ABSTRACT

While people admitted into short-term psychiatric treatment and recovery face many personal, relational, and environmental stressors that can themselves be traumatizing, for persons with a pre-existing trauma history, the impact is intensified. Trauma-informed practice is a framework that recognizes the impact of trauma, honors personhood, and minimizes risks of unintentional retraumatization. This chapter outlines key aspects of the author's approach to trauma-informed group music therapy in short-term inpatient psychiatric treatment and recovery with adults. Music therapy offers group members a supportive and empowering context that can be a temporary respite from the chaos of the unit and a safe place to share true feelings, manage and receive relief from symptoms, practice self-compassion, increase self-regard, practice self-regulation, experience co-regulation, build hope and resilience, increase agency, express creativity, and connect with others. Clinical examples illustrate typical goals, interventions, and therapist qualities. Also discussed are challenges that arise when providing music therapy in this context and helpful solutions are offered.