Music Therapy Today, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Special Issue)

Page 78


Proceedings of the 14 WFMT World Congress of Music Therapy July 7-12, 2014 in Vienna/Krems, Austria

MUSIC AS A PUNCHBAG AN EXPLORATORY STUDY INTO THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC THERAPY ON THE EMOTION REGULATION OF FORENSIC PATIENTS WITH A MILD INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY Martina de Witte STEVIG, The Netherlands Introduction This study targets the treatment of mildly intellectually disabled (MID) patients within forensic psychiatry with an IQ between 50/55 and 85. The complex needs of these patients are situated on the boundary between psychiatry, justice, addiction care and disability care (Embregts & Grimbel duBois, 2005). People with MID have a significantly higher risk (three to four times more chance) of developing behavioural problems and psychiatric disorders than their normally gifted peers (Dekker et al., 2006; Stoll et al., 2004). Research into repeat offenders in The Netherlands shows that 40% of these criminals have MID. (IJzelendoorn, 2012). Even though music therapy is internationally acknowledged within forensic psychiatry, research into the effects of the therapy is rare (Hakvoort et al., 2013). Research is assumed to be appropriate because music therapy is more aimed at acting and less on talking (Neijmeijer et al., 2010). Emotion regulation issues are seen as important risk factors for delinquent behavior in MID patients (Dichterbij FPA het knooppunt, 2010; Vogelzang, 2005). Music therapy is also the common indication in treatment of emotion regulation issues. This exploratory study examines the question whether music therapy improves emotion regulation with forensic MID patients in the area of coping skills,

tension/anxiety regulation and expression of emotions will be reviewed. Method This was a comparative study (N=10) using an experimental (n =4) and a control group (n = 6). Patients were randomly assigned to one of the groups. The experimental group was offered music therapy intervention during 10 weeks and the control group was given ‘standard care as usual’. Groups were compared by pre- and post-test. Patients included were male and female (age 18-15 years) with MID and a forensic treatment referral from criminal proceedings. Emotion regulation problems were indicated as a risk factor for delinquent behavior. The intervention studied in this research was ‘Music as a punchbag’ (de Witte, 2011). Stress (tension) is linked to dynamics, tempo and timing of the musical play and to the patients’ own movement. Prior research shows that rhythm makes a powerful appeal to arousal (Sloboda & Juslin, 2010; Thaut, 2005; Wheeler, 2005). This study was executed within the forensic psychiatric department (FPD) of STEVIG in Oostrum, the Netherlands. The term emotion regulation is operationalized using three components: coping skills (measured with UCL: Utrechtse Coping Lijst Schreurs et al. 1988), Stress regulation (measured with Stress Thermometer: Verberne & Verzijl, 1997) and expression of emotion (measured

ISSN: 1610-191X © 2014 WFMT. All rights reserved.