Fathoming the constellations: Ways of working with families in music therapy for people with advanced dementia

Adrienne Freeman
  • British Journal of Music Therapy, February 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1359457517691052

Working with families in music therapy for people with advanced dementia.

What is it about?

Considers diverse ways in which the input of family members can maximize effectiveness of music therapy for this client group (advanced dementia), using case material to illustrate. Each family will choose different ways of becoming involved in music therapy. Family members' unique understanding of their loved one enables therapy to be personalized in relevant and meaningful ways.

Why is it important?

Therapeutic alliances built with family members enable the therapist to achieve a relevant and meaningful approach, built on an understanding of the client that they themselves are no longer able to communicate. Music therapy can provide opportunities for expression of intimacy and offers support to relatives, who experience much pain as they witness the deterioration of their loved one.


Adrienne Freeman

This paper demonstrates how music therapy input can be greatly enriched and deepened by involving family members in various ways. Each family is likely to choose a different way of being involved and brings unique and very valuable insights to the work.

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