Music Therapy Programming for Persons With Eating Disorders


eating disorders
music therapy

How to Cite

Pasiali, V., Quick, D., Hassall, J., & Park, H. (2020). Music Therapy Programming for Persons With Eating Disorders. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 20(3), 15.


Eating disorders are serious disturbances in eating habits, body image attitudes, and weight that affect overall well-being and can have life-threatening consequences. Participation in music therapy sessions may allow for healing of anxiety, self-worth, and body-image challenges that each person may face. In this manuscript we examined the music therapy literature pertaining to clinical work with persons who have eating disorders. We describe six techniques (clinical improvisation, song autobiography, song discussion, songwriting, music assisted relaxation/imagery, and Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music) and their reported uses in the literature. While the evidence supports that these techniques are effective, we acknowledge that what works in one context may not be culturally relevant or effective in another. The overview of the evidence in the literature corroborates how therapists who work with persons who have eating disorders tend to use music therapy techniques as pathways for contributing to sense of self. For each technique, we provide clinical examples with a strong element of the need to redevelop or discover identity.

Copyright (c) 2020 Varvara Pasiali, Jessica Hassall, Hailey A Park, Dean Quick

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