Reflections, Observations, Doubts and Questions on Introducing Music Therapy to an NHS Elderly Psychiatry Ward: An Autoethnographic Case Study.
This is an autoethnographic case study that explores a final year music therapy student’s experience of introducing music therapy to an NHS elderly psychiatry ward, which considers the challenges, doubts and questions that this experience raised. Process notes and observations are analysed through thematic analysis. The project discusses three emergent themes and categories concerning therapist authenticity, patient uncertainty and therapist reactions to the medicalised ward environment, which are illustrated by extracts from written process notes and observations and expanded upon. In the literature review and discussion, the position of music therapy as a profession within psychiatry is considered in how it may impact music therapy practitioners and ultimately the patient experience. The overall purpose of this project is to offer a personal account of my student experience within an NHS elderly psychiatry ward as a means to contribute to the ongoing exploration of (student) practitioner experiences within this under-researched area; with the hope that by sharing my experience, findings and discussion in relation to current music therapy literature will resonate with readers in the issues it raises. The project advocates for further qualitative research that focuses on patient, staff and music therapy experience in order to contribute to a more balanced consideration of music therapy within psychiatric care where at present the evidence bases relies heavily on RCTs.