How can music therapy support an adolescent with a tic disorder? Reflection and exploration of a therapeutic journey
The overview of researches on the challenges faced by people living with tic disorders has shown that addressing their quality of life requires more attention, and that addressing their emotional issues should be given equal importance as understanding the external symptoms. Despite the literature on the benefits of music therapy for the emotional development of adolescents and for various conditions, there is a paucity of research for people with tic disorders who have pronounced emotional difficulties. Accordingly, this case study explored the experience of music therapy for an adolescent with a tic disorder and aimed to explore how music therapy facilitated his development during the therapeutic journey and promoted his emotional well-being. By following the hermeneutic circle, a reflexive approach was adopted to analyse recordings and notes. Three themes were discovered to be pertinent to this therapeutic journey: silence, instrumental playing and a sense of safety. The investigation showed that non-verbal elements of music therapy such as silence and playing provided a distinctive means for the adolescent to express, explore and facilitate the establishment of the therapeutic relationship. Through discussing the adolescent's behaviour in music therapy, it suggested that the potential benefits in this therapeutic journey were developing the capacity to be alone, facilitating cognitive development and identity formation and learning to experience a sense of safety.