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

Peter Vietze


Irvin D. Yalom discusses eleven therapeutic factors which are present in group psychotherapy: Instillation of hope, universality, imparting information, altruism, the corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, development of socializing techniques, imitative behaviors, interpersonal learning, group cohesiveness, catharsis, and existential factors. More recent work related to the topic of factors in group psychotherapy (Joyce, MacNair-Semands, Tasca, & Ogrodniczuk, 2011) suggests that there are four global therapeutic factors in group psychotherapy: instillation of hope, secure emotional expression, awareness of relational impact, and social learning. Joyce et al. (2011) created a Likert-type self-measurement scale to measure the presence or absence of these therapeutic factors, the Therapeutic Factors Inventory - 19 (TFI-19).

This masters thesis suggests the use of the TFI-19 to test the strength of the presence of Yalom’s therapeutic factors, and to test the changes that occur in the presence of these factors throughout nine group music therapy sessions with five college students who are having difficulty coping with the stress of school.

The results showed that one of the four global therapeutic factors, awareness of relational impact, had a statistically significant increase from week three to week nine, suggesting that this factor was more present at the end of the therapeutic process. Two factors, secure emotional expression and social learning, showed scores lowest during week six, and higher scores during week three and week nine, which may suggest that these factors were highest when instruments were being used (weeks one-two and weeks eight-nine).The therapeutic factor of instillation of hope had a slight increase from weeks three to nine. The researcher analyzed the session content in context of the quantitative data, and found that the use of instruments in clinical improvisation is a music therapy intervention in the psychotherapy paradigm which showed generally higher scores in the TFI-19. This data may suggest that clinical improvisation is a beneficial music therapy intervention to administer in one’s music therapy practice. The researcher also analyzed the data compared to number of absences, and there was no trends to suggest that higher absences resulted in lower scores on the TFI-19. Due to limitations such as low generalization and a generally short session series, the researcher suggests that further research will lead to conclusions which better support group music therapy and its effectiveness in representing Yalom’s therapeutic factors (2005).

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