Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    How does a critical analysis of the literature inform recommendations for writing about mindfulness in music therapy practice?
    Tanhane, Anja Franziska ( 2019)
    Mindfulness Based Therapies have become widespread in clinical work, but so far the literature on integrating mindfulness into music therapy has been limited. The thesis presents the results of a critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) investigating the use of mindfulness in music therapy. The CIS of eight published articles examines how music therapists describe the use of mindfulness in their clinical work. A critical examination of the literature presented in the CIS finds that the use of mindfulness is described under the categories of mindfulness-based, Buddhist-influenced, or mindfulness, and discusses some of the difficulties in describing music therapy processes in this way. Based on the findings from the CIS, and drawing on research from the mindfulness literature as well as my experience as a mindfulness teacher, practising Buddhist, and registered music therapist, the thesis then offers recommendations for music therapists who are interested in using mindfulness-influenced practices in their clinical work and research. The word ‘mindfulness’ has become widespread, and can describe almost anything from relaxation to in-depth therapeutic work to the path to spiritual enlightenment. This broad use of the term can lead to a lack of clarity in how the use of mindfulness is described. The thesis will explore the use of language, including the challenges of adapting concepts from other cultures and belief systems. Research into the adverse effects of meditation is discussed, and the thesis argues that due to these possible harmful effects, music therapists using mindfulness in their work might consider additional training, ensuring they understand the theoretical basis, the benefits and the contra-indications of mindfulness-based therapies. There are also indications in the current literature on mindfulness and music therapy that music therapy processes can at times cultivate mindful states in both therapist and client. This could be an exciting area for further research, potentially leading to the development of a new theoretical model of mindfulness arising from within the creative processes of music therapy.