Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Therapy

A Description of a Music Therapy Meta-Model in Neuro-Disability and Neuro-Rehabilitation for Use with Children, Adolescents and Adults

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Therapy

A Description of a Music Therapy Meta-Model in Neuro-Disability and Neuro-Rehabilitation for Use with Children, Adolescents and Adults

Article excerpt


Changes to therapy services in healthcare are constantly shaped and driven by government and professional requirements. Recently, the need for adaptable models of music therapy within neuro-disability and neurorehabilitation, alongside the need to demonstrate outcomes has been identified within music therapy literature. Additionally, the Department of Health has emphasised the need for patient-led and patient-centred care. This paper presents a flexible, tri-pronged meta-approach to music therapy practice that promotes service-user involvement, and allows for the measurement of outcomes through the use of a particular approach to goal-setting. The three approaches of the meta-model (i.e., restorative, compensatory and psycho-social-emotional approaches) are described, and case vignettes of work with those with brain injury and neurodegenerative disease are shared to illustrate how the model can be used to support these treatment approaches. An outline of the development of the model is provided, and comment about the potential challenges regarding the use of the model is included. This meta-model is applicable to practice in hospitals, residential and outpatient settings with children, adolescents and adults patients in neurology, neuro-disability and neurorehabilitation. Thus as a consequence, a response to the need for music therapy that is patient-centred, patient-led, able to be measured and adaptable is shared.

Keywords: disability, rehabilitation, neurology, music therapy, treatment, model, brain injury, neuro-degenerative disease


A growing emphasis on patient-directed care is evident within healthcare (Department of Health, 2005; Galloway, 2006). Additionally, within the field of neuro-disability, there has been a call for the need for evidence of music therapy outcomes (Magee, 1999, 2006), plus the use of flexible models of music therapy practice (Jochims, 2004). Music therapy authors have also written about the lack of music therapy posts in the field of neuro-rehabilitation, both within Australia and the United Kingdom. They write that this shortage is due, in part, to a poor understanding about music therapy, plus an absence of clear communication about music therapy outcomes within the field (e.g., Tamplin, 2006a; Magee, 1999, 2006). The information presented in this article assists in addressing these issues through the sharing of a patient-centred and patient-led practice model that assists with clarity and specificity about treatment, along with a method to ensure measurement of outcome. As a consequence, there may be improved understanding about the scope and potential of music therapy practice.

A meta-model for music therapy practice in the field of neurodisability (including the area of neuro-rehabilitation) is presented in this article. The model can be used with adults, adolescents and children in hospitals, residential and outpatient settings. It is called the Meta-Model of Music Therapy in Neuro-disability (i.e., the MIND) and can enable patient-led care through a flexible approach to practice that involves the use of models that aim to restore function, compensate for loss, and/or attend to areas that are psycho-social-emotional in focus. The MIND results in the measurement of outcomes through the use of a standard approach to goal setting that ensures that the goal has specific criteria, namely that the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-related, or a SMART goal (see Maidment & Merry, 2002). Therefore, the MIND results in a music therapy service that is able to be patient-led and patient-centered, measured and inclusive of various models of music therapy practice. Details of this meta-model are presented in this paper, along with an outline of its development, the rationale concerning its development, and challenges associated with its use.

The Development of the MIND Model

The MIND was developed in six stages. …

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