People in late stage dementia often show signs of anxiety and distress. Due to cognitive impairments they lack the ability to express their emotions and needs in a way that is understandable for their family and/or caregivers. The aim of this study is to explore how musical improvisation in music therapy with this population can lead to occurrences of essential moments of meeting on a non-verbal, musical level, where cognitive restraints seem to have less effect on normal human encounter.
In a multiple case study (n=4), data consisted of written clinical notes of the music therapist and video-recordings of individual music therapy sessions. Each case study comprised an in-depth analysis that led to a selection of essential moments of meeting between the patient and therapist. The selection as well as the analysis happened by means of a clinical research intervision group and was based on an interpretive phenomenological approach.
Hypothesis is that musical improvisation with persons in severe stages of dementia may lead to ‘moments of resonance’. The study provides relevant insights into musical improvisation and its elements, clinical music therapeutic skills, and meaningful interactions through music in late stage dementia.
MAIN RESEARCH QUESTION
How does musical improvisation contribute to the occurrence of essential moments of meeting in music therapy with people in a severe stage of dementia?
- What defines essential moments of meeting within a music therapy context with people in a severe stage of dementia?
- What defines the characteristics of musical improvisation in a music therapy context that contribute to the occurrence of essential moments of meeting in music therapy with people in a severe stage of dementia?
- What specific music therapeutic interventions contribute to the occurrence of essential moments of meeting in music therapy with people in a severe stage of dementia?
Prof. Dr. H. M. Ridder (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Prof. Dr. Jos De Backer (LUCA)
Other persons involved: Prof. J. Van Camp (LUCA), K. Van der Staey (LUCA), M. Valcke (LUCA)
Coomans, A. (2013). Dementie, therapeutische relatie en muzikale improvisatie; Van de klinische muziektherapeutische praktijk naar wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Tijdschrift voor Muziektherapie, 3(6), 6-16.
14-09-2012: Interview met ‘de Morgen’ over muziektherapie en dementie. Verschenen op donderdag 20-09-2012.
Ridder, H.M.O., Coomans, A., Stige, B., Ottesen, A.M. & McDermott, O. (2013). Interdisciplinary collaboration in music therapy for persons with dementia – in practice and research: Model of learning for practitioners in dementia care with music therapy and interdisciplinary collaboration as the joint focal point. Published Conference abstract for European music therapy congress 2013.