People who are homeless tend to suffer from stress, substance abuse and mental health problems. Music therapy with a closed group of homeless adults residing in an American homeless shelter has shown potential benefit. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how open group music therapy sessions designed to facilitate emotional expression, interpersonal connection, stimulation, and self-esteem were experienced by homeless adults not residing in a common shelter. The current study made use of a sample of homeless adults visiting a church feeding scheme in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The sessions were framed as music workshops and the main components used included: drumming, vocal and instrumental improvisation, and known songs. A total of six, weekly, open group music therapy workshops were held at the feeding scheme for a maximum of ten participants per session. Videotaped recordings were made of each music therapy session and one different participant was interviewed after the session each week. From the interpretative phenomenological analysis of the transcripts of individual interviews and the videotaped recordings of sessions, a number of themes emerged. From the findings of this study it was concluded that the open group music therapy sessions offered homeless adults opportunities for: increased self-esteem, meaningful interpersonal connection, constructive use of time, stress relief, meeting emotional needs, and transformation.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2014.