Susan Gardstrom and James Hiller

Resistances in Group Music Therapy With Women and Men With Substance Use Disorders

Susan C. Gardstrom, James Hiller


In this paper, we explore client resistances in group music therapy with women and men in residential treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs). We describe how we have encountered resident resistances on women's and men's units within a gender-specific treatment facility and offer suggestions for pre-empting and addressing such resistances, offering both nonmusical and musical strategies and techniques. We emphasize a person-centered approach and an experience orientation, in which we view our primary responsibility as providing opportunities for the men and women to engage meaningfully with music, self, therapists, and other residents in order to identify problems and explore alternatives and personal resources.


substance use disorders; addictions; resistances

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