ways of tackling psychiatry problems. Although the CARING unit at Columbia undertakes several therapy programs, Choi restricted her scope to their CARING Music Therapy, elsewhere in this paper abbreviated as CAC-MT. In this research, the CAC-MT involved a group of nine North Korean adolescents, who at the time of study, were enrolled as immigrant students in South Korea. According to Choi, the pre-study assessment of the participants indicated that they had all been exposed to different psychosocial stressful situations, both economically and socially. Several of them were from incomplete families and thus lacked social support. They were also persevering different levels of academic difficulties as they adapted to the remote educational system. All the participants were subjected to twenty five music therapy secessions, through which pertinent qualitative data were obtained.

Although Choi’s research recorded significant success, various weaknesses have been pointed out in her report. To begin with, the sample of nine students seems relatively small and only suitable for pilot studies. However, Choi acknowledges this and recommends for larger samples in the future studies. Poor choice of sample size may raise questions in the credibility of the findings. Choi’s report has, arguably, failed the test of clarity and simplicity. One of the essential features of the study is to educate the readers effectively on the subject matter and the findings thereof. Therefore, the writer needs to define any technical term or uncommon acronym used at the beginning of the paper. In addition, Choi’s report, for example, the reader struggles to understand the full meaning of CARING. Despite the abbreviation appearing in the article title, its meaning is not elaborate within the first three sections, that is, the abstract, introduction or literature review of the paper. Unless the target group of the study was the Columbia University community, the author needed to explain the acronym in full since CARING is not a globally accepted abbreviation. In fact, the term may be understood in its verb form to mean ‘compassionate.’

Despite the weakness, the research can be applauded for the extent of its scope and relevance. For instance, the extensive description of the North Korean devastating living conditions enables the leader to appreciate the psychiatric needs of the participants in the study. Having identified the challenges faced by foreign students, there was a need to identify critical means of intervention. By publishing the findings of certain studies, it encourages mental health professionals faced with various challenges to consider music therapies.

In the assessment of the music therapy intervention in the mental health care, Choi’s research is a fundamental reference in outlining the psychosocial themes anticipated. The study’s findings agree with other researchers that indeed music therapy intervention may be used to manage psychosocial disorders. The five themes identified by Choi, namely; loneliness, loss, fear, distrust and denial, are the common problems that mental health practitioners encounters on a daily basis. The study, therefore, enlightens on the indications that would inform the practitioner to recommend music therapy intervention.

Gooding, L. F, M.T.-B.C. (2011). The effect of a music therapy social skills training program on improving social competence in children and adolescents with social skills deficits. Journal of Music Therapy, 48(4), 440-62.

The article documents a project of the assessment of the effect of music therapy, specifically, the social skill training program on social competence in children and young adults. The participants in this study were drawn from the group of individuals who are believed to be suffering from social skill deficits (Gooding, 2011). The project involves complex studies that evaluated the participant’s response to the music oriented social skill program. The studies were held in three different settings, namely, residential facilities, school environment and the after-school care centers. The participants were classified into three different groups as per their ages, after which they were subjected to an age-appropriate curriculum adapted program.

Although the studies involve a complex, but well-handled project, this paper holds that the information presentation format ought to have been better.  Firstly, the article does not clearly identify the problem statement. The article also fails to state the objective of the project as expected in any research performance. From the onset, the author just describes the research without giving any background information. Even though, the research outlines the most important information of the project, the missing background information may have served to create a rapport with the audience as well as making the research more interesting to read.

Apart from the paper presentation, the article represents, a generally creditable the project. The literature materials reviewed were reasonably relevant to the subject matter. They also give an insight on the need for research, somewhat sealing the void of the missing problem statement. The methods of data collection were also relevant. There was one independent variable, the music therapy, against various social competences dependent variables. The values of the social competencies were collected using the accepted Home and Community Social Behavior Scales (HCBSC). Data analysis was also carried out within the acceptable scales such as the Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Test, thus increasing the result’s credibility.

Gooding’s research is an informative article on the analysis of music therapy intervention in mental health. It affirms the notion that music therapy may be used in addressing personality disorders. It also supports the presumption that music intervention is applicable across all age groups, since the participants were drawn from different groups.

Williams, Kate et al. (2012). The effectiveness of a short-term group music therapy intervention for parents who have a child with a disability. Journal of Music Therapy, 49(1), 23-44.

In this study, Williams et al. investigated the effectiveness of music therapy intervention for family and caregivers of children with disability (2012). Their study involved parents whose children were living with different forms of disabilities. According to Williams and others, the families’ of children living with disabilities face both physical and psychological challenges in raising these children (2012). The input of these family members is, nonetheless, an integral part in the child’s development. In this study, a sample of 201 mother-child dyads was required to respond to pre- and post-therapy questionnaires. The obtained data was then analyzed against the corresponding clinician’s observation report.

The article adhered to the outlined guidelines of research. It clearly introduce the research question, describes the method used as well as the data collection procedure. However, the data relied on observational reports from different clinicians. Even though, the clinicians had undertaken a similar training program, the individual views and interpretation of similar aspect may be different. However, the error anticipated from the clinician’s deviation may be minimal.

The outcomes of Williams et al.’s study introduce an interesting angle in the study of music therapy intervention (2012). This is because it does not only consider the effect of music on the mentally disordered patients, but also extends the scope to their families. It affirms the medical field emphasizes on the patient’s family’s involvement in the care plan. According to William’s et al., use of music therapies on parents whose child are living with disability goes a long way in improving the child’s condition eve if the child is not subjected to the therapy.


Evidently, the use of music therapy in mental health patient’s care has proven to be effective. According the above critiqued studies, music therapy intervention may be applied in various mental disorders and across all age groups. It also helps in relieving the psychological burden conceded by a mental patient’s family. Based on the enormous literature reviews encountered in the three studies, the topic has been of interest to researchers, with each approaching it from different angles. Nevertheless, the findings across most studies are consistent.

Although there were minor weaknesses obtained in the studies analyzed, all of them were, on average, conducted within the professional medical standards. The studies were, therefore, marked as resourceful references in further analysis of music intervention in psych patients. Despite the existing findings, the use of music therapy is remains a wide topic that needs much research to unwind. 


Choi, C. M. H. (2010). A pilot analysis of the psychological themes found during the CARING at columbia-music therapy program with refugee adolescents from north korea. Journal of Music Therapy, 47(4), 380-407. Retrieved from

Gooding, L. F. (2011). The effect of a music therapy social skills training program on improving social competence in children and adolescents with social skills deficits. Journal of Music Therapy, 48(4), 440-62. Retrieved from

Moore, K. S. (2013). A systematic review on the neural effects of music on emotion regulation: Implications for music therapy practice. Journal of Music Therapy, 50(3), 198-242. Retrieved from

Williams, K. E, et al. (2012). The effectiveness of a short-term group music therapy intervention for parents who have a child with a disability. Journal of Music Therapy, 49(1), 23-44. Retrieved from