NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Internal Mechanisms of Improvisational Integrative Music Therapy in the Treatment of Depression

NO PAIN NO GAIN – Integratiivisen, improvisaatiopohjaisen musiikkiterapian sisäiset mekanismit depression hoidossa

Duration of project: 01.09.2016-01.09.2020

Contact information:

Principal investigator: prof. Jaakko Erkkilä
Email jaakko.erkkila[at]jyu.fi

Project summary

The research project “No pain, no gain: Internal Mechanisms of Improvisational Integrative Music Therapy in the Treatment of Depression“ funded by the Academy of Finland, investigates the nature of clinical improvisations as an emotional, non-verbal form of expression and interaction. In addition, this project aims at establishing a conclusive, effective treatment model for depression based on systematic analysis.

60 adults with depression will be randomised into three conditions: 1) traditional improvisational integrative music therapy (IIMT), 2) IIMT with listening back to the recorded clinical improvisations, and 3) IIMT starting with resonant frequency breathing. In this study a mixed research methodology will be applied, where quantitative and qualitative strategies have a relatively equal status. Directed and summative approaches of content analysis will provide complementary and explanatory material for quantitative findings, and for determining phenomena specific to IIMT and depression. In the analysis of the music improvisations, a computational tool called Music Therapy Toolbox will be used.

In its outcome, this project will identify the elements that enhance patient outcomes in music therapy. More specifically, it will determine whether listening back to clinical improvisations or the resonant frequency breathing intervention can improve the client’s tolerance for, and ability to process negative emotions that emerge during therapy. This project will also enhance our understanding of the links between the computational analysis of the clinical improvisations and client’s emotional state.