Thematic Analysis of the Therapeutic Song Writing Experience of Music Therapy Interns: A Focus Group

음악치료 인턴들의 치료적 노래만들기 경험에 대한 주제분석: 포커스 그룹을 중심으로

  • Park, Chanyang (Hebron University for Missions) ;
  • Kim, Jinah (Jeonju University College of Cultural Convergence Dept. of Creative Arts Psychotherapy)
  • 박찬양 (헤브론선교대학교) ;
  • 김진아 (전주대학교 문화융합대학 예술심리치료학과)
  • Received : 2019.11.05
  • Accepted : 2020.05.12
  • Published : 2020.05.30


The internship is essential for the music therapy curriculum and affords interns the opportunity to apply their classroom-based knowledge and skills to real-world clinical settings. However, challenges associated with the internship can result in interns undergoing trial-and-error learning, interpersonal conflicts, and intrapersonal difficulties. An experiential music therapy group may be useful in helping interns process these incidents and develop their personal and professional skills. We explored the experiences of music therapy interns participating in therapeutic song writing. In this study, five music interns completed two 4-hour sessions of therapeutic song writing. Following the second session, a group interview was conducted with participants to gather data on their experiences. The interview was recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Six themes and 18 sub-themes were derived from the data. The six themes were preconceptions of therapeutic song writing, meaningful lyric creation, challenges in song composition, structured experiences during song writing process, development of self-awareness through music, and relational experiences resulting from the group process. Participants were able to incorporate their individual internship experiences into a single song by communicating with group members during the step-by-step process. Participation in therapeutic song writing was found to help music therapy interns identify and process challenges encountered during their internship and further their personal and professional development.


  1. Baker, F. A., & Krout, R. E. (2011). Collaborative peer lyric writing during music therapy training: A tool for facilitating students' reflections about clinical practicum experiences. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 20(1), 62-89.
  2. Baker, F. A., & Wigram, T. (2008). Songwriting: Methods, techniques and clinical applications for music therapy clinicians, educators and students (M. H. Choi, Trans.). Seoul: Hakjisa. (Original work published 2005)
  3. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
  4. Bruscia, K. E. (2003). Defining music therapy (B. C. Choi, Trans.). Seoul: Hakjisa. (Original work published 1998)
  5. Cho, K. R. (2010). A phenomenological research about music therapists' motivation for choosing and maintaining the path of music therapist (Unpublished master's thesis). Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
  6. Choi, H. R. (2009). The counselor's self-care. Journal of Human Understanding and Counseling, 30(1), 1-19.
  7. Chong, H. J. (2015). Music therapy: Understanding and application (2nd ed.). Seoul: Ewha Womans University Press.
  8. Connelly, L. M. (2015). Focus groups. Medsurg Nursing, 24(5). 369-371.
  9. Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2013). Groups: Process and practice. Pittsburgh, PA: Cengage Learning.
  10. Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2016). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. CA: SAGE Publications.
  11. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. CA: SAGE Publications.
  12. Jackson, N. A., & Gardstrom, S. C. (2012). Undergraduate music therapy students' experiences as clients in short-term group music therapy. Music Therapy Perspectives, 30(1), 65-82.
  13. Jeong, W. J. (2013). A study on self-empowerment through a vocal improvisation of trainees specialized in music therapy (Unpublished master's thesis). Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
  14. Jin, S. J. (2005). The effect of musical application to develop the emotional expression of mentally retarded adults. Journal of Music and Human Behavior, 2(1), 17-33.
  15. Kang, H. J., Lee, H. S., & Choi, H. N. (2016). Concept mapping on self-care perceived by counselor. Korean Journal of Counseling, 17(2), 25-45.
  16. Kim, D. M. (2009). The relationship among shame, attachment style, self-efficacy, emotional attachment, and evaluation anxiety in music therapy group supervision (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
  17. Kim, G. M., & Chung, N. W. (2004). Novice therapists' difficulty experienced in counseling session and coping process: A qualitative analysis. The Korean Journal of Counseling and Psychotherapy, 16(1), 1-20.
  18. Kim, H. J., & Kim, C. N. (2001). Review of literatures on focus group method in qualitative study. Keimyung Journal of Nursing Science, 5(1), 1-21.
  19. Kim, S. Y. (2013). The study on music therapy student's current additional curricular training and need for professional competency (Unpublished master's thesis). Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
  20. Kim, Y. S., Jeong, J. H., & Ko, M. H. (2013). A qualitative study of Korean music therapist's turnover experiences. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 40(5), 449-457.
  21. Kim, Y. S. (2018). Music and imagery as a method for mindfulness: Exploration of music therapy interns' experiences. Journal of Music and Human Behavior, 15(2), 93-114.
  22. Kruger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2015). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research (5th ed.). London: SAGE Publications.
  23. Lee, J. Y. (2010). A phenomenological research about music therapist's experience in an internship (Unpublished mater's thesis). Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
  24. Maguire, M., & Delahunt, B. (2017). Doing a thematic analysis: A practical, step-by-step guide for learning and teaching scholars. The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 9(3), 3351-33514.
  25. McCaffrey, T. (2013). Music therapists' experience of self in clinical improvisation in music therapy: A phenomenological investigation. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 40(3), 306-311.
  26. Nam-Koong, J. S. (2005). A comparative study on the effect of whether a graduate student of music therapy majored in music at undergraduate school or not on the responses to curriculum in the graduate school of music therapy (Unpublished master's thesis). Sookmyoung Women's University, Seoul.
  27. Rabiee, F. (2004). Focus-group interview and data analysis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 63(4), 655-660.
  28. Shin, K. R., Ko, M. S., Kong, B. H., Kim, K. S., Kim, M., Kim, E., ... & Cho, M. Y. (2004). Qualitative research methodology. Seoul: Ewha Womans University Press.
  29. Then, K. L., Rankin, J. A., & Ali, E. (2014). Focus group research: What is it and how can it be used? Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 24(1), 16-22.
  30. Yoo, K. S. (2019). A study on the meaning of counselor's self-reflective witnessing for safe space: From the point of view of authentic movement of Jung. The Journal of Welfare and Counselling Education, 8(1), 239-255.
  31. Wheeler, B. L. (2000). Music therapy practicum practices: A survey of music therapy educators. Journal of Music Therapy, 37(4), 286-311.