Relaxation & Receptive Methods

Receptive music therapy is where the client listens to music – live or recorded – and responds to the experience silently, verbally, or via another modality. The listening experience is typically focused on physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, or spiritual aspects of the music and the client’s responses are designed according to the therapeutic purpose of the experience. It can be used to relax or stimulate a particulate emotional and physical response.*


Receptive Music Therapy Methods Include: 

  • Music relaxation – music selected and played with the intention of creating a relaxing and calming experience; music is often accompanied by the therapist softly talking through a calming imagery, connecting their bodies and minds
  • Imaginal listening – can be unguided or guided music imaging
  • Song lyric discussion – selected song serves as a springboard for discussion of the adolescent’s life issues/experiences (*see ‘Lyric Analysis’ tab for more info)
  • Song reminiscence – using songs to promote discussion and reflection
  • Music appreciation activities – therapist helps adolescent to understand and appreciate the aesthetic value of music
  • Music collage –  presentation of artwork stimulated by listening to music

*According to Bruscia (1998a) in “Receptive Methods in Music Therapy: Techniques and Clinical Applications for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators, and Students” by Denise Grocke and Tony Wigram

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