Spirituality and music therapy: An action research project in clinical music therapy within the context of an anthropological theory of spirituality — By Anita Neudorfer

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Spirituality and music therapy: An action research project in clinical music therapy within the context of an anthropological theory of spirituality

Anita Neudorfer

Abstract

This paper presents a metatheoretical perspective of music therapy under the lens of Karl Baier’s anthropological theory of spirituality. As a tool for therapeutic encounter, this theory gives an interpretation of empirical data on the life orientation of Austrian cancer patients in the clinical environment of oncology. The data comes from an action research project as part of a Bachelor’s thesis in Music Therapy at the IMC University of Applied Sciences in Krems, Lower Austria. Based in a general hospital, Wiener Neustadt, in Lower Austria, the project took place between November 2013 and March 2014. Music therapy sessions with cancer patients (n=3) were video and audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed. This paper seeks to show how the core concepts of Karl Baier’s anthropological theory of spirituality, such as ‘situation’, ‘ground situation’ and ‘disclosure situation’, offer interpretative space for the data.

Keywords

music therapy, humanities, therapeutic encounter, spirituality, spiritual care, life orientation

Biography

Anita Neudorfer is an Austrian music therapist and scholar of Religious Studies holding degrees from the University of Vienna in Comparative Religious Studies (BA, MA) and Languages and Cultures of South Asia and Tibet (BA). She dedicated her Master’s thesis in Religious Studies to rhythm movement, body culture and the genesis of modern spirituality at the beginning of the 20th century. She studied music therapy (BSc) at the IMC University of Applied Sciences in Krems, Lower Austria where she is currently continuing her music therapy studies at Master’s level. As a clinical music therapist, she works in psychiatry and palliative care.

Email: neudorfer.anita@gmail.com