Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


John J. Cali School of Music

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Karen Goodman

Committee Member

Brian Abrams

Committee Member

Heather Buchanan


This thesis proposes a music therapy program for families whose infants are hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The goals of the program include the following: reduction of stress, anxiety and depression; working through trauma responses via the promotion of relaxation and the facilitation of coping skills. A review of the literature leads to the conclusion that families of NICU infants are under-served in terms of populations receiving music therapy as a supportive service. It is important to note that this population is often suffering from the same debilitating symptoms addressed in music therapy treatment of adults with mental health issues. Although the family may suffer from acute symptoms of trauma, anxiety, stress or depression which can both manifest and diffuse quickly, these symptoms occur during the same period when it is vital the family remain healthy for their infant. Music therapy clinical interventions including clinical improvisation, relaxation and songwriting, will systematically address the acute issues presented by the family, member(s) attempting to cope with their infant’s premature birth and subsequent hospitalization.

File Format


Included in

Music Therapy Commons