Special Issue 9 (2) 2017 “Guided Imagery and Music: Contemporary European perspectives and developments” – Article (first published on 22 December 2017)
Trauma-focused group music and imagery with women suffering from PTSD/complex PTSD: A feasibility study
Gabriella Rudstam, Ulf Elofsson, Hans Peter Søndergaard,
Lars Ole Bonde & Bolette Daniels Beck
Women who have been exposed to physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse, often with a history of childhood abuse and neglect, frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). However, the evidence-based treatments recommended for this population help only 50%, so there is a need to investigate complementary methods. In this study one such promising method has been explored: trauma-focused Group Music and Imagery (GrpMI). In a non-randomised clinical setting the feasibility of GrpMI and the suitability of chosen measurements were explored. Ten participants with PTSD/CPTSD were enrolled in the pilot study, five in each group. All participants completed the treatment. The primary outcome was symptoms of PTSD measured at pre-, post- and follow-up. The secondary outcomes were dissociation and quality of life. The results showed a decrease in PTSD and dissociative symptoms, and an increase in quality of life following treatment. This tendency was maintained at follow-up. An analysis of individual, semi-structured interviews with the participants after the termination of the treatment showed that the participants found the group treatment helpful and acceptable. Since the findings indicate that trauma-focused GrpMI has a positive effect on the psychological health of the women, a larger randomised controlled study is needed.
group music and imagery, expressive arts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex PTSD, treatment
Gabriella Rudstam, is a PhD student in music therapy at Aalborg University, a licensed psychotherapist, and a certified therapist in Expressive Art, Somatic Experiencing, and Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). She currently works at Kris- och Traumacentrum (Center for Crisis and Trauma) in Stockholm with traumatised refugees and Swedish citizens, and has a background as a teacher and supervisor at the music therapy program at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Ulf O. E. Elofsson, MSc, biologist. Currently working at Kris- och Traumacentrum (Center for Crisis and Trauma) in Stockholm (Sweden), involved in PTSD research and treatment. Previously affiliated to Uppsala University with research interest in comparative physiology focused on the role of the monoaminergic systems in the stress response.
Hans Peter Søndergaard, is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and associate professor at Kris- och traumacentrum (Center for Crisis and Trauma) in Stockholm. He has worked with refugees and other traumatised clients, written several book chapters in Swedish on posttraumatic stress disorder, and participated in training in transcultural psychiatry for doctors and other specialists.
Lars Ole Bonde, PhD, Professor in music therapy at Aalborg University (Denmark). Professor of music and health at the Norwegian Academy of Music (Norway). Publications on music therapy, music psychology, music education and music theatre.
Bolette Daniels Beck, PhD, Associate Professor in music therapy at Aalborg University (Denmark). Primary GIM trainer. Current research: RCT with traumatised refugees. Publications on GIM with stress and trauma populations, embodiment, neuroaffective perspectives, hormone measurement, university pedagogics and mixed methods.