Music therapy can facilitate the exploration, preservation and restructuring of ‘self concept’ in a long-term survivor of acquired brain injury: a Case Study
The unexpected trauma of an acquired brain injury is the cause of great loss in many aspects of a person’s life. It necessitates adapting to a new reality for both the survivor and their carers, facing a future existence vastly different to the one they may have prepared for. The threat posed to a person’s self-concept, in both their personal and social identities needs to be acknowledged further and accommodated in programmes of neurorehabilitation. Rehabilitation of bodily function is fundamental, but all domains of the self-concept require attention. Otherwise, a model of ‘disablement’ may be imposed on the survivor by self and by society which delegitimates the survivor’s capacity to preserve the essence of themselves. Preserving and restructuring the self-concept provides a sense of hope in facing a hugely different future. Further evidence is needed of the potential of music therapy, as a clinical intervention, in addressing and rehabilitating the vital area of self-concept. This case study, using a qualitative phenomenological approach, found that music therapy focused on enabling rather than disabling. It gave voice to the survivor’s own story which provided increased understanding of the lived experience of acquired brain injury and highlighted the survivor’s strengths and preferences. The interpersonal process of the therapeutic relationship afforded the opportunity and containment for the safe exploration, preservation, and restructuring of aspects of the self-concept. Keywords : acquired brain injury, self-concept, music therapy, neurorehabilitation.