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The Use of Improvise Harp Music as an Opening Ritual for the Therapeutic Setting

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The inspiration to undertake this pilot study came after observation and reflection by the clinician-researcher, a board-certified music therapist who has used the harp as the primary instrument when facilitating sessions, on hundreds of music therapy sessions that took place

The inspiration to undertake this pilot study came after observation and reflection by the clinician-researcher, a board-certified music therapist who has used the harp as the primary instrument when facilitating sessions, on hundreds of music therapy sessions that took place at a facility for behavioral health and chemical dependency. It was observed that the use of improvised harp music as a therapeutic intervention within the context of a music therapy session seemed to relax patients who reported that they were nervous or anxious, and it was also noted that following a listening exercise that consisted of improvised harp music, patients appeared calmer and reported that they felt more comfortable. This research aims to determine if improvised harp music at the opening of a music therapy session creates a calmer environment in which to share information, compared with a guided verbal relaxation and ambient ocean drum sounds for the opening of the music therapy session. Social-behavioral research was conducted in the form of a fifty minute individual music therapy session with six subjects. Each therapy session used improvised music and verbal processing with the therapist, with three subjects in the experimental group and three in the control group. Each individual rated two different types of affective responses on scales of one to ten and completed a five-question survey at the end of the session. All the research subjects showed an increase in positive affect at the end of the music therapy session.

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2018